David: I really love Mexican food. And Los Angeles has some of the best. We have great taco trucks and an abundance of solid old school spots (Paco’s, Casablanca, El Coyote, etc.) for a classic carne asada steak, fresh tortillas and a strong margarita. But recently some pretty exceptional, and fairly pricey, high-end Mexican fare have begun to pop up all over the city. We’ve been to a bunch of them. Gracias Madre, Bar Ama, Mercado, and most recently Broken Spanish. This new hotspot, near LA Live, makes great use out of the compartmentalized space recently left vacant by Rivera. We used to frequent Rivera for it’s assortment of shared plates and a solid drink menu and I can truthfully say Broken Spanish has filled the void…and then some.
Now I know some people will think it’s crazy to spend $250 on dinner for four at a Mexican restaurant. Bar Ama, another pricey Mexican spot downtown, can rack up an even larger check with food that’s less deserving. So if I haven’t made myself clear yet… Broken Spanish is great. And worthy of your selection for an evening out for fine dining.
We got a ton of food between the 4 of us. Definitely would recommend going with at least 4 so you can try more of the selections.
The Chicharron is worth the trip alone. This 2 inch thick slab of pork belly is served with a steak knife for good rason. It’s a thick piece of meat, fried and resting in a pool of its own juices mixed with elephant garlic and citrus, then topped with more garlic, fresh radish, sprouts and pickled herbs. Almost a month later I can still taste the crispy skin and fatty pink pork belly meat. This is much too decadent of a dish to eat alone. Please share.
The frijoles were unreal too. We got the heirloom corn tortillas to go with them. The purple tortillas were so soft I could have sworn they were flour.
I could go on and on. The Lamb neck tamales, the duck smothered in mole…all great. The one dish that was out of place was the Chochoyotes, which was a soupy dish consisting of masa dumplings, potato, garlic and chili peppers. The Jew in me liked that it felt like eating a bland matzo ball soup, but it really just didn’t compare to the rest of the plates. Pass.
I haven’t even gotten to the drinks yet. An extensive mezcal selection that surpassed its tequila list, this bar menu wasn’t messing around. We all tried different mixed cocktails and the standout was the Cazuela. Made for 2, this festive tequila concoction was served in a bowl that took me back to good times at Trader Vic’s (before the Beverly Hilton ruined it).
I’m a Broken Spanish fan. Hit me up if you want to try it. I’d love to go back.
Jen: Last year we enjoyed a rushed meal at B.S. Taqueria before going to the Mark Taper for an Arthur Miller play so we were excited to follow that up with a proper dinner with our friends Natalie and Josh at sister (I would say older sister for the more sophisticated menu, even though the taqueria came first) restaurant Broken Spanish.The ambience was lively but cozy, the drinks went down easily, and the menu was comforting but adventurous. From the extensive cocktail menu, I chose:
“EL GALLITO VALIENTE: Mezcal, Gin, Lime, Passion Fruit Falernum, Habañero Served over ice”
I’m a sucker for anything with fresh passion fruit.
Natalie and Josh shared the CAZUELA, which was sort of like a fun, mini punch bowl for lovers.
My eyes grow wide at anything lamb or oxtail on a menu, so we got the lamb neck tamale and the oxtail quesadilla: both good, but also relied a bit too much on salt. Next time I’d like to try the cabeza (lamb’s head). The standout of the meal was the ultra fatty chicharron. I thought chicharron were those pig rind chips Homer Simpson always snacked on, but this was a whole slab of silken pork belly. The velvety fat was oh so decadent and special. The whole duck was the finale to our meal. Cooked with mole sauce and persimmons, it was sweet, smoky, salty…so satisfying!
For dessert, we ordered the “ABUELITA HOT CHOCOLATE: Ancho-Chocolate Cake, Alpaco Ganache, Candied Cocoa Nib, Milk Ice Cream, Abuelita Broth,” which was essentially a smarter, more adventurous version of the chocolate lava cake, a dessert that needs to die. Broken Spanish resurrected it with the ancho spice and the layering of textures between the crunchy cocoa nib, smooth and creamy ice cream and just slightly warm hot chocolate broth.