Ray Garcia is on a roll. Not only is he opening Broken Spanish in the old Rivera space near Staples Center downtown, he’s also working on a spin-off taco stand to be called BS Taqueria, which will take the old Mo-Chica space on 7th Street and open as early as February.
“This project is something that has always lived in my head along with Broken Spanish,” Garcia says. “I always saw them as being in the same family, sharing DNA. BS Taqueria is the little brother that has his own personality — equally interesting, with just a little different story to tell and a different medium to tell it with, that being the taco.”
Garcia has described the Broken Spanish concept as being based on dishes his grandmother made, just given a professional chef’s polish and attention to detail. With BS Taqueria, he says he wants to emphasize what might be a little-recognized aspect of taco-making -- the balance of flavors and textures.
“A perfectly made taco is like a great sandwich, it’s more than just the ingredients. More filling doesn’t make it better,” he says. “It’s working through and putting all the pieces together in the perfect way that makes it great. I want to showcase the art and the simplicity.”
There will be familiar taqueria fillings, but because this is Garcia -- until recently the highly praised chef at fine-dining Fig restaurant in Santa Monica -- there will be some twists. Perhaps more surprisingly, given Garcia’s back-to-back wins at the Cochon 555 pig-cooking competition, the twists he seems most excited about are vegetables.
One experimental filling is what he calls cauliflower al pastor. The vegetable is marinated overnight with typical al pastor flavors, such as guajillo and ancho chiles and pineapple, then roasted and finally finished with a hard char on a hot flat-top “to get those burnt edges that are so good in a traditional al pastor,” Garcia says.
Another filling is what Garcia calls beet milanesa: thinly sliced beet, marinated and fried, then served with a Japanese-style mayonnaise and an escabeche that includes pickled beets, carrots and jalapenos. Fillings will be available served either as tacos or tortas.
There will also be a selection of what Garcia calls "bolsas" -- dishes served in small paper bags that can function either as street snacks or appetizers. And there will be daily specials, such as tamales or posole.
Both the Rivera space that is turning into Broken Spanish and the Mo-Chica space that is becoming BS Taqueria are owned by Bill Chait’s Sprout restaurant group, which will partner in both new spots. But Garcia says the main impetus for the taqueria was not real estate convenience.
“That just happened to be in the cards,” he says, adding that he has wanted to do the taqueria since long before signing the deal for Broken Spanish. “The Mo-Chica spot just felt great for the clientele and the kind of traffic we would want for this.”
Broken Spanish, 1050 S. Flower St., No. 102, Los Angeles.
BS Taqueria, 514 W. 7th St., Los Angeles.
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