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Drinks Great, Tacos Might Be Pricey at Petty Cash

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Photo: Elizabeth Daniels 6/13
Matthew Kang is the Lead Editor of Eater LA. He has covered dining, restaurants, food culture, and nightlife in Los Angeles since 2008. He's the host of K-Town, a YouTube series covering Korean food in America, and has been featured in Netflix's Street Food show.

Petty Cash Taqueria opened earlier this summer to plenty of buzz, with coverage from nearly every media outlet, including the sterling opinion of Jonathan Gold. Chef Walter Manzke's colorful cantina has since exploded with popularity, both from locals and from denizens across the city looking to eat a quality taco and some solid cocktails from Julian Cox. But, there's always going to be some bum Yelper who hates that massive skull mural on the wall. Still, there's plenty of good word on the spirits program looked over by Bill Esparza, along with the great tortillas that can't be found in this part of town. As Manzke's pre-Republique project, the commercial success of Petty Cash is undeniable, but the critics, blogs, Yelps, and Chowhounders have some varying opinions, which are compiled below.

The Word from Jonathan Gold: "The truly cool kids will order the off-menu tacos with toasted crickets and the minty herb hoja santa. The hedonists will just order multiples of the tacos al pastor, made with crunchy nubs of marinated pork shoulder and pineapple cooked on a spit behind the bar and as much tequila as it takes to make it a party." [LAT]

The Guac News: "Fresh Guacamole, really good, not too salty, big creamy chunks of avocado" [Chowhound]

The Zagat News: "Why this is one of the best: Manzke's making his own Clamato juice, which is just dynamite (we were caught sipping it from our spoons), and he's using a spicy wild Sonoran chiltepin pepper. You pick your own seafood, including kanpach, kumamoto oysters, live Santa Barbara spot prawn or sea urchin, octopus and white Gulf prawns, and a big, heavy molcajete comes to the table brimming with all of it...Simply incredible, as were a lot of other things we tasted." [Zagat]

The Octopus Taco News: "Don't think twice - octopus tacos...Grilled Octopus Tacos!...Octopus tacos - So good!...Octopus tacos are a must have..." [Foursquare]

The Pig Ear Nachos News: "No, this is not just the name of a cover band that exclusively covers Tom and Johnny...The chef, who's making grown-man Mexican food, assuming grown men like these fried-pig-ear nachos topped with a runny egg. (NOTE: They do.)" [Thrillist]

The Ambiance/Music News: "The Scorpions' "Rock You Like a Hurricane" blasts overhead as you sit elbow-to-elbow at a communal picnic table, surrounded by walls emblazoned with red, white and green graffiti artwork. You haven't stumbled into a circa-1980 Tijuana watering hole." [Tasting Table]

The Rubbed-The-Wrong-Way News: "The food I ate at Petty Cash was good. Not exceptional, but good. That is about the best thing I have to say about this place. Here is my caveat, up front. This place rubbed me the wrong way from the jump. I wanted to punch the whole building in the neck by the time I left. But maybe you will love the joint ...Maybe you will love the Mister Cartoon style graffiti skull staring at you from one massive wall as if to say '2009 is not over, homie!' Maybe you will love the over the overall ambiance because you have always wanted the feeling of being really close to the date-rapey crowds at the Hermosa Pier without that pesky drive to the South Bay." [Yelp]

The Mezcal News: "Most of all, what Cox and the team behind the mezcal program hope for is a sort of time-traveling journey for the taste buds. Theirs may not be the most extensive selection, but it is likely to be the most thoughtfully -- even spiritually -- orchestrated." [LAW]

The Over-Priced Taco News: "Overpriced tacos should be a crime in Los Angeles... after a few weeks of being open with decent prices, this restaurant raised their prices significantly. It used to be 3 tacos for $11 and now it's like 5 bucks or more for one taco. The tacos are fine, not particularly amazing...the octopus was enticing, but ultimately not interesting." [Yelp]

The Booze (and Boys) News: "We ended up getting the other one and some tacos - all decent food nothing like OMGpantsshitting but def something to eat again if you are in the neighborhood. THE DRIIINNNKKKSSSS however were out of this world. Tried both of their margs and they were both fantastic and spicy with a kick. I got the one with gin and it came with a flaming shot which I was pretty excited about since it was my first drink on fire and any first for me in a drinking situation is something to be excited over. The staff is really friendly and attractive. If I was rating on booze and boys alone I'd give it a 5." [Yelp]

The Vegetarian News: "So as a vegetarian you're still able to keep up with your meat-eating friends pretty much course by course. However, there may be moments when you have to fill in the downtime with chips as the meat dishes still out-number your options. Bonus going with meat eaters, though, is that you pretty much get your dishes to yourself." [Caroline on Crack]

The Authenticity News: "Some may decry PettyCash as not being authentic, but that's sort of missing the point. It was never Manzke's or anyone else's goal to be truly authentic. It's more like Mexican-inspired, with varying degrees of inspiration depending on the dish, and in fact, I think the kitchen's at its best and most intriguing when they wander a bit further away from strict Mexican sensibilities. That "improvisation" is what I liked the most about the place, and I'd love to see further exploration of that arena (as well as reservations!)." [KevinEats]
·All Petty Cash Coverage [~ELA~]

Petty Cash Taqueria

7360 Beverly Boulevard, , CA 90036 (323) 933-5300 Visit Website

Petty Cash Taqueria

7360 Beverly Boulevard Los Angeles, CA