Angels Flight is an LA curiosity located in the heart of downtown. Built in 1901, it is known as “The Shortest Railway in the World,” and for 50¢, takes you up 298 feet to the top of Bunker Hill. A couple blocks away, on 4th Street, is another elevation of sorts. Bar Amá is a new restaurant from Chef Josef Centeno (Bäco Mercat and Lazy Ox Canteen) that serves elevated Tex-Mex fare.
Often described as bastardized Mexican cuisine from this side of the Border, Tex Mex is comfort food that is usually cheap and best enjoyed with a cold cerveza. For Chef Centeno, it’s the food that he grew up with and, at Bar Amá, he refines several Tex Mex classics and puts a new spin on others. There is of course Queso, a gloppy liquid cheese dip that is a Tex Mex staple and delectable Puffy Tacos filled with yummy Carne Guisada. My favorite dishes are an amazing Pork Belly Chicharron with Poblano Cream and Lime, and a decadent dessert of Leche Quemada (Burnt Milk) Pudding with Graham Cracker, Fennel Pollen, Peanut and Almond. Other menu items, such as the Rancho Gordo “Borracho” Beans with Beer, Cilantro and Bacon and the Albondigas with Corn & Sweet Potato Cake, Tomatillo and Baked Egg, sounded better than they tasted.
Not surprisingly, the elevated cuisine at Bar Amá is pricier than the grub at most Tex Mex eateries. However, you’re dining in a nicer than normal space; a very cool industrial chic room with lots of reclaimed wood and southwest tiles. Also worth mentioning is the impressive bar stocked with an extensive array of high end tequillas and mezcals. For extra fun, you can follow your dinner with a ride on Angels Flight and experience a bit of LA history.