I’ve been hearing quite a buzz about all these new spots opening up in Echo Park. It’s about time. Not that there was anything wrong with Barragan’s or the Gold Room, but Dusty’s and Aroma was not the Sunset Blvd. east siders answer to foodie bliss. Lot 1 recently opened up across from the Gold Room and seems to be a hit. The place was packed at lunch today.
I have yet to try The Park and 15 and potentially a new Italian spot opening up, all along Sunset Blvd, east of American Apparel but West of Dodger Stadium. Both these other places are only open for dinner though.
Last Sunday, I had plans to meet some cyber food pals in person at Lot 1, but after a few phone calls during service hours regarding if they had AC or not and not hearing back, we decided to reschedule our meeting. I couldn’t risk sweating on my plate of Cowgirl Creamery cheeses or the hamachi appetizer I had read about online. I kinda feel like I went to see a movie without them. You know, like those times you wait and wait to see a movie with a specific someone and you just crumble and have to see it before their schedule allows. I shouldn’t gloat about what I experienced, but I will anyways since the lunch menu is different than dinner.
There’s nothing worse than eating in unbearable heat, which for me is anything hotter than 80˚. If this sounds prissy to you, it is, but I have no appetite at all and the gourmand in me gets upset. All this wonderful food and no where to put it. The absolute worse form of torture is going to Paris in the Spring and getting hit with a heat wave and not being able to eat any rich, French food. Yes, I speak from first hand experience. Good news, Lot 1 has AC.
Back to the bacos. Bacos is chef Josef Centeno’s (from Meson G and most recently Opus) take on a burrito-esque thing. It reminded me of the arepas from Venezuela that I recently saw on Bobby Flay’s Throwdown. I have no shame and admit I like this show. They even had a food blogger judging the food, Ah to dream…
Like a burrito, every culture has their version of filling wrapped up in a carb wrapper pita pocket of madness that is meant to be eaten with your hands. Think gyros, mu-shu, burritos, shawarma pita sandwich, etc. Bacos have elevated this idea of street food to a new level. Unique fillings and sauces unite. I wasn’t totally thrilled with the side salads but I am also a lentil snob and prefer the lentils de puy or the black caviar lentils to the mushy soft ones. It was also a bit acidic for my taste. I might forego the salads all together next time but the bacos… they are calling my name. There are 5 bacos to choose from and 4 side salads.
My friend, Bethany and I decided to share two bacos since we wanted to try more flavors even though cutting them wasn’t the smartest thing to do. Very messy. The server recommended the pesco one which has a recipe posted in the LA times, but this time it was made with trout instead of tuna, dressed with avocado, pickled cabbage and garlic-chive dressing. The side salad was the lentil and farro salad. The other baco we tried was the pork belly & paleron (beef) carnitas, smoked paprika aioli, and salbixtada which is tomatoes, almonds, parsley, and sherry. The side salad is fingerling potatoes with creme-fraiche dressing with caper red onion vinaigrette. The flatbread was like a super thick fresh burrito wrapper- kinda chewy, but not too chewy that it’s difficult to bite off a good chunk.
When calling regarding reservations and AC, I learned about them starting a tasting night soon. This I am curious about. They do not take reservations in general but for the tasting night they will. It also looks like ‘baco’ is a lunch item. I did get a copy of the dinner menu. Some items that peaked my interest were the two different rillettes and the yellowtail sashimi with charred leek oil. Some more exotic items like pan seared quail and escabeche of chicken and pork jowl (could this be you, guanciale?) were also listed under “mids”. From the choices, it seems like you could make a good meal out of small plates here. The market driven menu changes often.
I got a chance to meet and talk to the first time restaurateur, Eileen Leslie, as she was bussing tables and taking orders. Personally, I feel like the space and decor feels right for Echo Park, not too bougie (my slang for bourgeois), very humble, and all about the food. Her impetus to open Lot 1 with her son was solely based on having moved from the west side and not having enough good food near her in her new home in Echo Park. Nice to see some motivation, purely driven by tastebuds.
Besides, how could you hate something that is one letter off from bacon?
Lot 1 // 1533 Sunset Blvd 1 block east of Echo Park Ave. // (213) 481-8400
Reservations - None- first come first serve
(tasting night to happen soon, reservations will be required then)
credit cards accepted