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Baco Mercat

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  1. I've only been for lunch, which I hear is a more casual affair. Had The Toron (ox-tail hash, pickle, tater, cheddar) and potato salad. Very delicious and filling. I think the baco itself was 12-14 bucks, so a little pricey, but worth it. Also had the Baco Pop, which was very underwhelming to me. I thought if a chef would make his own soda, it would be super adventurous and out there, but it tasted like something you might find at bevmo.

    To me, definitely worth a shot. If I worked or lived in the area, I think I would make it a monthly stop.

    1. We've been a bunch of times once for lunch, five times for dinner. The food is top notch. The service needs some serious help. Detached, clueless, and aloof. Too bad because that's a mismatch for the brilliant chow.

      1. Had a great dinner there.

        We also really enjoyed the Toron baco which seems to be much better reviewed than the Original surprisingly. Can't remember the exact name of what we had from the nightly offerings list but both were great - one a braised pork ragu on a thick slice of bread (like a giant glorious bruschetta) and the other okra in tomato sauce.
        Overall you can't miss ordering a non-standard protein which is what I've always thought Josef Centeno really does well.

        The RB Italiano was one of the better artisanal cocktails I've had in awhile and I was convinced by the server to follow it up with a baco pop made alcoholic (grapefruit and bulleit) which was nothing special at all.

        Food service was fine, but we thought our server was a bit off and suspected he might have been on coke. Seats were all uncomfortable wooden school chairs or stools, but it was nice to be able to grab a patio two-top easily as walk-ins.

        I thought the food was very reasonably priced for how tasty and creative it was and would definitely return.

        1. Finally went for lunch with high expectations. Very disapointing. First, the service was VERY slow. Had the original pork baco. It was hard to eat and had what seemed like cubes of fat in it. Tried the original twice cooked flatbread with anchovey. Dry and salty. My friend had the oxtail hash baco which was so hot he could not taste the rest of the meal. The homeomade lemonade was nothing special either. Sorry to say.

          1. I just went on Saturday (made it in right before they stopped seating people for lunch). Our food was delicious! We had the Toron, the Original, and the El Pesco. They were all super flavorful, but I think my favorite was the Original. Our food took a while to get to us, which was understandable since they were very packed. They ended up comping our meal even though we were fine with the wait time. I will definitely be back during a weekday for lunch.

            1. I've been twice for lunch and once for breakfast, and I'm a big fan (I also love Lazy Ox). At breakfast, the only items on the menu were waffles or the breakfast baco; I had the breakfast baco, which is filled with chorizo and eggs, and it was divine. At lunch I had the Toron and the falafel baco - though the Toron seems to be the most popular, I actually prefered the falafel - but both were very good. I guess you have to buy into the concept and the chef's style - bacos are intense, messy, flavor bombs - nothing delicate or refined. But I love them. And to me, the most amazing dishes at Baco are the side dishes - for instance, we had a brown butter squash dish that was insanely delicious, and so was the potato salad. I'm surprised that there were complaints about the service - ours was great all three times.

              2 Replies
              1. re: aching

                I'm curious as to what a Toron is and also a baco. Can someone please explain. Sounds
                interesting

                1. re: SoozyQ

                  Baco is a term Centeno made up at his previous restaurant Meson G for the flatbread sandwiches he created. They resemble overstuffed tacos in a puffy wrap, not unlike what you'd see gyros served in, and his fillings are always major flavor bombs.
                  Toron is one of the baco offerings and the name I think is his play on bull/ox (toro) since its main ingredient is an oxtail hash.

              2. Went there a couple of days ago and had the Bazole soup. It was great! Kind of like ramen, but better than most I have had. The beef and pork carnitas were excellent in the Bazole. It is mildly spicy, but since I like very spicy they gave me some green sauce to add to it and that brought it up to my spice level. I was there for lunch. I sat at the bar, since it was very busy. Service was very prompt and attentive, so I do not agree with those who criticize service; at least, that was my experience. Of course, I am not their typical "hip" customer, being a 75 year old male, and maybe they felt sorry for me :)

                1 Reply
                1. re: brwencino

                  Ater their last night at 9:15. Service was great -- attentive and quick, though not pushy. At that hour on a Thursday, still largely full, though there were open tables. Loved the Toron (oxtail) baco, the braised artichoke and banana cream pie were quite good also. The gin-pop cocktail was a bit too much like sweet soda for my taste, but at least the alcohol level was generous.

