Photos by Elizabeth Daniels
Plant-based Mexi-Cali eatery Gracias Madre, which opens today at 11 a.m., is less polarizing than its sister set of California raw vegan restaurants, Cafe Gratitude. Your server will not ask you if you'd like to hear the question of the day, and when you see a dish labeled an enchilada, you will, in fact, receive a meatless enchilada and not some raw construct that, while tasty, will never entirely live up to your cooked expectations. There are fewer bones to pick here, and more reasons to rejoice. Unless you are a raw foodist, of course. For one, food is vegan and cooked, not raw. A full bar expands from Cafe Gratitude's natural beer and wine program to seasonal cocktails centered on tequila and mezcal by former Drago Centro barman Jason Eisner.
The menu, by chef Chandra Gilbert, is familiar but not fusty, and dishes like the Mexican Caesar, and Brussels sprouts and caramelized onions baked in cashew cheese sound curious. Prices, like Cafe Gratitude, are not cheap, but are also not steep enough to really complain about. And ingredients here are seasonal and organic, so that's obviously factored into cost.
Gracias Madre seats 100 diners inside and an additional 130 on the restaurant's patio, which is lined with 80-year-old olive trees. Hours of operation run daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
· All Gracias Madre Coverage [~ELA~]