Charred for Life: A Sneak Peek at La Brasa in Somerville, Opening in May

fish

Photo by Bruce Peterson

Hailing from Hermosillo, Mexico, the birthplace of carne asada, chef Daniel Bojorquez knows a thing or two about harnessing the magic of the open flame. So after more than a decade refining his cooking skills at L’Espalier and the now-closed Sel de la Terre (and clocking hours grilling with his boss and mentor, Frank McClelland, at McClelland’s Apple Street Farm, in Essex), Bojorquez returns to his roots with his first solo venture, La Brasa. The Somerville restaurant, scheduled to open this month, focuses on rustic, globally inspired dishes—likegrilled chicken thighs with parsley and brown-butter snails; a massive gojuchang-spiced rib-eye roast carved tableside; and soy-and-chili-rubbed whole black bass zarandeado (pictured)—all of which get the wood-fired treatment on a massive custom grill. Based on a snapper preparation popular in the Pacific Northwest of Mexico, Bojorquez’s take on zarandeado, tweaked with a dose of sriracha, a bright pea-shoot salad, and a locally available fish, translates well to the flame, he says: “The fact that it’s simple, and grilled—that says it all, really.”