DTLA: Bar Ama Now Open

puffy tacos

pork barbacoa puffy tacos

I fully expect everyone to jump on the band wagon for Tex-Mex after this article but I have to admit, I still never found it that interesting. However, I love Chef Josef Centeno’s food and am willing to try anything that man cooks. After going to Bar Ama, I decided that maybe it’s classified as Tex-Mex but it was nothing like the horrible fake Mexican food I’ve had in the past. If anything, this actually reminded me of Asian food. Wait, wait, what are you talking about, Minty? Well, I mean it reminds me of home cooking. Specifically my own home cooking where I take ingredients that you never thought about putting together and it still taste great.

Don’t worry, Texans, I don’t like Southwestern food either– which I think is a bit fake Mexican as well. Of course, now that I’m older, I am able to seek out better representations of certain cuisines I didn’t like before. I am not really fond of Thai food either until I had real Thai food and not what I called fake Chinese food. Someone take me to a better Hawaiian food so I stop hating that fake Japanese food. But I digress, yeah?

queso with chorizo

Tex-Mex queso with chorizo

We started with a bowl of warm Tex-Mex queso with chorizo. The cheese dip came with salsa, avocado and sour cream. I loved that it also came with warm chips and they refilled our chips without us asking. Great service. But alas, the two of us weren’t able to finish the dip. I think this size would be better for a group of four.





It was the Fideo that did it for me. I don’t know what I expected- soup? But it was more of a light stew of grilled octopus, tender chunks of kielbasa and little bits of noodles and star pasta along with pumpkin seeds in a flavorful shrimp-tomato “broth.” If all Tex-Mex was like this, I wouldn’t have had a problem eating it the times someone suggested it.

I also got the pork barbacoa puffy tacos. I heard later the shrimp were the best ones so I’ll have to go back to try those. While I liked the flavors of the puffy tacos, I found my ground pork a bit lost under the lettuce.

green chile chicken enchiladas

Mom’s Green Enchiladas

My friend opted for Mom’s Green Enchiladas. I had a tiny bite on the end so I didn’t get any chicken but I liked the mild green salsa. Later my friend reported the spice crept up on you.

I can’t wait to get a group together to order the $75 quarter of a cabrito (young goat). That just sounds amazing.

I usually love Chef Josef’s veggies but I avoided them on this lunch because I wanted to try what I thought were more traditional “Tex-Mex” dishes. I learned it’s really not the dishes themselves but the love you put into the cooking. Next time I’m getting the kale then!


Bar Ama

118 W 4th St., Los Angeles, CA 90013  —  (213) 687-8002

© The Minty 2013