After attending the Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo, a small group of us decide to have dinner at Broken Spanish mainly because we’re hungry, but also, to wait out the traffic traveling back to Orange County. The restaurant is a five minute drive from the LA Convention Center, but I call ahead to reserve a table just in case.
We all arrive within minutes of each other and settle in with some well-earned cocktails. El Diablo ($14) is an easy-to-drink reposado tequila tall cocktail possessing a beautiful hue from the crème de cassis. Ginger ale adds sweetness and a little carbonation, just enough to tickle your tongue.
I choose Tepache Fizz ($14) which is essentially a tequila Moscow Mule (traditionally prepared with vodka) and tepache, a Mexican fermented pineapple beverage. The enamel mug is a cute touch, but this refreshing fruity drink definitely packs a punch, enough for it to go to my head after only a few sips.
Our first dish of Tamales ($16) is the vegetarian option – there is also one with lamb — comprising summer squash, Brentwood corn, rajas (crema and poblano peppers) and queso Oaxaca. The tamale is sublime! The masa is a perfect consistency, neither too hard nor too soft. It melts in the mouth, but is still firm enough to hold together. The ooos and ahhs around the table speak volumes.
Another stunning item is Tostada ($13) another vegetarian dish. The menu says habas (broad beans), however, I’m not able to detect any. Instead, there are fresh English peas atop the crunchy tostada with lamb cheese (I’m assuming goat cheese?) with carrot escabeche lending acid and fronds of carrot fern implementing a unique fragrance to the mix. I absolutely loved this simple but tasty concoction.
Chochoyotes ($14) jumps out at me. The masa dumplings are once again a lovely texture, especially when paired with the paper thin potato slivers gracing a few of the dumplings. The broth is green from green garlic and pasilla pepper. Although refreshing, I would have liked a little more acid and a touch more salt in this composition.
I have a bit of a love hate relationship with Camote ($14). On the one hand, I really like the mixture of chopped pig tail, trompa (pig snout), chile de arbol, and verjus – and would have liked it more as a taco? — but the purple sweet potato overpowered in the sweet to savory ratio. It feels more appropriate on a fall menu with its hearty, assertive flavors.
I am a huge fan of octopus, therefore, Pulpo ($22) is a given. Two octopus tentacles are served with alberjones (reminiscent of split peas or lentils) with chorizo and crema. The accoutrements are savory and agreeable, however, the octopus itself is mushy. I am convinced it has been over sous vide. Our server takes it away and before she brings us a replacement, I ask the manager if they sous vide the octopus. After confirming that it is indeed the preparation used, we declined a replacement.
If you’re looking for something to enjoy on your own, definitely order the Quesadilla ($15) which comes with robustly unctuous braised oxtail enveloped in a purple corn tortilla. It is rich, decadent, and something I wish I had more room to take another bite of it.
We order Duck ($36) off the shared plates for the table. Half a duck arrives bathed in mole and dotted with peanuts and a hint of the very hot tepin chiles. I really enjoy this mole as it is not overwhelmingly sweet. Next time, I’m ordering the whole fish I see at the table next to us!
Broken Spanish (**valet parking available for $9)
1050 S Flower
Los Angeles, CA 90015
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