There is good news for the neighborhood with Jesse Gomez and Executive Chef Jose Acevedo expanding the Mercado restaurant brand, staking claim at the prior Faux Pas Bistro location at 7910 W. 3rd Street.
A design makeover to the Mercado style of urban metal and word, reclamation materials and Dia de los Muertos artwork, the new location projects a very similar vibe to its successful sister locale.
But of course, the food is what you come here for and Mercado will not disappoint, offering some of the best Mexican artisan food in Los Angeles. Mercado’s menu is small and sophisticated, developed around the classics but incredibly fresh and creative. Specials are listed on the mirrored wall along with each day’s soup selection as the choice changes daily.
We happily accepted an invitation to visit the new location; Mercado is the go-to recommendation for us to anyone looking for good quality food. You can have confidence in every dish here. You don’t have to take a tentative first nibble, just go right in for the big bite and let the fresh and savory flavors explode in your suddenly very happy mouth.
Our first dish Shredded Chicken Tacos were mouthwatering with warm spices and served on fresh tender corn tortillas. Next, mini, fresh Tuna Tostados on crispy tortilla rounds were crunchy and cool, but with a little bit of heat from the spicy aioli, fresh jalapenos and topping of deep fried battered onions. We accompanied these with a Passion Fruit Mezcal Margarita and the house-made Golden Sangria, both bright and fresh flavors.
A Mercado Chopped Salad followed; a veritable bounty of farmers’ market vegetables tossed in a hibiscus vinaigrette. Next entrees of Pollo en Salsa de Chipotle and Callos de Hecha. The chicken, a Jidori free-range half chicken rubbed with spices and roasted to perfection. Crispy skin and succulent meat, it was served on a mound of queso fresco mashed potatoes, roasted fresh corn and a wild mushroom chipotle sauce.
Callos de Hecha, three were giant scallops crusted with ground pumpkin seeds and fried deep golden. Break through the crunchy crust to find tender scallops on a bed of quick sautéed mixed vegetables, fried mashed potato cakes and a peppercorn chipotle sauce, really delicious.
Whatever you do, save room for dessert here. We never pass up a chance to have Chef Jose’s flan. The menu signage claims the best flan in the universe and while that is a tall order to fill, we are pretty sure it is true. There is simply none better and must be ordered. The tres leche cake is also delicious, delicate and lightly sweetened.