Plancha Latin Kitchen has opened at Long Beach Exchange and the menu is a solid offering featuring dishes from many countries. Diners pick from a list of available ingredients to create their own bowls, and there is a nice array of a la carte appetizers and dishes, should you choose to go that route.
Start with some Housemade Picadillo Empanadas ($6) to share, or get them as a snack. Either way, you will find these beautifully light and crispy pastries simply delightful. Bite into them to find a tasty meat filling inside.
If you’re a cheese fan, then Provoleta with Plancha Tortillas ($9) is a must. Grilled provolone cheese is served with these amazing house-made tortillas, dotted with kale. Wrap the cheese into one of these and you’ll be surprised at how tasty they are — since they look so healthy!
Patacones ($10) are plantains which have been smashed and grilled, then topped with carnitas, Oaxacan cheese, chimichurri, and Plancha’s Cuban salad. I remember eating something similar at a Colombian restaurant called tostones. It is a hefty portion, enough to fill a small appetite.
I’m completely enamored with the Bowls ($14) and all the variations you can create. First, take a slip of paper with all the ingredients listed. Then, go through the five categories to make your own bowls. Sounds simple enough.
However, it was really difficult to decide because there were so many options to choose from. You start with the first layer. I made two bowls using a mixture of cauliflower rice, braised greens, rice, quinoa, and chayote stew , my favorite!
For my second layer, I chose citrus chicken and mojo d’ajo shrimp. Both were exceptional in taste and texture. Vegetarians are not forgotten at Plancha, as you’ll find soyrizo, and cauliflower steak in this category.
Next, pick a salad: I loved the Cuban salad, chopped salad, and Guatemalan beet salad. For the fourth layer, choose a sauce such as chimichurri, red salsa, vinaigrette, mango salsa or Peruvian green sauce.
To finish, select from an array of toppings including escabeche, pickled red onions, cilantro, onions, tomatoes, or crispy garbanzo.
Everything is made fresh-to-order, and you can watch your food being prepared on the line as you wait. I loved the freshness of all the ingredients, and even though the amount of ingredients seem overwhelming at first — there’s a lot to choose from — your bowl will be custom-made with all your favorites.
This is the first of its kind offering Latin food in a fast casual environment. From my experience, it was super quick and easy, the food was delicious, and reasonably priced. I hope Plancha will open in OC sometime down the road, I’d certainly be visiting more often.
Plancha Latin Kitchen
3860 Worsham Ave
Long Beach, CA 90846