Have you been to the Historic Core lately? No? Well it’s time to take a road trip. Sidewalks are filled, restaurants are buzzing, and there’s a certain, hold your breath, New York energy in the air. Don’t roll your gentrification eyes at us, it’s downright exciting. And there, in the middle of it all, sits Bäco Mercat.
Baco was the first restaurant in what has become the Joseph Centeno Historic Core empire. But as other high-end, destination restaurants have moved in around it, Baco Mercat has maintained its status as the area’s breezy, casual go-to hot spot.
Now, the first thing to realize is that a “baco” is actually a food item. Chef Centeno created it and though it’s technically a sandwich, don’t be fooled. It’s an oversized Spanish sex taco sent personally from the Gods to your plate. There are at least eight different varieties on the menu, but you are required to get The Toron. At least to start.
Many people have a bit of an allergy to the term “small plates” these days and we don’t blame them. Done poorly and all that term means is you’re stopping at Jack In The Box on the way home because you’re still hungry as f*ck. But at Baco, small plates are done to perfection. Affordable, varied, and not particularly all that small, it’s only a means to explore as much of the incredible menu as possible. (Not to mention the perfect way to kick-off a romantic evening with that special someone or revelry on the town with a large group of friends).
And it’s that kind of flexibility that has allowed Bäco Mercat to thrive amongst Downtown’s massively competitive revitalization. This area is changing faster than any in the city, but we sure hope Bäco Mercat stays just the way it is.
If there is a signature dish at Baco Mercat, it's this. Oxtail hash and cheddar tartar come together in this pita taco of love, and delivers on all levels possible. You’ll order two.
Hear us out first. This is no ordinary salad. It’s a big bowl of house-made cold noodles, pork, and eggs that you mix together to create the best excuse to eat a salad maybe ever. Lettuce shmettuce.
The cauliflower fad might be tapering off a bit now, but this is still one of the best versions in the city.
The worst kept secret at any Centeno restaurant is that the vegetables are actually where it's at. And this okra is no exception.
Yup. More vegetables. Believe in the process.
The priciest item on the menu is also perhaps the best.
Saddled in with cream of wheat and kumquats, this limited availability item is a must order if it's still around.
Made with raisins and pine nuts, the touch of sweetness is a needed respite amongst all the Mediterranean thanksgiving in front of you.