                2. Had lunch there last week. Don't think I'd return. We had some pseudo-falafel sandwich, which I found greasy and unappealing. Also the Toron, which was better, but so-so in flavor.

                  The blistered okra and sautéed green tomato and corn were the best dishes in terms of balance, respect for the ingredients, flavor and appeal. The pecan panna cotta was divine.

                  The service was ridiculous. We sat there for 15 minutes before we literally accosted a server to order. Then it took about 20 minutes for the panna cotta. The poor server was mortified at the kitchen's nonchalance.

                  1. Went for first time last week...liked the ambiance/room - felt like being on vacation in Williamsburg or Portland, complete with hipster staff and clientele.

                    Seats were uncomfortable, noise level loud, music seventies/eighties "dad rock".

                    Had original Baco - decent sandwich, but meat was like fried cubes of fat. Finished, but wouldn't order again.

                    Had Banana Cream Pie for desert - that was delicious. It's different in that it lacks chunks of banana - more like pudding. I actually prefer it this way, since I'm not a fan of raw banana in my desert.

                    Baco Pop was unremarkable.

                    I might return, but certainly not worth a journey.

                    1. The original baco is vile. Who wants to eat cubes of fat? Service was awful. Many better choices.

                      1. Eeeeew...I agree with those on this post who have mentioned Baco Mercat's distasteful "cubes of fat."

                        We stopped there on Saturday morning for brunch at 11:30 when they opened. The shrimp baco had something very tough inside resembling a piece of fried, flattened chicken that had been over-fried and then left to sit for a few days; it was pretty offensive. (Perhaps they are using frozen fried "stuff" and that might account for the dry and rubbery texture.) Another baco had some other "cube of fat" that was not at all appetizing.

                        The blistered okra with a tomato paste sauce was the best thing we ordered...nothing else was memorable. Even the lemonade that the server raved about was just okay.

                        Our total for two was about $55...way overpriced for their food; I think we ordered only 4 items plus the lemonade. We will not return.

                        11 Replies
                        1. re: liu

                          I forgot about the horrid lemonade that the servers push.

                          1. re: Thor123

                            "...horrid..." That's funny!

                            I didn't think it was bad; I just didn't think it was good.
                            It was lemonade made with honey and sparkling water...eh!

                            The server's "push" was that this lemonade did not have any sugar...just honey!!

                            1. re: Thor123

                              Wow, before these series of posts I had heard great things about Baco.

                              Would you guys say, the ones who have been to Lazy Ox Tavern, that that is way way way better?

                              maybe i'll just for the banana cream pie and a coffee since i heard effusive praise about that. also, i've heard the foie in a pastry crust is really good, anyone tried that ????

                              thanks for the updates.

                              1. re: kevin

                                it's the internet, right? baco is terrific, particularly for the price. if you don't want pork belly, you shouldn't order the original, though.

                                1. re: kevin

                                  I liked Lazy Ox much better.

                                  1. re: Thor123

                                    Me, too.

                                    1. re: Thor123

                                      well, they are kind of different restaurants serving different price points, right? baco is a place you can stop in and have a nice dinner for $25 pp. Double that, at least, for Lazy Ox.

                                2. re: liu

                                  Completely agree with liu's assessment of Baco.

                                  1. re: Discerning1

                                    Hi, Discerning1!

                                    When did you go...lunch or dinner? What did you order?

                                    "Baco" was in print everywhere, so I was looking forward to our brunch there. Oh, the experience was so far from the expectations.

                                    Discerning 1, I continue to think about identifying those pieces of fried chunks in our bacos. I wanted to like them and I thought I might miss something by not enjoying them, but those greasy chunks were very distasteful in both flavor and texture.

