I’ve seen numerous mentions for the restaurant Broken Spanish and I was eager to pay them a visit. Chef Ray Garcia’s camote dish quickly caught notice by LA reviewers and I was anxious to try it. Fortunately, my cousin was quick to action and set up the date for us to get together.
Broken Spanish is located on Flower and is a stone’s throw away from LA Live and the Staples Center. It is also conveniently located near the Metro Blue, Red, Purple and Silver lines. Parking nearby is challenging; fortunately my cousin is first class, he valeted his car.
My wife and I enjoy dining with my cousins because like us, they like to try many different dishes and they don’t mind sharing. Fortunately, Broken Spanish’s menu consists of small plates that are meant to be shared.
I was looking for “snout”, “trompa”, “pig parts” or even “camote”, but Garcia’s famed gelatinous pork dish was nowhere to be found on the menu that evening. After accepting that fact, we moved on and selected our dishes.
Our first dish was Queso Fundido. This was not the simple dish that I was expecting. It was made with Bacalao (salt cod), roasted tomato and kale. Mexican quesillo was the primary ingredient which made it very creamy. The addition of roasted tomatoes and kale elevated it beyond the typical version.
After seeing the dish, Blue Corn Tortillas and Refried Lentils, this apparent oxymoron reminded me of the restaurant’s name, “Broken Spanish”. Lentils is one of the world’s superfoods and to hear that it’s “refried” certainly received my attention. The blue corn tortillas are handmade in the restaurant and the combination was extremely satisfying.
My wife selected the tamal. This was a good sized tamal stuffed with diced summer squash, corn, cheese and rajas. The masa was prepared perfectly; it did not fall apart when we picked it up and it was amazingly moist. Too often I’ve been disappointed by dry masa.
When the octopus dish arrived, my cousin immediately said “mushy” after she bit into a small piece of octopus. After I tried it, I silently agreed with her. I prefer grilled octopus because it ends up being smoky and crunchy. Broken Spanish combined two octopus legs with alberjones (split peas), chorizo and crema.
I kept forgetting that this was unconventional Mexican cuisine and so when I tried the chile relleno, I was surprised that the poblano chile was not thoroughly cooked and therefore crunchy. It was stuffed with potato, kale and lemon juice and topped with an onion soubise sauce.
My wife and I love mole and so I had to order their Duck mole. Unlike some other moles we’ve experienced in LA, this mole lacked the bold vibrant flavors of a typical Oaxacan mole. The duck, however, was moist and perfectly prepared.
Jonathan Gold just released his Top 101 list of Los Angeles and Broken Spanish was #45 on this year’s list. He states “ his technique and his farmers-market fixations are high-end California French, but his palate is pure Eastside pocho.” when referring to Garcia’s cooking. It’s definitely worth a try.
- 1050 S Flower St, Los Angeles, CA 90015; (213) 749-1460
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brokenspanishla
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/BrokenSpanishLA