This week, Jonathan Gold reviews chefs Jaime Martín del Campo and Ramiro Arvizu's Mexicano, the duo's brother restaurant to La Casita Mexicana located in a Baldwin Hills mall. The somewhat "exaggerated" restaurant fits well in its mall surrounds, and the Goldster notes "you may notice that almost every picture you snap on your smartphone looks as if it were taken in an expensive Cabo resort."
The menu shares many La Casita favorites, just "without some of the touches — grilled cactus paddles, funky fungi, delicate cream soups, super-hot salsa — that might not appeal to non-Mexican palates." There are, however, the beloved La Casita sauces and some truly delicious dishes:
There is a really nice cecina here, perhaps even better than the one at the mother ship — slightly gamy dried beef, marinated, sliced thin and grilled just until the corners of the meat turn up and the edges begin to blacken, perfect for tucking into a warm tortilla with a dab of guacamole and a charred scallion. If you like the beef shank braised with guajillo chiles or the basic, tasty version of the Yucatecan classic cochinita pibil, pork shoulder slow-roasted with achiote paste and bitter orange, you'll find those here too.
And Mexicano, like its predecessor, is renowned for its suave chile en nogada, a fat, roasted chile stuffed with beef, dried fruit and nuts, sauced with sweet, rich cream and sprinkled with crunchy pomegranate seeds — it is often regarded as Mexico's national dish, because the colors represent the Mexican flag. [LAT]
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