                                    1. re: liu

                                      See my May 5 post for details of our lunch.

                                      1. re: Discerning1

                                        Thanks!
                                        I did read your report, but I did not match the review to your name...whoops!
                                        I completely agree with you, Discerning1, except that our service was ok.

                                        And so we move on. There are so many great places yet to try!

                                3. I ate there last night and we enjoyed all the food. Ricotta stuffed zucchini blossom fritters, hamachi crudo, brussels sprouts with cesar dressing (amazing), roasted heirloom tomatoes and corn, original baco. Our baco had pork belly and no solid fat cubes and it was delicious. Service was attentive, a bit slow but not a concern. Our biggest complaint was the loud music. I'm all for rockin out during dinner, but we seriously could not hear each other, nor could I hear the server speak from directly above me. Turn it down just a bit and you still get the vibe without the limitations. It's so ironic because prior to that we were at Buzz wine bar having an aperitif. The music was blasting, so I asked the guy (who appeared to be running the place) to kindly turn it down just a bit. His reply, "It's not who we are". huh? He did change the song selection, but the noise level went right back up after it was over. Oh well, I guess 48 is the new 70...

                                  1. My wife and I went here a month or so back, and I thought it was pretty good. Vegetarian / vegan options were more plentiful than I would have guessed from the menu online, and the staff was pretty helpful. I tried the sauteed peach dish -- even without the goat cheese, it was very interesting (there are corn nuts or something on it). Romanesco was also great. I thought the okra dish was pretty good. The fresh chickpea dish was interesting, though a bit of work to eat (they were deep-fried in their pods).

                                    Overall, I thought they did some interesting and slightly surprising flavor combinations that mostly worked together pretty well. House made shrubs were also pretty good.

                                    The thing I'm most happy about from our visit is getting exposed to txakolina for the first time.

                                    It's definitely loud / busy, but not as bad as many other places.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: will47

                                      We are going tonight with a friend who has a gluten intolerance. I am assuming that there will be plenty of things for us to enjoy this eve, I hope?

                                      1. re: djquinnc

                                        Their vegetable menu actually takes up a large portion of the menu but there will still be many things with gluten in it. Hopefully the waitstaff will be knowledgeable but I have a feeling they will be more likely to be able to help than not.

                                    2. I'd give it a single thumb-up -- wished it was better. The beet "zaatar" with the round bread was a good starter -- excellent bread. The brussel sprouts were nice, but not quite as outstanding as others had made them out to be. The problem was with the baco and their pizza. I had the Torron and while it was described as "oxtail hash" what I got instead was a meat patty that resembled nothing of what a good oxtail should. No unctuous, fatty, soft, rich flavors, just a meat patty next to a fried patty of potato that theoretically was flavored with cheddar but I couldn't tell. My wife's pizza looked ok but the thing was a soggy mess and she gave up halfway through. The flavors were ok but not really that memorable.

                                      1. Tried them for lunch today and thought it was pretty decent. Service was friendly & knowledgeable. The sugar snap pea salad with pink grapefruit supremes, endive, pear & burrata was perfectly seasoned & balanced. The Original Baco was quite tasty, it had a lot of the salbitxada dressing on it and the bread was strong enough to contain the filling but supple and chewy enough to satisfy. And yes, they are cubes of fried fat but they were fried perfectly with no detection of grease whatsoever. Not sure what others are expecting when ordering pork belly, but this was expertly cooked. And the beef carnitas cubes were also tender but crispy, if that makes sense, I will be returning for lunch again.

                                        1. The first time I went, I had the original Baco. It was mind-blowing. Big, bold flavors that are perfectly balanced. I also got the grilled okra which was also pretty awesome. The second time I went, I got the Toron Baco. I didn't like it as much as the first time, but when i went back a THIRD time, i went back to the original and wasn't as pleased as I remember the first time. Get the toron if you go. Also, there's some dish that is something along the lines of caesar brussel sprouts. It was friggin awesome. Highly recommend this place for lunch. Never been for dinner.