Dish It: Bäco From Baco Mercat
It’s a sandwich... It’s a taco... No, it’s a bäco, baby!
The bäco is distinguished by a soft, chewy, naan-like flatbread developed and introduced by Chef Josef Centeno. Similarly to a taco, the flatbread is the vessel to a medley of fine ingredients and flavor profiles. An ideal lunch time bite, I first dished the bäco during a leisurely trip to Los Angeles.
With the deft touch that Centeno brings to the table, the bäco's novelty is a source of excitement. Although it is claimed to be inspired by Mediterranean flavors, I think it’s representative of its place of birth and the dominant cultural influences that marks Los Angeles, a melting pot. It’s hip, innovative and shines in its own right. Baco Mercat, home of this sensational dish, is located in DTLA Old Bank district and has been going strong for over six years. The edgy menu changes from time to time and is known to take on pig ears, ox tail and beef tongue. Patrons rave about it. When you know your craft, you can make even the less popular proteins tasty AF.
All the dishes I ate during my visit, were rich in spice and in flavor... and the Tastebuds appreciates this very much. The style of cooking will wake up even the most dormant of taste buds. Stay woke!
There are eight bäcos to choose from: The Fava Fritter, The O.G., El Pesco, Jerk Chicken, Pork Meatball, Soft Shell, The Toron and Beef Tongue Schnitzel.
We can see The Original bäco (a.k.a. The O.G.) still on the menu. It features the signature flatbread stuffed with pork, beef carnitas, pickles, greens and salbitxada—a tomato-almond based sauce.
I had the privilege of trying El Pesco ($15). Two large succulent prawns are breaded and deep fried until golden and crispy, then are tucked into the flatbread with cabbage. This savory seafood “taco” has a nice kick from sriracha while the chive dressing keeps things moist, creamy and flavorful. This tasty bäco had me reminiscing of Baja. ¡Si señor!
I also had The Toron ($17 photo at top). The oxtail hash is absolutely tender and flaky and goes well with the cheesy cheddar tater which adds to the flavor and texture complexity. The "sandwich" also contains leafy greens, pickles and a spicy horseradish yogurt. It has quite the bite and would go as far to say the flavor profile hints at a burger. The bäco has a neat presentation and is served folded on a plate. Nicely done!
408 S Main St
Los Angeles, 90013