SIV bestowed three stars to Josef Centeno during his early days at Lazy Ox Canteen, and today she gives the chef two and a half stars for his solo endeavor, Bäco Mercat. Frankly, she offers nothing but praise for Centeno's rustic mix of small and large plates:
With an inventive menu, smart urban setting and late-night hours, Bäco Mercat already feels like a fixture in the neighborhood. What's not to like? The food is gutsy and delicious, the prices moderate and you can drink — wine, craft beer, cocktails — well too. Stop in for a snack or a full-on meal, lunch or dinner.
Centeno's food is rustic in the best sense. You can't call it American eclectic or global or any other convenient label, really. He seems to cook more from his palate than his head. That's how he comes up with such vibrant, lush flavors. The plating is very simple. It certainly doesn't seem as if he's spent nights poring over every page of the hyper-stylized Noma cookbook. He's a chef who likes to cook and likes to eat.SIV even throws out a comparison to Pierre Gagnaire and states "every time I go to Bäco, I find a handful of fresh dishes that I can't leave without trying." [LAT]
Funny enough, The Goldster chimes in on hotspot Bäco Mercat today praising chef Josef Centeno's "deftness" with "flavors and combinations." He declares, "If Bäco Mercat were any more of the moment, it would be a Pinterest page devoted to Tumblrs of itself." [LAW]
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