Ray Garcia's Broken Spanish Debuts Downtown

By Lesley Balla  |  June 24, 2015
Credit: Broken Spanish

The promise of one restaurant from chef Ray Garcia and Bill Chait's Sprout group was already big news for downtown LA. But two? It almost seems like an embarrassment of riches, but with B.S. Taqueria making waves with clam and lardo tacos and beet tortas on Seventh Street, its much larger, more refined sibling, Broken Spanish, debuted his week in the South Park neighborhood. It's a most ambitious project for the chef, and one that will surely make its mark not just on downtown, but on the LA culinary scene as a whole.

The restaurant replaces John Sedlar's Rivera just a few blocks from LA Live and Staples Center, but there are few remnants of the former restaurant. Broken Spanish has a much lighter approach in design, especially in the back room that was lined by tequila lockers and dark banquettes. Walls were blown out, sliding windows were put in, and it's now a bright and vibrant space with hints of Mexican rusticity a la lace doilies and terra cotta vases and plates. The bar area has been transformed as well, with a new long communal high-top in the middle, hanging plants, white wall decor and tables along the wall. It's even more inviting for a drink, courtesy barman Michael Lay (Faith & Flower), and a snack before a concert or game nearby.

As with BS Taqueria, the menu is Garcia's ode to his Latin upbringing coupled with his classic training.This is Mexican cuisine with a contemporary spin, as seen from a chef firmly planted in LA and its seasonality. There are traditional dishes, like rabbit, bacon and bacon mixiote steamed and presented in plastic bags, but also handmade tortillas served with whipped carnitas fat, and esquites (corn) slathered with kewpie mayo and parmesan cheese. His chile rellenos have kale, the quesadillas are stuffed with oxtail and plantains, and he's bold enough to serve a whole roasted lamb's head. The restaurant opens nightly 

1050 S. Flower St.; 213-749-1460