La Brasa in Somerville

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Table-side rib roast with green chimichurri sauce
Table-side rib roast with green chimichurri sauce

A good friend of mine (who also loves food as much as I do) had been urging me to visit La Brasa in Somerville, Massachusetts. So on one of our Saturday nights out, Doug and I decided to finally try it.

The restaurant space is VERY open and reminds me a lot of the atmosphere at West Bridge: high ceilings, a big open dining area with tall and low wooden solo and communal tables, a large bar area, and an open kitchen to view all of the bearded cooks in their element. All of the waiters (and one waitress) wore checkered shirts and all (except for the female and one waiter) had beards. If I say the place screamed “hipster,” I think you know the vibe I’m talking about.

Brussels sprouts with blood sausage
Brussels sprouts with blood sausage

Although La Brasa has a main entree section on its menu, the plates are meant to be shared. And share we planned to do. After some recommendations from my friend, we went with the beet pickled egg; Brussels sprouts with blood sausage and herb crema; tacos de carnitas with salsa verde and chile de arbol; and spicy Thai fried chicken.

The pickled egg came out first. It was a vibrant purple with a bit of a tang. It was an interesting way to start the meal. I’m not really sure exactly how I felt about it, but it was definitely not like any other egg I’ve had before. Then came the tacos de carnitas (which I ordered because I knew Doug would like them). The actual meat was super tender, but there was no real heat to the dish. Doug said his tacos had a kick, but I really didn’t get any at all. On we went to the Brussels sprouts and spicy Thai chicken. Again, although the chicken was prepared perfectly, there was no spice or kick at all for me. Doug said he thought it was definitely spicy, which led me to believe that my mouth had gone numb at that point. So I moved on to the Brussels sprouts with blood sausage. After one bite, I had this moment of compete euphoria. They were heavenly. I had to ask Doug not to eat them all so that I could savor them throughout the entire meal.

Thai-style fried chicken
Thai-style fried chicken

Although stuffed at this point, my friend had also told me about La Brasa’s “meat cart,” which was a little cart pushed by a delightful waiter who cut slices of rib roast for two (by the ounce), and served it table-side sprinkled with salt and green chimichurri sauce. Of course, we couldn’t NOT try it. So we each dug in. It was a nice slice of meat, but again, nothing compared to those Brussels sprouts.

Doug decided he was up for dessert, so we ordered a tres leche coffee cake with a scoop of lemon sorbet/ice cream on top. It was super sweet, and I’m not into intense lemon flavor, but Doug seemed to like it, so that’s all that mattered.

All in all, La Brasa had some hits and some misses. I feel like the best way to sum up how I felt about the meal was that it was pretty “eh.” It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t anything out-of-the-ordinary. However, I would go back for those Brussels sprouts in a heartbeat.

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