Before each home game this season, ClipperBlog will run “ClipperBlog Eats,” a restaurant recommendation from its resident restaurant reviewer, Ben Mesirow. Below is today’s suggestion:
Chef Josef Centeno has a rapidly growing empire of excellent downtown restaurants—Bar Ama, Orsa + Winston, Pete’s—but his first foothold in downtown is the one most suited to this Saturday night game against the Suns. Bäco Mercat is a restaurant ostensibly dedicated to the eponymous taco/sandwich/bao hybrid, and one excellent and surprisingly affordable option for a quick meal there is to grab a bäco and a cocktail on your way to the game. If you go that route, the Toron, a bäco of oxtail hash and cheddar potatoes that most closely resembles the richest cheeseburger you could possibly imagine, or the Lamb Meatball, a perfectly complex blend of lamb and pine nuts and tomato, are outstanding. A bäco and a bäzerac (get it? Like a sazerac) are wonderful, umlaut-heavy compliments to a cool evening on the patio.
There is another path here, the shape of which you should recognize from many of LA’s other top restaurants: you could opt for the parade of small plates, hamachi crudo and blistered okra, caramelized cauliflower and patatas bravas. These are fabulous too, with unique favors pulled from all over the globe, harissa and yuzu kosho and pecorino and piquillo peppers among them. It’s a more involved sort of eating, more time consuming and thought provoking, but Bäco Mercat pulls it off without ever losing its levity. In fact, that type of meal is perfect to celebrate a big win over a division rival. Good thing Bäco Mercat is open until midnight.
408 S Main St, Los Angeles, CA 90013; http://bacomercat.com