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Jul 24, 2008 04:00 PM

Sazon - Mar Vista

Dommy had originally posted about this place here

As relatively new homeowners in the Westside, we’ve got plenty of excuses to go to B&B hardware. Which also gives us a chance to stop in here for a quick bite.

Claudia the owner is an absolute sweetheart. You can tell she has a lot of pride and love in her food and place. We found out she chose to state fusion latin because she feels everyone has their own take on what’s authentic, whether it be what mom made for them or whatever childhood memories they may have hold. So she makes what she thinks tastes good and that might mean an alteration from traditional ingredients. Certainly the authenticity argument is one that has raged on these boards.

But all that aside, it’s all about the food right? I’m certainly no expert or heavyweight by any means. But I love mom and pop hole in the wall places and I’ll eat just about anything, organ meats, exotic animals, etc, as long as it doesn’t have cilantro. As ling as it tastes good, I'm not worried about authenticity.

We’ve visited a couple of times in the past three weeks and have sampled various dishes. The dishes we’ve had that are different from the usual suspects were: the mofongo, bollilo French toast, pescado tropical, empanadas, flan and bolillo bread pudding.

I chose chicken with the mofongo. A Puerto Rican dish of mashed plantains and garlic, Claudia warned me that I should make sure to scoop some of the mashed plantains to go with the top layer of chicken. Great comfort food, warm thick carbs with tender flavor meat. I’d love this dish when it gets colder.

Pescado tropical, I was expecting something more like a regular breaded fish fillet from the description. Instead it was a churro sized piece of fish that had been breaded and fried in coconut laying on top of a mound of mashed potatoes. The potatoes were surrounded by a pool of green tomatillo sauce. The visual presentation was not something you’d expect from a casual restaurant let alone a converted taqueria. Fish was fried well, moist. The tomatillo sauce was tasty with just the right heat kick and complemented the fish well cutting through the fried taste.

Empanadas, we’ve had a vegetable along with the spinach and cheese. The shell was great. Really light and flaky, almost croissant like and not greasy at all.

Bolillo French toast was not as heavy as regular French toast. Not super eggy. My wife really liked it.

Bolillo bread pudding had cranberries and chocolate in it. I loved this. The cranberries were a nice counterpart to the sweetness of the chocolate.

Flan, if you’re getting dessert, you have to get this. Just a well made flan with all the elements in harmony.

Oh and she occasionally makes a spinach and pineapple juice drink. Yes, it’s green, yes it’s weird sounding, yes, I thought about soylent green when she offered me a taste. But it’s really good.

What really stands out for me in Sazon is the care and pride. The atmosphere and décor is welcoming. The food is all presented very nicely with little touches that separate them from the usual casual restaurant where the food is just placed on the plate.

Sazon may not offer the definitive word on Latin dishes, but it has good to great food at fair prices and homey atmosphere. A great neighborhood restaurant that has a owner with pride and cares deeply. In my book, especially in this day and age, you can’t have too many of these kinds of places and I’m darn glad there’s a place like this in my new neighborhood.

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  1. P. just called me at work (*SWEEEPSS!!*) to alert me to this post. Thanks so much for a great review of the food Jase... so glad Claudia was brave enough to bring mofongo back and I simply MUST try that Fish Dish! :D


    1. ooh, always wanted to try mofongo!

      1. Everything above is 100% correct! Great place and the owner Claudia and her niece were just the best...of course the food too was a great treat. Before we left we were even making decisions as to what the next dish would be that we would try if that doesn't say "repeat visitor" I don't know what does! A must try from appetizers all the way through need to leave the restaurant!

        6 Replies
        1. re: VeniceGal

          Saw this bit of disturbing news. I'm guilty myself of not going there in a good while. Claudia is great and check out her flan for dessert.

          1. re: Feed_me

            Yikes, it doesn't seem like there's hope even if more people go this month. Never had a chance to try it, must try to make a trip before it goes.

            1. re: Feed_me

              I used to go for lunch from time-to-time on weekends but no longer an option. Dinner only now.

              1. re: New Trial

                I was heading south on Centinela on Saturday and noticed the Sazon sign was missing. I checked the website and it sounds like it will be reopening in a new location.

                1. re: Feed_me

                  Yes, I believe it is going to be a new location for the organic Japanese restaurant Shojin. I hope Sazon relocates locally (and brings back lunch) as I liked the place.

                  1. re: Feed_me

                    YAY! Glad to hear she's going to continue... They forced everyone out that shopping center...