Broken Spanish

1050 S. Flower St.
downtown, CA 90015
213-749-1460
Best Of
Broken Spanish +

Anne Fishbein Moronga (blood sausage)

Details

  • Sun.-Thu., 5:30-10 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 5:30-11 p.m.
Chef Ray Garcia always seemed destined for more than the casual, upscale hotel cooking he’d been practicing for the last few years at Fig in Santa Monica. And who better to notice and recruit such a talent than Bill Chait, former head of Sprout Restaurants, the group that seems to own about three-fourths of L.A.’s hottest restaurants? My guess is that Chait met with Garcia and asked him what he really wanted to be cooking. And Garcia said, “Modern Mexican food.” At Broken Spanish, which takes over the former Rivera space, that’s just what Garcia is doing: upscale, modern Mexican that goes great with cocktails and showcases this chef’s considerable talent. It was a whole fish that won me over completely on an early visit: a red snapper served over “green clamato” (a jaunty green sauce with citrus tang and a whisper of the ocean) and accompanied by clams, avocado and soft leeks left in chunks large enough to showcase their sweet, vegetal flavor. Garcia is playing with the kind of inventiveness that feels natural, and he puts deliciousness first. This menu has a lot of comfort food that’s exciting as well as soothing. You can have tamales stuffed with lamb neck or with a delightful mix of favas, peas and Swiss chard. There are touches of true modernism, too, such as a beautiful jumble of snap peas, sea beans, black sesame and creamy requesón cheese. It’s heartening to see Mexican food take the forefront in the upscale-dining conversation, and also heartening to see Garcia take his rightful position as the guy to lead that conversation. —Besha Rodell
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