Bar Amá, the newest restaurant venture from critically acclaimed chef Josef Centeno is slated to open Saturday downtown. Centeno, whose restaurant Bäco Mercat was recently named one of Bon Apetit's best new restaurants of 2012, will focus on Tex-Mex flavors and tequila and mezcal in the bar at Bar Amá.
Centeno drew from family recipes when creating some of the dishes on the menu with items such as Grandma's menudo (served Saturdays and Sundays only) ($12); Mom's chile verde ($11); Dad's burger ($15); Grandma's mole ($11); Nana's lengua chile con carne ($12); and Mom's Mexican fried rice ($4). Also on the menu are fajitas, ceviches, sopaipillas, enchiladas, chalupas, puffy tacos and burgers, chicken and kebabs on the char-broiler.
Appetizers include the cheesy polenta taquitos ($8); guerro poppers made with fromage blanc and string cheese ($10); and the crispy chicharron with pork belly, lime and something called bus-driver sauce ($13). And in case you're wondering, the bus driver sauce is a really spicy hot sauce -- Centeno's riff on a Mexican hot sauce called mule driver sauce.
The full bar will be tequila- and mezcal-based with only Mexican beers on tap and a small selection of wines. There will also be fermented fruit drinks aptly named "fruit mashes" and a variety of specialty sodas, exclusively made for Bar Amá called Bäco pop.
The restaurant will serve dinner and close on Sundays with plans of adding lunch and Sunday service in the future.
Bar Amá, 118 W. 4th St., Los Angeles.