Food

Enjoying flatbreads from many culinary angles

Pizza may be the best known and best loved flatbread in the world, but there are plenty more delicious additions to the flatbread canon. Just pick up a copy of Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Daguid's "Flatbreads & Flavors" to learn more. Or head into any Middle Eastern or international market to find an array of locally baked flatbreads, from hand-sized pita to examples easily 2 feet long. Those you have to garnish yourself. Or why not step out and try some fully realized versions at restaurants around town.

—S. Irene Virbila

Bäco Mercat

Josef Centeno based his whole restaurant concept around the flatbread sandwich he called the bäco. Try the one with crispy shrimp, sriracha hot sauce and chive dressing or the original: pork with beef carnitas and salbitxada, a sauce of red peppers and pounded almonds. I'm partial to the beef tongue schnitzel bäco. He also makes crispy flatbreads called coca topped with double mushrooms or "el cordero" (merguez ragu, feta and harissa) and more.

408 S. Main St., Los Angeles, (213) 687-8808, http://www.baco

mercat.com. Coca, $12 to $14; bäco, $9 to $14.

Church & State

Former Patina chef Tony Esnault has stepped behind the stoves at the French bistro Church & State and is slowly introducing his own menu. The oysters stay, though. So do the tartes, which are really cracker-like flatbreads. There's the Alsatian tarte flambée made with caramelized onions, applewood smoked bacon and Gruyère cheese. I can never decide between that and the tarte made with ochre chanterelles and emmenthaler as well as the onions and Gruyère.

1850 Industrial St., Los Angeles, (213) 405-1434, http://www.church

andstatebistro.com. Tartes, $16 to $17.

Cleo

This slick Lebanese restaurant at the Redbury Hotel in Hollywood is a great choice for pre-theater noshing or late-night dining. Start with some dips — Lebanese yogurt with olive oil, lemon and dried oregano, say — to spread on freshly baked flatbread. You can also order crisp flatbread garnished with artichoke, crushed potato, mozzarella and wilted arugula. Cleo herself might have gone for the eggplant labneh version sparked with feta and Fresno chile.

1717 Vine St., Los Angeles, (323) 962-1711. Open til midnight daily. Flatbreads, $13 to $14.

irene.virbila@latimes.com

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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