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Jonathan Gold Reviews Bar Amá Downtown

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Just one month after its debut, Jonathan Gold is already filing thoughts on chef Josef Centeno's Bar Amá. It's clear that Gold is a Centeno fan from Bäco days, and here at Bar Amá he's generally pleased with the food and has no problem paying $11 for two puffy tacos:

Still, Bar Amá is a high-volume Tex-Mex restaurant, and though the guero peppers are roasted and layered with goat cheese and citrus instead of being fried into cheesy poppers, nobody is deconstructing, molecularizing or techno-emotionalizing the food here.
Some people are complaining about Centeno's puffy tacos, mostly because of the price. He charges $11 for a plate of two with carne guisada, as opposed to the $7.50 or so you'd pay for a plate at Henry's ... But Henry's isn't using Paso Prime beef or farmers market produce, and isn't paying downtown Los Angeles rents. And Centeno's puffy tacos may be even better than the originals, spicy and oily, crisp and chewy, gut-stretching yet somehow ethereal.
Bar Amá isn't breaking grounds by reinventing Tex-Mex cuisine. Rather, the restaurant sources top quality ingredients that elevate traditional dishes in a sort of haute Tex-Mex rendition. [LAT]

[Photo: Elizabeth Daniels]

B-Rod feels that many of the dishes at chef Eric Park's Black Hogg are amateur and shares harsh words of criticism: "It feels as though Park perhaps took his training wheels off a little too early. Eleven Madison Park and the Spotted Pig are impressive places to have on your résumé, but it's hard to think of any profession in which a nine-month training program and two internships prepare someone to be CEO. Park's cooking lacks nuance and technique." [LAW]

The Elsewhere: Consuming LA dines at The Parish, e*star LA discusses Bestia, Eat: LA hits Echigo, Gastronomy picks The Tasting Kitchen, kevinEats at Barbershop, Refined Palate visits Chinois, and The Unemployed Eater tries The Urban Oven.

Bar Ama

118 W 4th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013 (213) 687-8002