Opus Restaurant: Tuesday Bäco Night Showcases Signature Mash-Up [CLOSED]

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Restaurant Sign Los Angeles

Opus Restaurant resides in the iconic Art Deco structure that houses the Wiltern Theatre.

Situated at the base of the building that features the 1931 Art Deco masterpiece – The Wiltern – Opus is gaining a reputation for offering innovative cuisine at affordable prices. New chef Josef Centeno has implemented a new menu using a “modern approach to French technique inspired by global ingredients.” As part of Chef Centeno’s overhaul, he’s implemented Tuesday Bäco Night. A bäco is a flatbread/taco hybrid and a vessel for innovative toppings. They’re served at the bar only.

Bar patrons enjoy a complimentary bowl of wheat pita chips, bone-dry, but crispy and addictive.

Chef Centeno produces four different bäcos, costing a more-than-reasonable $8 apiece. We ordered one of each. Turns out we over-ordered. A single bäco is the size of about 3 tacos. Each bäco features more ingredients than the few that are listed, including an unlisted sauce that is usually green. The menu descriptions hardly hint at how complex the flavors are.

Flatbread Los Angeles

The skate bäco came topped with pickled cabbage and mint onions. This bäco resembled a traditional Baja style fish taco, with pan-fried strips of tender skate substituting for fish.

Flatbread Los Angeles

Another bäco featured fried cubes of dreaded tofu, diced potatoes and garlic-chive dressing. I refuse to give the processed soybean meat its due, but considering all the accompanying ingredients, I was honestly pleasantly surprised. It’s not an item I’d normally order, since I’m a dedicated carnivore, but since there were only four options, I decided to go all-in.

Flatbread Los Angeles

Chef Centeno’s signature bäco, just called “The Bäco,” hostssucculent squares of short rib carnitas and pork belly, almond chunks and diced tomatoes. Fabulous.

Flatbread Los Angeles

The final bäco was heavy, piled with heaps of ground chorizo and fall-apart lamb, set upon a “crushed yam” base. This is a definite stick-to-your-ribs dish. And a stick-to-your-arteries dish. Still, it had a winning flavor and a healthy spice kick.

After eating at Opus, I understand why Chef Centeno trademarked the bäco. The flatbread could probably be a little crisper, to better cradle the prodigious amounts of meat, fish and tofu. Still, the flavors were distinctive and, on the whole, fairly delicious. I plan to get to better know the bäco. I also plan to familiarize myself with Chef Centeno’s tasting menu, which has gained a reputation in town for its adventurousness and value.

Update: Chef Centeno is no longer the chef at Opus, so he took his trademarked bäcos with him.


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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