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Conga Room Chef Revealed

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This here is Alex Garcia, the new exec chef for the forthcoming Conga Room downtown. We just learned about his appointment last week and had the opportunity to meet him at a menu tasting where he cooked for Conga Room owner Brad Gluckstein and a few media people. Garcia made a name for himself with Nuevo Latino cuisine first in Miami and then Calle Ocho in New York among others; he's been on the Food Network and continues to consult on menus. There were some interesting things going on here---a spicy, light chicken adobo soup, grilled octopus and calamari salad with hearts of palm and black olives, plantain-crusted halibut with chunky sofrito, a dynamite orange-scented tres leches cake---what Gluckstein kept referring to as "pan-Latin" dishes. Most were equally rustic (in flavor) and refined (plating), somewhat tropical. Interesting. So will this menu work at what will surely be a tourist magnet? And how will it compete with the spate of other Nuevo Latino restuarants on the horizon--Provecho, John Sedlar's Rivera--for downtown? We'll have to wait and see.
· Plywood Report: Provecho [~ELA~]
· Plywood Special Report: John Sedlar's Rivera [~ELA~]
· LA Live's Conga Room, Rendered [~ELA~]