Baco Mercat is located on Skid Row. Literally. The Office for Skid Row housing is one block away. If I haven't scared you with this information on their location, you are willing to brave downtown traffic, and you are willing to pay for parking, then put this place in your GPS.
As everyone who knows me or reads this blog already knows, I love great bread. I will go miles out of my way to buy it and eat it. Bäco was originally a sandwich made with crispy pork belly and beef carnitas, and is the name of the bread they make and serve here. The bread was so popular that it became the basis for this place which specializes in sandwiches made with it and a crispy variation called Coca which serves as a kind of flatbread for toppings.
I wanted more than simply a sandwich so I ordered the caramelized cauliflower with garlic, tomatoes, sour cream, and green onions for $8. Although I'm not a cauliflower lover, I liked this vegetable side so much I took what I could not finish home with me!
I had the pescado Bäco with crispy shrimp, sirancha, and cole slaw for $11. Although the picture may make it look a bit too creamy, it was not. It was a perfectly dressed, slightly spicy slaw, with two large lightly breaded butterflied shrimp, all encased in the famous bäco bread. I could easily eat this once a week!
The hearty portion was succulent, tender (a sign of properly prepared tongue), and the accompanying pickles, arugula, aioli, and harissa made this unusual combination a standout. Just as I will travel for food, I will get down here by noon to get this bäco!
If you are willing to brave all the elements of downtown Los Angeles, you will be generously rewarded at Bäco Mercat.