BAR AMA: An Ode to Tex-Mex
Historic Core | Downtown LA
When I think of Tex-Mex food, my mind goes straight to chips drenched in velvety melted cheese, golden fried taquitos or chimichangas filled with meat, or enchiladas smothered sloppily with chili sauce and cheese. These are all foods that college Patrick or drunk Patrick (and often very synonymous) would devour in a heartbeat... if it remembers to beat. My drunk-self probably didn't think that this food couldn't get any better, but Chef Josef Centeno of Bar Ama proved me wrong.
Centeno's Bar Ama elevates Tex-Mex food in a fun and drool-worthy way while staying true to the staple dishes and essence of the mixed American and Mexican cuisine. Just like the fun takes on the food, Bar Ama matches with a playful ambiance. When I first walked, there's a bar with endless selections of tequila, wine, and any other spirit that you'd fancy; a mix of communal tables and couples tables perfect for any occasion, diners both young and fair aged, and Nasty Nas' Illmatic playing through the speakers as if Bar Ama plays on food like Nas plays on words.
I came here on a late Saturday morning for brunch. Their brunch offerings had a Tex-Mex twist on breakfast staples, such as breakfast tacos and huevos rancheros, while offering classic Tex-Mex dishes like enchiladas and fajitas. To make the best (drunk) food decisions, we ordered some of Bar Ama's signature drinks like the Avocado Margarita and the Pineapple Mint Sangria, which were the perfect and refreshing brunch libations needed.
You honestly can't go wrong with any choices on the menu. We opted for the following dishes:
- Mom's Green Enchiladas with Short Rib - tender braised short rib rolled inside a corn tortilla and smothered on top with cheddar, monterey jack, sour cream, and a sweet and citrusy tomatillo sauce
- Steak & Egg Breakfast Taco - perfect medium-rare steak atop fluffy scrambled eggs and garnished with chimichurri.
- Lengua Machaca Breakfast Taco - flavorful lengua tossed in Bar Ama's signature bus-driver sauce, topped with tomatillo salsa, queso fresco, cilantro, and onion.
- Toad in a Hole - a Tex-Mex take on the "egg in a basket," which features a crispy flour tortilla topped with egg, thick smoked bacon, egg, cheddar cheese, parsley, cascabel salsa, and half of an avocado.
Overall, Bar Ama is a fun place to sip on some tequila cocktails and experience a new level of Tex-Mex cuisine for all to enjoy. Gather your college buddies and discover a new appreciation of the food from your glory days. Take your parents to show them that your days of Taco Bell are long behind you. Bar Ama has set the bar, and you will be amazed.