Oh how us gluten-free folks love our Mexican food. Whether it is street tacos or gourmet, Mexican cuisine reigns over the Los Angeles dining scene. Lucky for us, Bill Chait’s Sprout Group and famed Chef, Ray Garcia, have taken over the old Rivera space in Downtown LA and have opened up a Mexican hotspot, allowing us to have our fix. With an elevated approach to traditional Mexican, Chef Garcia has taken three generations’ worth of his grandmother’s and mother’s bold recipes, and modernized them to create a superb menu full of flavor and bold takes on classic dishes at Broken Spanish…
Chef Luis guided us through the menu, explaining that their homemade heirloom corn tortilla is the paintbrush of the restaurant, enhancing any dish. Naturally, we ordered a generous stack. Before we ordered food, we wanted to start the meal with a refreshing yet boozy gluten-free cocktail. We tried the Green Gardens – Chinoco Blanco Tequila, Belle de Brillet, Lemon, Ginger, Green Juice Medley, and Fennel Flower served over ice.
Nearly all items were gluten-free and sharing was encouraged. From the ‘Botanas,’ we had the Tostada and Crudo. The former consisted of Marina di Chiogga, Cauliflower Escabeche, Shaved Brussels, Pomegranate seeds, and Chile Cascabel atop a slightly crisped corn tostada. If you can’t handle spice, beware; there are some jalapenos hidden beneath the topical goodness, and the chili adds a nice kick. The Crudo was the perfect complement to the former, spicier dish. The scallops were some of the best we’d had, paired with apple, cucumber, and Serrano.
Quesadilla – the indisputable favorite. Since quesadillas are usually prepared with flour tortillas, their’s was a pleasant surprise. Filled with the most succulent braised oxtail, plantain, habanero, and salsa-quemada, those babies melted in our mouths. I daydream about them. Daily. Next up, octopus. And I mean, who can resist a good Pulpo dish? Evidently, not us. Consisting of alberjones, chorizo, and crema, the dish was a lighter choice and the octopus were tenderized to perfection.
Our final savory dish was recommended by manager Danielle; the Duck was appropriately doused with the chef’s take on mole, garnished with sesame and delicious persimmons, which cut through the natural gamey, savory flavor of the duck. The tortillas were crucial in the construction of some duck tacos!
Although stuffed, we were told to try their Mango Chile dessert: a mango panna cotta set atop a habanero caramel, garnished with passion fruit curd, lime gel, cayenne meringue, and both fresh mango and passion fruit. Not only was it aesthetically beautiful, but the medley of flavors was explosive, especially with the oozing layer of habanero caramel beneath the panna cotta giving the dessert a bite.
We were too full to try everything we wanted, but we already have our menu set for visit #2 – lamb neck tamale, Chicharron, and most definitely those beautifully braised oxtail quesadillas – if not two!