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SaMo - Super Seafood Taco's @ Tacos Punta Cabras

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Wow-wee!!!!!!

Was I ever more surprised than yesterday, when I had super fresh, lightly battered and fried, seafood tacos @ Tacos Punta Cabras? Maybe not.

It is currently without even a sign on a very non-descript, parking-challenged stretch of SaMo Blvd - #2311 - between Cloverfield and 23rd.

Handmade and pressed tortillas -check.

Nice variety of tasty (and HOT) homemade salsas - check (but not what anyone would call trad. - just darn good).

Zasty homemade slaw - check.

They also have tostadas and coctels. All seafood and tofu.

Some may scoff at $3.50/taco - but I won't.

Going back today!

Thanks goes to EaterLA for the discovery!

http://la.eater.com/archives/2013/02/...

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  1. OMG... they have soyviche... II can't wait to go...

    --Dommy!

    18 Replies
    1. re: Dommy

      soyveich ??? That's not like soyrizo is it ?

      1. re: Dommy

        Where do you see mention of "soyviche"? Just curious.

        Wooh, one of the anonymous commenters on Eater compared their tostadas to La Guerrerense and their fish tacos to El Fenix, both in Ensenada. I tried them back in September when I stopped there on a cruise, and if true, I am very excited about this place! Must go mañana, I think. :-)

        1. re: PeterCC

          Just scroll down to the photo of their blackboard menu and you'll see it listed: http://losangeles.grubstreet.com/2013...

          1. re: Servorg

            I still don't see "soyviche" listed in any of the photos. I see "Tofu" listed under "Taco" and under "Coctele" on the blackboard.

            Am I just blind or am I being too literal? I was wondering if the restaurant actually used the term "soyviche" on their menu, but perhap that was just Dommy's tongue-in-cheek way of referring to the tofu coctele?

            1. re: PeterCC

              "...but perhap that was just Dommy's tongue-in-cheek way of referring to the tofu coctele?"

              Yes

              1. re: Servorg

                Yeah, I didn't see it on the menu either.

              2. re: PeterCC

                I didn't see it either when I just tried it out. My bad.

                Don't beat up the fucking messenger. :)

                Anyhow, it's not half bad. Though I'm not sure the tacos are exceptional and I still have yet to try the highly lauded, prestigious, infamous Ricky's in Silverlake. (Though I do really like the best fish tacos in ensenada on Hillhurst). And yes, at $3.50 each, and these are regular sized (i.e. pretty small) tacos, in my opinion, they are still expensive.

                Also, just a note there is no sign on the outside, except for the old coffee house (????) sign touting UTOPIA, i guess some will feel that these tacos would take them to a utopian vision of society.

                So anyhow, if this was my main lunch, I would probably need around 4 tacos plus a soda, for a grand total of over $16 bucks.

                But anyhow, I already had the infamous pastrami poutine fries at plan check which were not half bad, i will try them again, but that was also a tiny size (it seems these days, tiny foods are trying to be too quite by half).

                1. re: kevin

                  What's with all the f-bombs on CH nowadays? :-)

                  Ricky's is just a few blocks away from Best Fish Tacos in Ensenada, and at least in my family, Ricky's is much better.

                  Gonna try to get to this place before they close today. Will report back.

                2. re: PeterCC

                  Sorry! Yes, Soyviche is just a term my Mexican Vegan (Yes, they do exist) use for tofu cocteles, a staple in many of their diets... When done right, it's actually REALLY good....

                  --Dommy!

                  1. re: Dommy

                    if you ever find a local place that serves soyviche, please post.
                    (i will even drive east of the 405 to pursue it.)

                    1. re: westsidegal

                      I will! I've been keeping my eye on it... the Mariscos business in L.A. is still remarkably macho... but with these wonderful second generation taco stands opening up, I hold out hope. I even mentioned it to the Dorados guys...we'll see if it ever shows up at the ceviche restaurant....

                      Glad to hear the Tofu cocktail at TPC was good though! :) Going to try to make it down this week! :D

                      --Dommy!

                      1. re: Dommy

                        Went back tonight. Did not have the tofu cocktail, but the tofu tacos were excellent.

                        1. re: PeterCC

                          Pineapple Habenero Salsa, Yeah, baby

                          Now that's the stuff.

                          1. re: kevin

                            I like it, too!
                            This begins with a pineapple sweetness that leads me to believe it is going to be benignly fruity...and then the habanero kick!

