La Brasa – Somerville’s Finest

Somerville was an area I sorta remembered when I lived in Boston many decades ago. Adjoining Cambridge, the town had a few record stores I would seek out.

As part of a recent college tour with my daughter, we had a very pleasant dinner at La Brasa in Somerville.

The restaurant is known for its use of wood, not just in its décor but more crucially in its culinary strategy. The aim is to evoke the feelings of camaraderie among friends and family, whether by a fireplace or a campfire. The chefs use a variety of wood depending on the season and the dish being prepared.

The fare evolves depending on local availability, and reflects the background of chef/owner Daniel Bojorquez. He is a native of Hermosillo in the state of Sonora, Mexico and he further blends Peruvian and Middle Eastern elements.

Screen Shot 2016-02-07 at 1.38.03 PM Screen Shot 2016-02-07 at 1.37.49 PM Screen Shot 2016-02-07 at 1.36.48 PM
Hence, when we started with smoked trout nachos we were skeptical. But the light chips were crisp, offset with black eyed peas and crème fraiche, a delicious combination.

The bread is baked daily onsite, and we opted for a simple butter dusted with vegetable ash. The latter is a blackened powder, which added a unique tang.

Four our mains, we shared branzini and sirloin. The former was served whole, garnished with tomatillo sofrito, jalapenos, citrus and rosemary oil. The delicate white fish held up nicely against the robust garnish. The meat was grilled with tlatlaquitepec mole, artichokes and red onion. This was not a dish that could ever be found when I lived in Boston back in the day.

We cleared our palate with two delightful deserts: flan and coconut chocolate chip ice cream with a honey barley flakes.

La Brasa may be off the beaten track of inner city Boston cuisine stops, but it is well worth seeking out.

Brad Auerbach has been a journalist and editor covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, SPIN, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.