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After a quick transformation over three days, Romesco Mexiterranean Cocina opened in LIttle Italy, taking over the space previously occupied by the popular Bracero Cocina de Raiz. We were invited to check out the new brunch menu and immediately noticed one familiar item after another... especially the Albacore Two Ways. Our knowledgeable server James confirmed that the menu carried over many signature dishes from Bracero but also added in special dishes from Romesco in Bonita. We asked several staff about their favorites but with so many delicious options, not even they could agree on just one or two!
Sesame Seared Yellowfin Tuna Sashimi (9.95) - jalapeno, ponzu
The sashimi made the initial cut for appetizers. The thickly sliced tuna showcased fresh fish with a beautifully seared edge. We loved the texture of the sesame seeds along with the subtle jalapeño bite. Splitting the third piece was almost a sin for me!
Pulpo Asado a las Brasa (9.25) - grilled octopus, house marinade
Grilled octopus was one of the shining stars from Bracero so we opted to try this tapas variation at Romesco. The well proportioned meaty pieces exuded some char flavor while sitting afloat a well spiced oil marinade enhanced with a squeeze of lemon.
Piquillos Rellenos de Cangrejo (7.25) - crab stuffed sweet piquillo peppers
The vivid stuffed peppers were delicious bite-sized morsels with a saucy crab filling. The sweeter peppers were softly cooked and contained no spicy bite after removal of the seeds. I was wishing this was double the portion!
House Guacamole (12.45) - crispy beluga lentils, chickpeas, blackbean hummus, zaatar & sea salt chips
The guacamole arrived with a touch of lime and salt inside a very shareable platter. Pepita seeds gave a little resistance to each creamy bite. The chips themselves were sprinkled with vegetable ash (no 'burnt' taste in your mouth) and were thick and tasty like La Puerta chips. Hidden in the bowl was a black bean hummus lining, too thin to notice until server pointed it out to us.
TAPAS TUESDAYS - all tapas are 1/2 off, including everything shown above!
Marg Italiano & Czech Yourself cocktails
Sipping on my drink was like savoring a glass of refreshing agua fresca except with an intense smokiness. Our other drink did not "taste" alcoholic and was way too easy to drink. At the bottom we ended up with mezcal infused limes!
Another great drink option is the bottomless mimosas with the purchase of any entree! That's what brunch is all about right? =D
Chilaquiles Rojos (14.95) - Suzie's Farm fried eggs, crema, aged queso cotjia, nopales, avocado, red onion
The mild red sauce softly coated the chips which still had some crunch to them. On the side were very pliable potatoes and our choice of a fried egg on top (which can be ordered your way). Dennis really enjoyed the refried beans, which I later found out had pork mixed in. He was dipping the extra chips into it as well as the leftovers of the guac bowl. The Combo El Especial is basically the chilaquiles here plus machaca, which our neighboring table (Eat Drink SD) shared a sample with us. The machaca meats were very juicy with a nice flavor.
Pork Belly Carnitas Tacos (7.85) - pipian sauce, pickled red onions, smoked pepitas
The tacos were the last to arrive yet we somehow managed to find room in our gently expanded stomachs. The best part was the pan-fried meat taste in contrast to the pickled vegetables. Mexa Thursdays is the day to return for tacos, tostadas, and tequila specials.
Downstairs there are tables both inside and out as well as an extensive bar for drinks.
We sat upstairs which had another large bar area with friendly staff ready to serve. Along the perimeter were huge glass walls giving curious diners a wondrous city view within the safe confines of the restaurant.
Overall we're quite thrilled with Romesco's, especially how they've kept some of their acclaimed Bracero menu items. Everything on this day's menu was new to us but we'll definitely check out other classics on a future visit! Looks like foodie friend Canine Cologne visited the original location recently. Anyone tried the original location in Bonita or this new location in Little Italy?
Disclaimer: We were invited to dine here and our food and drink was complimentary. We were not otherwise compensated and all opinions stated are our own.
Romesco Mexiterranean Cocina
1490 Kettner Blvd
San Diego CA 92101