downtown, CA 90015
Anne Fishbein Moronga (blood sausage)
There are many Mexican restaurants in Los Angeles that will deliver traditional tastes of the culinary treasures of Latin America. Broken Spanish is not one of them. Instead, Broken Spanish provides a sampling of the thrilling approach to contemporary Mexican cooking, and it wouldn't be out of place in Mexico City in the high-roller neighborhood of Polanco or in Mexico's remote cocinas de campos or even the farm-to-table outposts of Baja's Valle de Guadalupe wine region. It was Mayor Eric Garcetti who once suggested that L.A. was the northern capital of Latin America (sorry Miami!), and Broken Spanish makes his theory truer than ever. Chef Ray Garcia is a lifelong Angeleno and an Eastsider trained in fine kitchens around the city, including a long stint running Santa Monica's Fig. At Broken Spanish, Garcia's intensely flavorful dishes push the limits of the food's Mexican lineage. There are tamales with umami flavors of lamb neck and king oyster mushroom; yellow beet pibil, dusted with ochre achiote spices; and chile relleno coated with a creamy soubise sauce (perhaps a subtle reminder of France's escapades in Mexico long ago). Then there's the unmissable red snapper, fried and encrusted with salt — an almost Paleolithic specimen baring its teeth — laid upon leeks and green clamato. Pair your dinner with Mexican wines, including selections from Baja's earthship-shaped winery Alximia and Las Nubes' hillside vineyards, or maybe a mezcal cocktail, and experience the full breadth of the modern Mexican movement. —Drew Tewksbury
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