The “original” bäco at Bäco Mercat (Brad A. Johnson)
This is the best sandwich I’ve eaten all year. This is also my favorite new L.A. restaurant (in the bargain category, at least). The sandwich is not exactly a sandwich, though. It’s a bäco, which is a cross between a taco and a flatbread, an invention of one of my favorite chefs, Josef Centeno (still of Lazy Ox), at his new Bäco Mercat ( 408 S. Main St., L.A., 213.687.8808) downtown. Continue reading
Photos courtesy of the restaurant
Because the restaurant’s name doesn’t just roll off the tongue or pop easily into mind, most people refer to Aburiya Toranoko simply as that new Japanese restaurant in Little Tokyo from the guy who owns Lazy Ox, located next door. And while the name is easily forgotten, the food is not. Continue reading
I watched and dined with amazement this year as the earth shook, paradigms shifted and empires crumbled. There’s a new pecking order among L.A.’s fine dining elite: Sona’s gone, Hatfield’s is back and Providence won’t be denied. Television catapulted Michael Voltaggio into the limelight and helped Ludovic Lefebvre prove that a chef doesn’t need a restaurant to become one of the country’s most important culinary stars. This has been one of the brightest years on record for emerging talent, which I believe bodes extremely well for the future of dining in L.A. Meanwhile, Little Tokyo finally flashed across everyone’s radar—and it had nothing to do with Japanese cuisine. And the next Nancy Silverton has been crowned. And with that, I present my 100 favorite restaurants and the winners of our eighth annual awards… Continue reading
Photography by Ethan Pines and Peden + Munk
Just as I’m about to enter the Lazy Ox, the large, heavy door swings open and out tumbles a grumpy old man.
“Don’t go in there!” he yells, blocking me from entering this new gastropub on the outskirts of downtown’s Little Tokyo. My guests slip inside, but the door closes before I can enter, and I find myself on the sidewalk, face to face with Grumpy Old Man.
“Why not?” I ask.
The chef, Josef Centeno, won Angeleno’s award for Best New Chef in 2007. He was cooking atOpus at the time—serving some of the most original, most delicious modern cuisine I’d come across in years. I remember being particularly impressed with an innovation involving Cream of Wheat that was served like soft polenta. And I remember an exquisite sesame seed-crusted mackerel… Continue reading