Restaurants & Bars Boston Area Mexican Somerville Meal Review

La Brasa, Somerville

smtucker | | Apr 27, 2014 05:53 PM

I have been working way too many hours and preparing way too many meals this month. I needed a change of pace. A chance to get out of the house and let someone else do the cooking. We decided to go to Taco Loco. I was craving their salsa verde; something to break my culinary boredom.

As we walked by La Brasa it was open! After reviewing the menu, we had a change of plans. No doubt most of you have seen pictures of the interior on eater Boston, so I won't describe the decor too much. We were seated at a long wooden banquet; an unfinished wood banquet. There will be splinters as the weather gets warmer. Napkins are set at each place. Well, really, dishcloths folder into quarters. Real cotton dishcloths. Possibly, never washed dishcloths given how much lint was in our laps when we left. Big plus on cotton napkins. I hate the polyester ones! The front door person took us to the table and left drink menus with us.

Water is served in an Italian limonata-style bottle which is left at the table so you can refresh your own glass. When the waiter arrived, he had the dinner menus. Since we weren't drinking, this little menu dance seemed a bit contrived.

We ended up ordering a tacos de carnitas, roasted carrots with mole and sesame, grilled onions and romesco, bon-chon fried chicken, and a roast pork loin sandwich with rapini, chorizo and fiddlehead tomme. This was the most eclectic menu I think I have ever seen. Every dish is from a different culture and/or country. There was no way to order any quantity and stay in the same region at all.

So let me state up front. We really liked our dinner. I had quibbles with some of the menu choices, and a few of the preparations, but this is a restaurant that is making some really delicious food with really quality ingredients.

The waiter warned us that food would come out "shotgun" style. Given the different flavors, in hindsight, this is a really good thing. The carrots arrive first. No mention of the carrots being baby carrots on the menu. What a nice surprise. The mole sauce was very pumpkin-based. More so than any mole I have had before. Took a bit, but I really warmed to this sauce as I ate more. The carrots were unevenly cooked. Some were almost raw, while others were soft. I suspect that this is a technique problem, but we actually enjoyed having each carrot having a different texture and taste.

The onions with romesco arrived next. Again, the menu understated the item. These were spring onions, that had been split and then cooked in the fire, drizzled with oil, and the sauce on the side. I loved this dish! In the future, I might ask for a bit less olive oil drizzled over the onions. We ended up eating some of the sauce straight since no bread seems to be the rule here and there was more sauce than the onions needed.

The bon-chon chicken was terrific. Perhaps a little less spicy than a true bon-chon chicken, but the balance of spicy, sweet, salty was pretty well done. The skin was crispy, crispy, and the meat was cooked perfectly. The serving included a chicken leg and a wing. The picture attached is minus the wing. My dining companion couldn't wait to grab that wing until after I took a picture. The side slaw was delicious. Much of the bon-chon chicken sauce had seeped to that side of the plate, so I couldn't really tell what the dressing was made of besides vinegar.

The final arrival was the sandwich. It was a good sandwich, but didn't live up to its menu description. The pork loin was touch and almost flavorless. There might have been two stalks of rapini total. The fiddlehead tomme was undetectable. But the chorizo was fabulous! The sandwich was served on a Texas toast kind of bread, and it was a really nice component. I guess I just don't think that the sandwich quite reached the balance that was indicated by the menu description. However, I am willing to give them another chance just to have the chorizo again.

The taco never arrived. Someone forgot about it, and we asked them not to bring it. We had had enough food.

We will be back. No question. I hope that they add some green vegetable options that aren't a bland salad that anyone can make at home. Right now, this is not a particularly vegetarian-friendly spot. Our waiter said that this was third night they had been open and that each night the menu has been different. I like that. I don't want to order the same thing every single time I go somewhere. The space is huge, but didn't feel cavernous. The music was a tad loud. I didn't care for the early selections, but like the food, the music was eclectic so eventually it was more my style. We found all the folks working there to be friendly. Our waiter was knowledgable about the menu, and attentive without being oppressive.

We spent, without alcohol, including a 20% tip, $20 per person.

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