A First Look at La Brasa’s Debut Menu (Updated)
Since signing a lease in early 2012, Chef Daniel Bojorquez’s new Somerville spot, La Brasa, has been one of the most talked about restaurant openings in town. Regarding the overall vision of his first solo venture, the L’Espalier and Sel de la Terre alum says, “I think people try really hard to attach some ethnic niche to the concept. Most people assume it’s going to be Mexican, but the concept is really all about dishes made from our wood-burning oven and the convivial atmosphere. In fact, I no longer see La Brasa as a concept, but more as a lifestyle. Once people come in, they start to get it.”
Over the weekend, La Brasa had its soft opening and true to his word, Bojorquez’s debut menu showcased a variety of wood-charred specialties including a harissa grilled chicken breast, a soy-marinated skirt steak topped with salmon roe, and a whole oak roasted yellowtail snapper rubbed with guajillo.
“The main staple [on the menu] is going to be the rib roast that I do with chimichurri,” Bojorquez says. “Right now, we’re doing it as a plated dish, but in the future, we want to do it tableside. We’ll price it by the ounce and people will be able to choose how much they want. I want to make it very, very relaxed at La Brasa and I feel like tableside service is nothing pretentious. It gives diners the flexibility to determine how much they want to eat.”
Besides his fiery take on carne asada (a Sonoran specialty) and other bigger proteins, the Hermosillo native, even has a section of veggies like carrots and collard greens that have been kissed by smoke. Starters include small bites like carnitas tacos, Benton’s country ham on toast, and a Mexican fried rice inspired by Bojorquez’s love of Chinese food.
“Every Mexican restaurant pretty much serves fried rice with tomato paste and some cilantro,” Bojorquez says. “What we’re doing is more Cantonese. We cook the rice like Mexican rice and then pan fry it with tons of fava beans and grilled scallions and then dress it with a burned garlic oil like the one Momofuku uses in their ramen.”
Another thing to look forward to is the La Brasa market opening within a month. Located inside the restaurant, Bojorquez describes it as a full-service butcher shop and produce stand, showcasing the same ingredients he’ll be utilizing on his rotating menu. That will include beef from Archer Angus in Maine and chicken and farm-fresh veggies from his partner, Frank McClelland’s Apple Street Farm in Essex.
“In three weeks from now, we’re going to be opening a market that’s attached to the restaurant,” Bojorquez says. “The idea came about because we needed a place to put our prep kitchen and Frank has a farm. The food at La Brasa is driven more by the product, so the menu is going to be based on what’s available. We understand consistency is the key, but we want to have fun as well.”
LA BRASA MENU
oysters on the half shell – $3 each
Benton’s cured ham with rhubarb, ginger chutney, and toast – $9
tacos de carnitas with slow roasted pork shoulder, salse verde, and chile de arbol – $4
artisanal cheese with assorted condiments – $6
beet pickled eggs – $8.50
collard green pie with Colorado chili, soft farm fresh egg, Iberico ham, and piperade – $10
roasted carrots with mole and sesame – $6
Mexican fried rice with charred scallions and spring beans – $5
grilled onions and romesco – $4
ASF salad greens with extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice – $7
rib roast with cilantro chimichurri – $16
meat & potatoes – grilled flat iron steak with smoked pommes robuchon – $12
skirt steak marinated in soy with snap peas, miners lettuce, salmon roe, and grilled almonds – $20
barbecued beef brisket with charred green tomatillos, and barbecue sauce – $16
Bon-Chon fried chicken – $10
harissa grilled chicken breast with roasted broccolini, and Greek yogurt – $12
roasted pork loin sandwich with rapini, chorizo, and fiddlehead tomme – $10
lamb shank pozole with red chili broth and homemade hominy with cabbage – $10
zatar roasted lamb saddle with curry cous cous, apricots, and mint – $20
Sable fish tiradito with uni vinaigrette, shaved fennel, and black garlic mustard – $12
pescado zarandeado; oak roasted yellowtail snapper rubbed with guajillo – $22
saffron smoked mussels in escabeche – $10
124 Broadway, Somerville; 617-764-1412 or labrasasomerville.com.