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Apr 18, 2009 07:58 AM

Loteria Grill Hollywood: review con pics

Loteria Grill
6627 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 465-2500

D started with the tortilla soup. Eater beware. This is the most filling tortilla soup ever created, served in a gigantic bowl. It tastes to me like the tortillas are pureed into the broth, making it very thick and hearty. With queso fresco, tortilla strips, generous avocado and sun dried tomato bits all floating on top, this is an incredibly flavorful soup. But it is a meal. D, the bottomless pit, could barely touch anything else we ordered and we took a long walk down Hollywood to settle his overly full tummy.

First, I wanted the taco sampler. All 12 of their tacos served on silver dollar sized tortillas. One bite for most people, two for me. How fun is this? I will start with the vegetable tacos. Nopalitos. Fresh cactus salad with salsa verde and queso fresco. This was nice, but I would like to try a regular size one. I felt there was not enough nopale in to really get that slightly bitter flavor to pop. The calabacitas taco, with zucchini, roasted corn, salsa verde and queso fresco. This was a nice fresh bite or two. Nice flavor with the corn succotash. I love roasted corn. The champinones taco, with mushrooms and epazote, onions, cilantro and queso fesco. This was one of my favorites because I am a fungus whore. I didn't taste anything except mushroom, onion and cheese in this taco. I imagine with epazote I just don't know what flavor my mouth is looking for. This issue certainly deserves further first person research. This one I loved. Papa con rajas, supposedly potato with roasted poblano pepper, the queso and salsa. There was no potato on this. However, the wet velvety texture of the pepper was delicioso. I got two simple flavors here, the pepper and the cheese and it was good.

Going in order of the menu, I will address the chicken tacos next. Three choices here, the first being chicken in mole poblano. D ate this one and I am still pissed about it. I love mole. He doesn't. But since it is only one bite, there is no looking back or swapping plates. El sigh. I got to eat this one. The tinga de pollo. Chicken stewed with chipotle peppers, a little chorizo and salsa roja de chipotle. The flavors of this one were immense. Definitely worth revisiting.

I am missing a taco in my pictures. I get distracted by chile rellenos, margaritas and shiny objects. I am missing the pollo en pipian, chicken with a spicy pumpkin seed sauce and finely chopped onions. If you look at the pic with all these tacos, I believe it is the taco at 2 o'clock. I didn't get to eat it either. I am also a little confused because it looks like there is something green on that taco, so maybe the kitchen mixed things up while constructing the plata.

Beef tacos. Beef, good. Guacamole, good. Onion and cilantro, both good. In miniature taco, good. Albondigas taco. D scooped this up before I could say "Boo!" to a ghost.

Tacos de puerco. This had a really nice flavor as well. Cochinita pibil. It was really the pickled red onion that stood out and the habanero spiciness, all stood up nicely to the rich stewed porkiness. I am also having issues with my chicharone taco in salsa verde. Maybe that is the taco at 2 o'clock. Looking back at my photos and comparing them to the menu, a couple of these tacos don't add up and there is definitely something missing from my photo collection. I don't think I ate that one either, anyway. This one was really good, though. Carnitas in sauce morita, clearly with a huge slice of avocado. The silkiness of the avo with the spiciness of the smoked red jalapeno, a great combo.

Ever since we ate at Yxta when I did not order the chile rellenos in favor of ordering the cheese stuffed squash blossoms, I have been craving chile rellenos. These came in a dissimilar pairing. To the right of the photo is picadillo, with beef, raisins, tomatoes, peppers and whatever else they threw in. This could be its own dish. It was that tasty. I can see it with some rice, tortillas, crema can dream.

First chile. An ancho chile filled with black beans, goat cheese and chorizo. The filling was amazing spicy starchiness. Not a lot of chorizo, which is fine by me because sometimes chorizo is a little intense, overpowering other flavors. This was nicely balanced. I took pics of the filling, but it just didn't look that nice. You will have to trust me that this tasted good. It was the better of the two, in my opinion, largely due to the smokiness of the ancho chile.

And the second was the chile poblano. This was ingeniously filled with something surprising, plantains and queso fresco. I might have paired the plantains with asadero, traditionally used for chile rellenos, which mimics slightly a simple jack cheese. It was good though, and I enjoyed the surprising flavors.

All in all, there were a lot of hits at Loteria, simply from this small sampling of their menu. There were not true misfires, aside from the pokeyness of the service. I cannot wait to go again and try some different things from the inspired menu.

review with pics here:

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  1. Nice review. I didn't think the chile rellenos quite worked, and I agree they are difficult to photograph! However I am still thinking about the wonderful spicy shrimp tacos. I liked the atmosphere at Loteria much better than Yxta, although those stuffed squash blossoms were quite good.

    1. I have only been to Loteria once, and the one at the FM, but I was unimpressed; maybe I should give them another shot? I only ordered tacos (I believe the cochinita pibil, shredded beef and the tinga), but they all seemed overly salty and I thought they were ridiculously priced for the size. Though looking at some of your pictures makes me want to try some of their different tacos.

      1 Reply
      1. re: mdpilam

        this was my first time too, and none of them seemed salty. it was fun to try them all...I want to go back and do a more focused exploration.

      2. Wow! Great review. I love how you reviewed each of the mini tacos!

        And the chile relleno looks exceptional

        How is the parking?

        4 Replies
        1. re: SilverlakeGirl

          hollywood parking suckage by day. i i am guessing they share a valet with geisha house by night, but that is pure conjecture.

          1. re: lotta_cox

            There is a valet at night. In the daytime there is actually non-metered parking on the block one block north of Hollywood Blvd. if there are any spaces available.

            1. re: Chowpatty

              I think you're thinking of our street, Cherokee, which virtually never has anything resembling an open legal parking space and lots of towing going on quite frequently. We generally urge friends to save themselves the angst and use the city lot just before Yucca, which is (I think) $2/hr and max of $8 for 24hr (don't know for certain ... we do monthly).

              Glad to read this review and see the drool-inducing photos. We've been threatening to try Lotería since moving to the neighborhood ages ago and have never quite gotten around to it. Now, it's definitely on the schedule!

              1. re: mangetoutoc

                The price is right, the drinks are delicious, and it is right by your house!! Get in there!

        2. Great review, and great photos. Thanks for sharing.

          1. Tacos con lengua were authentic and incredibly tasty. The shrimp tacos were out of control. Ask for the really spicy green sauce. Outstanding.