Josef Centeno's Bco Mercat in downtown L.A. gets a nod from Bon Appetit. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles…)
Bäco Mercat and Ink are the only two Los Angeles-area spots named among Bon Appetit magazine's 50 best new restaurants in the United States. Will they wind up among the Top 10? Stay tuned.
Josef Centeno's Bäco Mercat, which opened in November, has quickly become the darling of downtown diners with its big-flavored, enthusiastic pairings of what might sometimes seem unlikely ingredients.
"It all started with a 'bäco,' chef Josef Centeno's irresistible taco/pizza/gyro mashup, but this lively downtown spot quickly became known for much more, from veg-centric small plates to big hunks of grilled meats," says BA.
Singled out for praise are such dishes as blistered okra, Caesar Brussels sprouts, and the 14-ounce shiitake-crusted pork chop.
West Hollywood's Ink, owned by celebrity "Top Chef" winner Michael Voltaggio, goes a much different direction, with imaginative constructions of modernist food.
The magazine praises: "Crazily inventive Michael Voltaggio draws crowds with his bold, beautiful, ultra-modern Californian food and his icy-cool space. This is a serious, technique-driven restaurant that still knows how to have fun with ingredients."
Bon Appetit recommends trying the poutine with chickpea fries, yogurt curds and lamb neck gravy.
San Diego's Davanti Enoteca also made the list as did San Francisco's State Bird Provisions and AQ.
New York, of course, dominated the list with four restaurants: Atera, Battersby, Blanca and the Nomad Hotel. But Portland also came on strong with three: Luce, Ox and the Woodsman Tavern. Houston also had three: Oxheart, Uchi and Underbelly.
The final 10 will be named on the Bon Appetit website Aug. 14.