Feb. 14, 2013
In a small but unassuming neighborhood, very close to USC, is a little jewel; this place is a great find. You don’t have to be in there for more than a few minutes to realize, this place is fun! It’s accessible, comfortable, and has none of the airs that typical gastro style wine bars in Los Angeles have. Also,there is another thing about this place that will really surprise you. Besides the ever – inventive food, there is a constant stream of beautiful model type girls walking through the doors. But once again, not your typical hoochy messes one would see in Hollywood. No, these are very smart wonderfully coiffed USC students, who have figured out that the best game in their neighborhood is Bacaro LA!
There were 3 long 8 seat tables that housed 3 different Birthday parties for twenty something ladies on the night I was there. These girls were out to totally get their party on. They sang, they toasted, they ate and they primped, all the while never missing a beat. You see, what owner Danny Kronfli has done is offer up a terrific special; $20.00 for an hour and a half of all the white or red wine you can drink. Well no one gets so drunk that they are under the table, instead they just get very happy and sing their college fights songs. I am telling you Bacaro is so worth the drive into the great USC abyss.
The staff is also a highlight, with the always-smiling Jasmine, who checked on me just the right amount of times to the Chef, Lior Hillel, who hails from Jean George in Manhattan by way of Israel. He has such a great eye and palate. He graduated from Le Cordon Blue in Pasadena, and also studied as a pastry chef. The baguettes that he makes from scratch were scrumptious. He also talked about being a soldier in Israel, I am sure that all of his good and bad experience brought him to this fantastic crossroad, of being the executive chef here at Bacaro LA.
Here is what I tried:
Citrus Chili Sauce, with shaved fennel. The shrimps are plump and fresh, and the sauce has some very nice little treats.
Caprese salad, “gioia” mozzarella, tomatoes, basil pesto, good ingredients makes this a worthwhile dish.
Pan seared polenta with roasted market eggplant salad, very interesting combo, kind of Italian and kind of Mediterranean.
Burrata Di Stefano, sea salt, cracked black pepper, grilled sourdough. It all melted in my mouth.
Cabecou marinated goat cheese with fresh ground black pepper, cranberry compote, and baked baguette. The cranberry compote really makes this dish pop, extremely good.
Grilled lamb burger
with cucumber, parsley tahini sauce, shaved radish, and sourdough. The concept of this Middle Eastern blend works, very enticing.
Lamb stuffed eggplant, with lemon garlic emulsion, lemon chip, and scallions. I like the consistency of the lamb, and how it great it goes with the eggplant.
“Noa’s” cauliflower with chipotle aioli and mixed greens, this one is a perfect way to eat healthy and have amazing taste all at the same time. The chipotle sauce is off the hook, it is so good they bottle and sell it. I was very lucky to have been gifted one bottle!
Grilled Chicken Panini with mozzarella, very tasty, and nicely prepared.
The Bacaro Burger made with all natural Angus grass-fed beef served on bicycle breads handmade grilled honey wheat, with fried egg on top. This burger is all about the egg being on top, you could eat this one for breakfast lunch, and or dinner.
Bacaro clams with white wine, plugra butter, mirapoix, capers, smashed cherry tomatoes, and freshly grilled baguette. The clams are very fresh and gave great clam liquor to all of the accompaniments.
Grilled hangar steak, with grilled zucchini, house made béarnaise sauce. The béarnaise sauce is the star of this dish, OMG!
Short Rib Sliders with house made coleslaw, caramelized onions, and beet hazelnut dressing. The meat is so tender, this is a must have slider.
Bacon and brie with tomato sauce and jalapeno. Kind of fiery, but very good. The pizzas are the perfect size for one person as well.
White pizza with besciamella sauce, bacon, scallions, mozzarella. This pizza would be my drug of choice, with its entire bacon and cheese flavor.
Cheese and Salumi:
Cana de Cabra , goat, SP, BlueDes Causes, cow, Fr, Sottocenere Al Tartufo, cow, It. Salame Toscano, Salame calabrese, Salame Finocchiona, with figs, almonds. Exceptional cheeses and salumi, nicely plated, and all great flavors.
Felines Jourdan, Picpoul De Pinet. Fr. ’11. A great wine with the caprese salad, and the cheese.
La Cadette, Colomband, Fr, ’11. Even though this wine is French is paired great with the Italian Burrata Di Stefano.
Quinta De Correio, White Blend. Portugal. Great wine with the cheese plate.
House White, Sauvignon. Blanc, ’09, CA. I drank this one with the Cabecou marinated goat cheese; it added another dimension to the cheese.
Sean Minor, Chardonnay, ’10, CA. I liked this wine with the poached shrimp, subtle, but worthy.
Chareau St. Pierre, Grenache, Rose, Fr. This wine paired great with the polenta.
Geta Murra, Chianti, Tuscany ’11. This wine went really good with the pizza and all its Italian sauces.
House Red, Blend, France, simply and delicious, worked good with the Bacaro Burger.
Chateau Fitere TANNAT, CAB. FR. ’09. This wine worked nicely with the short rib sliders.
Sean Minor, Pinot Noir, Central Coast ’11. I would try this combo together, the Bacaro clams.
Casa De Mouraz, Tempernilla, Port. Went great with the hanger steak, bringing out all of the rich cherry flavors in the meat and wine.
Sangria, this is there very house made concoction that is simply the best sangria ever! I drank this with both deserts, and was pleasantly surprised.
Vanilla with walnuts and clover honey brown butter cookie dough, this is one heck of a great accomplishment, wow.
Homemade Cranberry Bread Pudding, served with vanilla ice cream, nice if you’re a bread pudding lover.
The atmosphere is very cool; the walls are virtually floor to ceiling chalkboards, where they write their wines by the glass menu, which changes all the time. The ceiling had a great fixture that is made out of old wine bottles. They just expanded which gives them a total of 60 seats. Imagine, on a Wednesday night near downtown and they’re packed to the gills! When I asked Danny about their night, he said this was just another slow Wednesday, on the weekends there are people standing and drinking throughout the entire place. Danny and his brother Robert are also building a concept BBQ restaurant right across the street, and maybe another one down the street, he basically wants to take over the neighborhood, but with this, they have really struck gold.
So come and enjoy fantastic food, marvelous scenery, and the reality that in this funky college neighborhood, this is not a mirage. Great things come in little surprise packages, and this restaurant is small but mighty. The word Bacaro means Venetian wine bar, so why go to Venice when you can come get your wine on here!
2308 S Union Ave
Los Angeles, CA.