Already San Diego's dining neighborhood of the moment, Little Italy's status as the current epicenter of the restaurant boom should be sealed with the highly anticipated arrival of chef Javier Plascencia.
Plascencia, who operates well-regarded restaurants in the San Diego area (Bonita's Romesco), Tijuana (Mision 19, Erizo) and the Valle de Guadalupe (Finca Altozano), is getting close to unveiling his new Kettner Boulevard project, which joins the recently-opened Pan Bon in the base of the Ariel Suites building (1490 Kettner Blvd).
Filling the 4,800 square-foot, two level corner space is Bracero Cocina de Raiz.
The more casual first floor of Bracero will have an outdoor patio and a 60-foot dining bar that will be capped on one end with a "crudo bar" serving oysters, ceviche and other seafood preparations. On the other end of the bar, the tacquero section section of the open kitchen will feature fresh masa turned into tortillas and meats cooked on vertical spits to be shaved into tacos al pastor.
Upstairs, reservations will be required for the slightly more formal glassed-in dining room, which will have a different menu and be powered by a second open kitchen, fueled by Caja China roasters, and another bar dedicated to Mexican craft spirits.
Local firm Jaime Partners (Comun Kitchen and Tavern) is helping to manage the project and tells Eater that Bracero should be open by early April.