I turned 27 a few weeks ago, and for my birthday dinner I requested to go to Bracero Cocina, by the famous Chef Javier Plascencia. I’ve read a lot of positive reviews and was really looking forward to checking it out. We were able to get a reservation on OpenTable about a week before the visit.
Bracero has two seating areas – the downstairs is open seating, and upstairs is reserved. It was a bit dark inside and I didn’t get good photos, but I enjoyed the modern decor.
Deciding what to eat was… pretty difficult. Everything looked so good! In the end, we decided to order a couple of items from the “Raw & Cold Small Plates” menu, several of the “Street Tacos”, and a couple of hot dishes from the “Hot Small Plates” and “Family Style from the Baja Caja” sections, all to share between myself, S, and our friend A.
We were presented with a quartet of salsas – verde, rojo, peanut (!?), and ghost pepper habanero. The ghost pepper one was really spicy and flavorful, but my favorite was the peanut salsa since, well, I LOVE peanuts, and it tasted really good/interesting!
S and A decided to share this Surf & Turf Oyster cold dish. It’s a raw oyster topped with beef tartare, crispy beef, serrano pepper, and spiced verdolaga (a succulent plant) juice. I didn’t have any of this (I ordered another cold dish for myself), but they both enjoyed it. They said that they couldn’t taste much of the beef tartare, but the textural contrast between the oyster and crispy beef was nice. Oh, and it was pretty spicy.
This was my cold dish selection – a shot of oyster, spiced abulonato, sea urchin, alabone, quail egg, smoked steelhead roe, and tempura salicornia (a succulent plant), served with za’atar and sea salt chips. I was initially a bit concerned that there would be too much going on in this ‘shot’, but everything was perfectly balanced, and I could pick out each component. I really liked this shot and could definitely have gone for another… or a few more.
Our next dish was a hot appetizer, chilaquiles. The portion size of this one was actually a lot bigger than we had anticipated (of course, not a bad thing!). It features a fried egg from Suzie’s Farm, Taj Farm crema, chipotle pepper sauce, avocado, and pickled red onions on a bed of house-made tortilla chips with salsa rojo. The tortilla chips were thick-cut and wonderfully crispy, and I thought the toppings were delicious.
And now comes all the tacos that we ordered – yes, we got almost every single one on the menu: