After years of planning and an anticipation-building pop-up, Somerville restaurant La Brasa is finally set to open by the end of April. It’s been a long journey for first-time chef/owner Daniel Bojorquez, who started mulling over the concept seven years ago. But you could argue La Brasa’s roots reach much further back in time—back to, say, early humans using fire.
“It’s an open fire, humble food, great product,” Bojorquez says. “It’s going to be an open kitchen, and there will be a whole theatrical effect. People stand next to a chimney or fireplace in their home, and that’s the kind of feel I think this grill with the fire is going to have.”
That homey feel extends to the menu itself. “People ask me, what’s the style of food I’m doing,” Bojorquez says. “I say to people, ‘Pretty much when you go to my house, that’s what I’ll be cooking at La Brasa.’ And people say, ‘What do you cook at home?’ And, well, you’ve got to come to my house to check it out.” He does admit that he expects to draw from his French training (he most recently worked at Sel de la Terre in Natick and before that under Frank McClelland at L’Espalier), his Mexican roots and even his current neighborhood of Dorchester, where he’s surrounded by a lot of Vietnamese food. But each day’s menu options will be driven by the selections of meat coming into the adjoining market and the vegetables arriving from McClelland’s Apple Street Farm.
Bojorquez promises one dish will be a whole grilled ribeye with chimichurri sauce, something he’s been making for years at the request of friends. There will always be dishes with beef, chicken and lamb, as well as a variety of game meat specials like venison, all prepared on the wood-burning grill at the heart of the restaurant. Paired with the grilled offerings is a cocktail menu from Matthew Schrage with a lot of rums, mezcals and infused liquors.
Bojorquez predicts the eclectic offerings will fit in well in Somerville, a city of diverse demographics that’s seen several recent openings of restaurants that serve cuisine of consequence. He plans to keep prices in the teens and twenties, and he hopes that the raw interior will likewise appeal to the neighborhood crowd.
“It’s very apocalyptic, with a Texas after-the-war feel to it,” Bojorquez says. “It’s got a very Mad Max feel.”
La Brasa | 124 Broadway, Somerville | 617-764-1412 | labrasasomerville.com