This week, LA Weekly critic Besha Rodell reviews Tallula’s, the new restaurant by the Rustic Canyon Group’s Josh Loeb and Zoe Nathan on the border of Santa Monica and the Palisades that feels like “going to another world.” The restaurant has been plagued by oddly low Yelp reviews since opening — for a while the aggregate star review was two stars. Rodell attempts to make some sense of the current three-star standing by unpacking the restaurant’s identity crisis.
Tallula’s was once an old Tex-Mex restaurant, Marix, and still “screams ‘cantina’, the type of cheese-drenched, combo-special-having place that we all know and some of us love.” However, upscale versions of cantina dishes end up leaving diners bewildered:
For instance: There are nachos. But they're constructed with house-made chips and come drizzled with buttermilk cream and scattered with spicy pickled vegetables, as well as melted cotija and Oaxaca cheeses. They are neither as gloppy nor as tawdry as the nachos most people (and their children) are used to, but they also aren't obviously fancy. They're a little ... confusing. [LAW]
That’s not to say the food isn’t delicious, as the Weekly critic sings the praises of a squid, eggplant, and nectarine dish that’s “an outrageous combination of texture and flavor and ocean and land and orchard,” albeit not exactly being what most people “looking for a dumbed-down meal of melty cheese” would want.
Besha concludes with some daunting words for the new restaurant:
But if this is a neighborhood restaurant, it might be in the wrong neighborhood. And if it's a destination, Tallula's will be a test for whether this lovely little precipice — which is awfully close but feels like another world — can sustain such a thing. [LAW]
Like its Yelp reviews, Tallula’s scores two stars.