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REVIEW w/pics: The Chicken and Pork Tacos Did It For Me at Guisados

pleasurepalate Jun 25, 2011 04:16 PM

As a fan of Ricardo Diaz's Cook's Torta restaurant in Monterey Park, I was really looking forward to when he'd open his new venture called Guisados. For those of you who don't know, a guisado is a type of taco where the filling is stewed or braised and simmered until done, whether it's a filling made with meat or just vegetables.

An interesting thing about Guisados is that they offer a Sampler Plate. On the sampler plate, you get six tortilla chips topped with six different taco fillings. It's Chef's Choice, but what a great way to get 6 small tastes without having to commit to a regular size taco just yet.

My first taste was the Calabacitas which was a filling of zucchini, corn, tomatoes and pepper. It's always good to have a vegetarian option, but I found the flavor to be too bland for me. Next was the Tinga de Pollo or Tinga Chicken. The chicken was stewed with a chorizo based sauce with onions and cabbage and topped with a fresh avocado. I liked how the mildness and coolness of the avocado paired with the slight sweetness and spice of the meat.

Third was the Steak Picado which were skirt steak sauteed with peppers and onion. I didn't find the Steak Picado very memorable, so I don't have anything to say about it. I'm sure if it was bad, I'd remember it. My fourth taste was the Chicaron (Pork Skin). My feelings are actually quite divided regarding the Chicaron. On the one hand, I like the flavor of the salsa verde that the skin was cooked in, but on the other hand, I just couldn't get into the soft texture. Chicaron for me is better eaten crispy and dipped in spicy vinegar.

Next was the Chuleta de Puerco with diced pork, black beans, tomatoes and guacamole. I lved that the pork meat was tender and the earthiness of the beans went well with the sweetness of the guacamole and the juicy bite of the tomatoes. My favorite of all six was the Cochinita Pibil, which is a slow roasted pork in a spicy sauce topped with pickled red onions. If you're looking for heat and a punch of flavor, this is the Guisado to get.

In between bites from my sampler plate, my dining partners and I also shared a Red Snapper Ceviche with tortilla chips and a habenero-based salsa. I wasn't really feeling the ceviche. It needed more citrusy notes or more acidity or something to pop it more.

The sampler plate and ceviche was actually quite filling, but I also wanted to sample actual sized tacos like the Camaron which is a grilled shrimp taco with onions, guacamole and red peppers. Simply prepared, but tasty. Another favorite was the Chicken Mole taco topped with pumpkin seed and other nuts. The mole had nice layers of flavor between bitter, sweet, nutty and smoky. Our final taco of the meal was their Pescado Taco. I wasn't a big fan of the fish itself. It was blackened and although the fish was tender, it also seemed a bit bland even with the addition of the cabbage and chili sauce.

Overall, I enjoyed most of the tacos I had at Guisados, but I can definitely say with certainty that for me, chicken and pork were king when it came to my favorite tacos that day.

2100 E Cesar Chavez Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90033
(323) 264-7201

To see posts with pictures, go to:

Cook's Tortas
1944 S Atlantic Blvd, Monterey Park, CA 91754

2100 E. Cesar E Chavez Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90033

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  1. g
    granadafan RE: pleasurepalate Jun 25, 2011 08:54 PM

    Nice review and the pics on your blog. I work near here and will definitely check it out on the way home.

    1. r
      reality check RE: pleasurepalate Jun 25, 2011 11:08 PM

      What torta have you had to Cook's?

      1 Reply
      1. re: reality check
        pleasurepalate RE: reality check Jun 26, 2011 03:12 PM

        My favorites were the Bacalao with Spanish style cod, roasted red peppers, olives, garlic, parsley and potato and the Pambaso, with the bread dipped in a guajillo chile sauce and ingredients that included chorizo, potato, lettuce and crema, this was easily my favorite of the bunch. :)

      2. ipsedixit RE: pleasurepalate Jun 26, 2011 01:26 PM

        We sampled a terrific ceviche a while back. No chance of the crowds thinning now with all the publicity.

        1. n
          Norm Man RE: pleasurepalate Apr 24, 2012 02:33 PM

          Guisados Deal -- $20 of Foof/Drink for $10


          1. n
            namstermonster RE: pleasurepalate Apr 24, 2012 03:29 PM

            for heat the rajas wins, hands down :) it also happens to be my fave. it's marinated chiles, i think 6-7 diff types. it's spicy and has great flavor as well. i luv guisados!!

            2 Replies
            1. re: namstermonster
              Dommy RE: namstermonster Apr 24, 2012 09:57 PM

              When they have it, their Chorizo is amazing!


              1. re: namstermonster
                JAB RE: namstermonster Apr 25, 2012 07:10 AM

                My fave was the Chuletas en Salsa Verde of the ones that I sampled.

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