Baco Mercat & The Broad
When tickets were available for the Yayoi Kusama exhibit in Los Angeles at The Broad, my friends and I desperately tried to get tickets for the first batch. However, there was a glitch with a link that caused some technical failures and The Broad released a second round of availability. Luckily, my friend kept a watchful eye on for the next available opening and was able to get three tickets! Absolute winning!
We secured our time at 8pm on December 23, so an LA trip was in order for a girl's night out. My friend drove up from San Diego and from Irvine, we made our way into Downtown. We had a small window available to us for dinner before the museum tour, so we chose to try Baco Mercat. Although seats were full inside, we were able to snag a table under a heat lamp in their covered patio.
Mediterranean cuisine meets Spanish tapas, so all dishes are served family style and arrive to the table as they are ready. We decided on a variety of items, such as the Puerco Baco, Brussels "Caesar" Salad, and Hand Torn Pasta to start.
The warm and thinly chopped brussel sprouts were tossed with pecorino, anchovy, garlic, parsley and toasted croutons. The flavors were subtle and melded well without one overpowering another. The slightly warmed brussel sprout cut out some of the bitterness, but the crunch remained, which kept the salad from being soft or mushy. Honestly, this was deliciously well done.
You can't go here without trying the trademark fare, the Baco sandwich, a creation by chef Josef Centeno. Wrapped like a gyro, the Puerco selection was filled with crispy porchetta, chimichurri, pickles, radicchio, Calabrian chile and mustard. Sharing this among friends was a difficult feat to cut three portions, but the server mentioned it was the nicest split he's seen. It's usually a mess with fillings spilled across the plate, but we managed to keep it together for the most part. I had a ton of Calabrian chilis in my portion. They didn't pack a spicy kick as much as I wanted, but more of a pickled punch, which I thought paired better with the porchetta than the actual pickles.
As we finished the baco, the Hand Torn Pasta with Pork Belly Sugo arrived. The large sheets of pasta were thin with a nice soft chew to them. They were enwrapped in the smoky, pork belly sugo with bits of soujouk (dry, spicy sausage with Mediterranean seasonings), kale, pine nuts and golden raisins. I was a bit thrown off by the golden raisins, but everything else was enjoyable.
With just a few minutes to spare, we decided to add on a Cauliflower dish since we had room to fill. It was actually one of the deciding factors to come here, so we didn't want to leave without trying it. The caramelized cauliflower was served with a dollop of sumac lebni, pine nuts, garlic, mint and chile. Unfamiliar to sumac, we were thrown into a loop with a citrusy profile that was unexpected, but we realized the spice offered a lemony, vinegar-like, tart flavor to the dish. It piqued our interests and got us ready for the exhibit ahead to stay sharp.
We finished up with 15 minutes til 8:00pm, so we arrived just in time to The Broad, where we viewed 6 different mirrored installations. Each immersion lasted 30 seconds, so you really had to make use of your time while in each. Here are few snippets of what I experienced.
The last exhibit, the Obliteration Room, absorbed most of our time as we placed our additions to the room. We easily spent about 30 minutes in here and it's the only part of the exhibit where you're not restricted.
It's been awhile since I've had an adventure like this, but I have a few things in progress to share soon! This trip was so much fun and I can't wait to share more. Until next time :)
221 S Grand Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90012
408 S Main St
Los Angeles, CA 90013