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No Chow Love for Bizarra Capital?


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No Chow Love for Bizarra Capital?

cacio e pepe | Sep 27, 2012 10:17 PM

My search kung fu must be poor as I'm not usually an early adopter of any particular restaurant, but I haven't found any posts on Bizarra Capital. Again, I also don't usually comment on a place based on less than a handful of visits, but since no 'hound has chimed in yet I figured I can break that custom.

THE DRINK: I had a nice variation on a whiskey sour with a hibiscus flower. I've forgotten the specific ingredients, but it was strictly B-level, post cocktail revival stuff. Which is to say it was quite decent. The beer list was pretty solid, too. Neither the cocktail list, nor the beer list was mind-blowing. However, there aren't a lot of Mexican restaurants that are providing that level of drink. The ones that are significantly above Bizarra Capital's price range.

THE FOOD: I ordered the pato taco, nopales salad, a taco chiles torreados, and some bacon wrapped shrimp.

The duck taco consisted of an incredibly thick disk of fresh masa that had been fried golden and crisp. Atop that flat base sat a very generous amount of shredded duck leg. And for $6 it had better be generous. That was sluiced with a rather sweet orange chocolate salsa and (I think) some pickled red onion. The overall effect was a touch sweet with a hint of bitter chocolate (the salsa looked like it was barely spiked with unsweetened cacao nibs). It actually reminded me just a little of b'stilla. The dish was about the size of a bread plate and was quite tasty. Light years beyond what Cacao Mexicatessen is offering with their duck carnitas taco. So, I think there is value for this $6 starter.

The nopales salad was light, considering it was really more of a fried cheese salad. What you get here is an entire nopal paddle that has been grilled, sliced horizontally, and topped with a charred, seared piece of moist cotija (oxymoron? perhaps). This is accompanied by chopped roasted serrano peppers and tomato. The cheese was similar in effect to grilled haloumi and the chunky roasted pepper and tomato warm salsa brought a touch of heat, acid, and moisture to each bite. Overall, a lovely dish.

The shrimp made me laugh out loud when they came out. I ordered them thinking they'd be a small plate of bacon wrapped shrimp to round out the meal. What appeared were gour grenade sized balls consisting of a beautiful jumbo shrimp, stuffed with cheese and ham, then wrapped in bacon and broiled. That any shrimp flavor managed to peak through was a minor miracle. I thought these monsters were definitely tasty, but not necessarily something I'd order again. They do add up to more than the sum of their parts, but they also taste exactly like you imagine them to given the description above.

The star of my meal was the taco de chiles torreados. Complex, bright, and packing a wonderful combination of different chile heat, this taco was on point. If you've tried them at Guisados, it should be the same deal. Though, here you get to sit in an old Sizzler and sip on a beer or cocktail. I had yet to explore that part of Guisados's menu so this was a new treat to me. I loved every bite of this taco and was just a little depressed that I had no room at all for a reprise.

THE ATMOSPHERE: It's an old Sizzler, that was then an old Siete Mares, that's been reworked. And I personally like it a lot. It's comfortable. The service was friendly and casual.

OVERALL: I really liked this place. If you're a fan of Ricardo Diaz's other efforts, then I can't see how you won't love this place. Diaz can stretch out a bit more here and so can you. Most of what you like from all the other Diaz joints are here on the menu, in addition to a solid beer and cocktail list. And you can request a booth. What's not to like?

RECOMMENDATIONS: I'd avoid the "basics." I really don't see why anyone would drive out to Whittier, then order a carne asada and chicken taco for lunch here when you can get those anywhere at a fraction of the cost. I recommend getting the items that aren't available other places since that's where Bizarra Capital really shines. I know I'll be back soon to work through the entire menu eventually.

BONUS: Check out Chicken Box in the vicinity for some broasted chicken. 'Cause, you know, everyone deserves a little dessert.

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