Critic’s Notebook: Baco Mercat, Los Angeles


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., 213.687.8808downtown.


Porchetta bäco, merguez flatbread and interior of Bäco Mercat (Brad A. Johnson)

Just look at that sandwich! Now imagine the juices dripping down your chin, a big fat smile on your face. The original is stuffed with pork belly and beef “carnitas” with smoked aïoli and mixed greens. That one’s definitely my favorite, but the stuffed with thinly sliced homemade porchetta, eggplant and apple is almost equally, insanely addictive. Centeno is also serving some pretty damn good flatbreads (my favorite is the one with merguez (lamb) sausage, spicy Tunisian-style hot sauce and artisanal chevré) and his very own custom-bottled sodas (that remind me of Mexico’s popular Jarritos or Sidral Mundet). 

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