Award-Winning Chef Josef Centeno Opens a Fun-Loving Tex-Mex Hangout in Culver City

Loaded nachos

The Bar Ama chef cooks Tex-Mex through an Angeleno lens in Downtown Culver City

Josef Centeno, who opened Bacoshop at this prime corner location in Downtown Culver City, has transformed the space into Amacita, a more modern California take on his popular Tex-Mex restaurant Bar Ama in Downtown LA. Opening tomorrow evening with a reasonably priced menu of Tex-Mex classics, Centeno is taking cues from his San Antonio heritage but adapting flavors to LA.

Of course anyone who wants queso and guac can get that to start, though a cashew queso with calabacitas and roasted poblano makes it easy for vegans to enjoy the delights of the Tex-Mex staple. The menu is heavy on vegetables like Centeno’s other restaurants (Baco Mercat and the Michelin-starred Orsa & Winston), with ember-roasted Yukon potatoes, charcoal-grilled corn, and blistered okra that feel right at home as summer evening appetizers.

The menu takes inspiration from Centeno’s great-grandmother “Amá,” who traveled across the border during the Mexican Revolution and made a living by frying tacos dorados at the train station while waiting for her husband to return home. Centeno’s Tia Carmen taught the chef how to make Amacita’s thin flour tortillas, which go great with a homey carne guisada braised in chiles, garlic, tomato, and spices.

With Tex-Mex through an Angeleno lens, Centeno cooks peaches with tomato salad, yellowtail ceviche, and melon with blistered shishito salad to contrast all the grilled meats. A full liquor license is on the way, but until then, Amacita serves an orange wine sangria, hibiscus frose, pineapple shandies, and Michelada. Overall, Amacita is approachable, flexible (with diets), and most of all fun, which should come as a nice addition to sometimes forlorn Downtown Culver City.

Amacita opens tomorrow evening and will serve from 5 to 9 p.m., Tuesday to Saturday, with eventual Sunday and Monday, plus brunch and lunch service. There’s also a special nacho happy hour from 5 to 7 p.m. with discounted drinks and food.

Amacita. 9552 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232.

Amacita Culver City
Amacita Culver City
Amacita Culver City
Amacita Culver City
Charcoal-grilled mini corn
Amacita Culver City
Tomato and peach salad with goat cheese and sesame seeds
Amacita Culver City
Tacos dorados (in either chicken or polenta and smoked potato)
Amacita Culver City
Ranchero chicken with almond-morita salsa
Amacita Culver City
Carne guisada
Amacita Culver City
Amacita Culver City
Pollo asado
Amacita Culver City
Loaded nachos
Amacita Culver City
Orange wine sangria with fresh fruits
Amacita Culver City
Hibiscus frose
Amacita Culver City
Grapefruit shandy
Amacita Culver City
Michelada
Amacita Culver City

Source: LA Eater