Jonathan Gold dropped his most recent review a little early last week, sharing his thoughts on Rocio Camacho’s Tacos & Mezcal on Thursday instead of Friday. The restaurant by the self-proclaimed “Goddess of Mole” opened in the former Corazon y Miel space in Bell, but unlike her other restaurants, mole isn’t really to be found on the menu. Instead, there’s a beautiful assortment of cazuelas:
The concentration at Mezcal & Tacos may be on what the kitchen calls cazuelas, reinterpreted as small cast-iron skillets sloshing with stews of swordfish chunks with tomatoes and poblano chiles, mushrooms with the truffly corn fungus huitlacoche, or chileajo, soft, chile-tinged braised pork shoulder from Camacho’s Oaxaca-state hometown. I liked the cazuela of cactus and onions spiked with fried grasshoppers, which give the stew a certain smokiness and crunch, and the gooey mass of melted cheese with crumbles of chorizo sausage, which are the best things ever to fold into the hot, freshly made tortillas that come alongside. I was perhaps less excited about Camacho’s take on the Yucatecan cochinita pibil, pork roasted with a spice paste, which comes across as underseasoned when you compare it with the classic versions at Chichen Itza or La Flor de Yucatán near USC. [LAT]
However, as the name would intimate, the main attraction is the tacos de guisados filled with braised and stewed meats:
At Tacos & Mezcal, many of the tacos are enormous, piles of chopped steak with guacamole, the creamy sautéed chiles called rajas, or even scrambled eggs, mounded over rice or beans, basically filling enough to serve as meals in themselves, or at least enough to take you through a shot of tequila or two. [LAT]
Although not all of the tacos feel like a perfect hit, the Goldster seems to enjoy his meals well enough, and concludes by recommending the grilled street corn, Octopus in Love, chileajo, nopalitos y chapulines, Milanesa taco, steak and guac taco, tacos de lechon, and churros.