Chef and restaurateur Josef Centeno has created an empire in downtown L.A.'s Historic Core district. With five restaurants practically in a row near the intersection of Fourth and Main, you could happily bar-hop all night in his establishments alone. But now Centeno is branching out, conceptually and geographically.
BäcoShop, a counter-service restaurant in Culver City, opens today, bringing Centeno's half-pita, half-burrito creations to an area that could really use a high-quality lunch option. (It's open for dinner, too.)
"Bäco" really refers to the vessel; it can be wrapped around any kind of filling. These have shown up before at Bäco Mercat, though the options at BäcoShop are perhaps a little more accessible. They're all — shrimp, steak, eggplant, etc. — saucy and soulful. My current favorite is the "green herb chicken" with thyme, spiced yogurt, green cabbage, parsley and a Meyer lemon vinaigrette.
The menu is rounded out with a number of salads and vegetable dishes, dips served with crackers, a daily soft-serve ice cream option, bottle of Bäco Pop and tubs of Centeno's famous rice pudding.
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One suspects that this could be the first location of an eventual chain. The bright and distinct red and blue color scheme, the reasonable prices, the healthful menu that certainly isn't mundane but never flies completely into the land of esoteric ingredients ... I'd bet on BäcoShop's success.
9552 Washington Blvd., Culver City. (424) 258-6301, baco-shop.com.