Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Restaurant Review - Baco Mercat


Yes, Baco Mercat has been open for over a year. Am I embarrassed that I tried it for the first time last weekend? A little bit. What can I say? I made a foodie faux pas. Trekking Downtown from the Valley isn't the most exciting task, so I'm proud of myself for battling traffic to try a now veteran eatery.

Located on the border of urban and "I think I stepped on a needle," Baco Mercat is the brainchild of Josef Centeno, but you already know that. What you might not know is how much the menu is influenced by Mediterranean and Caucusian cuisine: za'atar and labne, Abkhazian chile and Aleppo pepper decorate the unfortunately disconnected menu, which also includes modern American options like chicken and waffles, as well as Japanese-inspired dishes (hamachi, shishito peppers). As excited as I was to see familiar ingredients on the rambling list, I was thrown off by the inauthentic treatment of said seasonings. The za'atar was dense and sweet, a departure from the traditional savory dip that I grew up eating. The flavor was not offensive, however. I was pleased with its pairing with Centeno's signature baco bread, which had an unexpected cheesy crust.


A menu favorite was the sugar snap pea and pear salad with grapefruit, buratta, dill and walnut. Each ingredient was crisp and sweet and lent a great texture to the creamy buratta that was buried beneath the seasonal veggies.


The "original" baco was something else, though I feel like it was overhyped. It was much bigger than I expected. It was so big, I couldn't hold it in my hands and had to go at it with a fork. No bother, because the inside was where the beauty was hiding. What a sandwich! The crisp pork was paired with soft carnitas and an exceptional salbitxada--a spread made of ground nuts, peppers, garlic and tomatoes. However, the bread left me unimpressed due to its resemblance to a run-of-the-mill flatbread. Eh. I wanted to try the "el pesco" baco--crispy shrimp with sriracha and a chive dressing, but I couldn't not get the restaurant's signature dish and it satisfied me enough to not want another.


When it came time for dessert, I was happy I wasn't too full to partake. A huge fan of caramel, pineapple and hazelnut, I opted for the caramel upside-down cake topped with a flambeed pineapple and what can only be described as hazelnut caviar. The cake's density was perfect, especially when paired with the sticky caramel sauce and crunchy nut nuggets. The ice cream's cool bite was a welcome sensation following the hot, hot center of the cake.


So, what should you wear to Baco Mercat? I paired my favorite floral pants with a slinky black tank and my favorite throwbacks: my Rebecca Minkoff ostrich MAB and my Cynthia Vincent x Target wedges from three years ago. Hope you try Baco Mercat for yourself and let me know how you like it!


1 comment:

  1. Such a beautiful outfit! I really adore those trousers! So chic!!!! xo

    ReplyDelete

Merci beaucoup!

 
09 10