                            1. re: liu

                              The sweetness from the pineapple saves one from a usually quintessential mouth-searing ma la.

                              Anyhow, I had forgot that by my fourth visit that Punta Cabras really hit its stride for me.

                              That salsa is a paragon of virtue or is it perfection ?

                              1. re: liu

                                My only qualms would have to be the price at about $20 for four tacos and a soda.

                                1. re: kevin

                                  My only qualm is that I didn't have ANOTHER mixed seafood coctele...so refreshing!

                                  I "gotta-get-it-outta-my-dreams," so I will be back soon!

                                  1. re: liu

                                    And they were out of the cauliflower tostada the other day.

                                    The cashew salsa is like the delicious peanut butter of my dreams.

                                    Nuff said. And return visit is in order.

                                    Now if they only added some beers and margaritas and micheladas to the aforementioned mixtos.

            2. Sounds good, I;ll check it out too. Yes, 3.50 a taco does sound pricey.

              2 Replies
              1. re: kevin

                with the world-wide price of good fish skyrocketing, it no longer sounds pricey to me.

                1. re: westsidegal

                  Ricky's charges $3/taco (though my wife picked one up the other day and was charged "only" $2.75), but the portions of fish in their tacos are definitely chunkier than some of the other place we've tried.

                  So we'll gladly pay $3.50 to not have to travel, if this place is good. I'm really hoping it can come closer to Ricky's than ROC Kitchen did to Ding Tai Fung (still worth the trek SGV for xiao long bao).

              2. Hey Bob!

                My older daughter i completely hooked on Ricky's Fish Tacos! We tried "Best Fish Tacos in Ensenada" just up the street and she was not impressed. How does this place compare to Ricky'?

                17 Replies
                1. re: PeterCC

                  Hi Peter - I like all three.
                  At the moment, here's how I would break it down: I would put put Tacos Punta Cabras above BFTE and probably tie it with RFT.

                  Both use very fresh fish and oil. I do not recall any handmade tortillas at RFT/BFTE and the cauliflower tostada I had on Friday at TPC was TRULY OUTSTANDING! So that variety, as well as the coctels push it up a notch. I also think the salsas are more interesting at TPC. But it is not cheap for what it is, and RFT has other variables that are nice (greater fish variety -- lobster sometimes).

                  I will be very surprised if you do not love it, Peter.

                  1. re: Ciao Bob

                    Thanks Bob, I'm heading there right now! :-)

                    1. re: PeterCC

                      Yeah, budddy. Might I recommend the fish and shrimp tacos and then add a ceviche and cocktel to it too. That way you get to try everything.

                      1. re: kevin

                        Are you channelling Pauly Shore? ;-)

                        Had the tacos de pescado and the coctele mixto. Quite good. Getting to-go a scallop taco... and the cauliflower tostada per your rec.

                         
                         
                    2. re: Ciao Bob

                      Oops, the rec for the cauliflower tostada was from you, not kevin. It was good, but for some reason I was under the impression the cauliflower would be cooked. Since it was raw, I didn't think it added too much in flavor (did add a crunchy texture) to the standard tostada fixins, which were very good.

                      I was amazed though at how light the batter was for the fish taco. The fish itself was a little too tender, and without a substantive batter to fall back on, I felt that the fish actually got kinda lost. Not that I'm advocating for heavy batter, just for firmer fish. The toppings, salsa (cashew!), tortilla were all excellent. I'll definitely go back!

                      Was the fish pretty firm or kinda soft when you had it? Anyone else who's been, please jump in.

                      1. re: PeterCC

                        Yeah, you are correct, the fish was ultra-soift and the batter was whisper thin. Oh, shit, I missed out on the fucking salsa with cashews in it, it really had cashews in it ? I've never experienced that before.

                        I think your sentiments are roughly aligned with my on the fish taco. So in a nutshell, can you describe Ricky's fish taco ? For some reason, I never make it to silverlake while he's there.

                        And also, I'm pretty much a fan of the best fish tacos in ensenada, and I still think the fish tacos at Tacos Baja Ensenda in East LA on Whittier Blvd is really really really great. And cheap, at 1.50 or possibly even less per pop, and on wesdnesdays they are roughly 99 cents each.

                        1. re: kevin

                          The cashew salsa was more like chunky cashew butter with some spices (cilantro and chiles, I presume) than what most people would imagine salsa with some cashews in it being.

                          Ricky's tacos contain larger chunks of fish compared to Best Fish Tacos in Ensenada (think chicken nuggets vs. popcorn chicken in size). Since the pieces are larger, I preferred the fish-to-batter ratio at RFT, though of course neither's batter were as thin and light as at TPC.

                          The fish at RFT also tasted fresher and lighter compared to BFTE, but that may just have been the fry time or maybe old oil at BFTE, as their fish came out much darker and more oily than at RFT.

                          Of the three, RFT reminded me most of the fish tacos that I had in Ensenada (from Los Originales Tacos de Pescado de Ensenada and from Tacos Mi Ranchito El Fenix). Tacos Baja Ensenada is on my to-try list to compare to all these other places.

                          I do enjoy the super-light batter at TPC. If they used a firmer fish, it would be near-perfect. The scallop taco that I had to-go was definitely much better for the fish IMO, as the scallops were plump and substantive. I assume I'd prefer the shrimp over the fish there for the same reason.

                          1. re: PeterCC

                            The shrimp also had a definitely light better.

                            1. re: PeterCC

                              Agree about the oil at BFTE not being the best.
                              I was told by a frequent luncher at TPC that they have plans to expand beyond their current space - and beyond seafood - but on the same block. Los Carnes y Los Pescadoes!

                            2. re: kevin

                              AND Tacos Baja Ensenada in East LA has those peppers in oil at their bar...YUMMMM!
                              AND they have a wonderful ceviche!
                              AND I agree with you, Kevin. Their fish tacos are amazingly good!

                              The tacos at Tacos Punta Cabras are a little lighter, more delicate and more gourmet. TBE is a meal; TPC is a snack. But I did love their coctel!

                              1. re: liu

                                Yeah, TBE, I once went to and had the ceviche there, four fish tacos and a huge, biggie horchata, my bad, correction, tamarindo (whenever they gots taramindo at a joint, i have to order it over the horchata).

                                1. re: kevin

                                  Kevin, nothing trumps horchata for me!

                                  Speaking of drinks: I had the hibiscus drink at Tacos Punta Cabras; our server promised something special. I did not care for it, but I generally do not like hibiscus "teas." Perhaps someone else who has tasted this version can let us know if it is "special" as our server described it. I did not see horchata offered at Tacos Punta Cabras.

                                  1. re: liu

                                    I haven't come across an agua de jamaica that I've loved, but I've had some that I've liked. If they have it next time I go, I'll order it and see whether I like it or not.

                                    When I went this afternoon, they only had agua de tamarindo (not counting the bottled drinks), and I have to say it was pretty good. Tasted like a mildly-fermented tart pear juice.

                                    1. re: liu

                                      I'll order both next time I'm there and do a taste test.

                                      1. re: liu

                                        Hibiscus is the same as jamaica, right ? (not to be confused with the country.)

                                        If so, i love that too.

                                        but recently i had an exceptional watermelon agua fresca, and i've been dreaming about it ever since.

                                        btw, i forgot to check the hours but they are early right, about 6pm closing time ???

                                        1. re: kevin

                                          Kevin, they do not open until 11:00am and close at 8:00pm, M-Sat.

                                          1. re: kevin

                                            TPC's hours are actually a bit bit more expansive. They're shooting for an 8 PM closure each night (closed Sunday), but they do occasionally sell out of fish, as they did Saturday afternoon at 3 PM according to their Twitter feed. I don't know if that means they close or if they then just sell the shrimp, scallop, tofu tacos and the cocteles.

                                            Yes, agua de jamaica is the same as hibiscus tea. I think I'd like horchata except for the cinnamon, which I love in snickerdoodles but not so much in my drinks. Oh well.

                                            Where did you have the exception agua de sandia? That is probably my favorite kind of agua fresca. I usually get it at Tacos Por Favor because they always carry it, rather than rotating flavors as some restaurants do.

                                            Tender Greens actually has a very clean (dare I say Americanized) watermelon agua fresca that I quite enjoy, but they do rotate their flavors (I had a pineapple-orange agua fresca there the other day that was pretty good too).

                            3. Ciao Bob...great find -- and thanks!

                              We were there yesterday for lunch when they opened at 11:00am. It was 80!!! degrees in Santa Monica yesterday, so we sat outside. The inside is not very spacious nor pleasant, so the outside seating was preferred. A couple of the guys came out to talk with us; at least one of them was an owner.

                              The shrimp taco was terrific; the shrimp were lightly tempura'd and tasty. The mixed seafood coctel was perfectly refreshing. The broth was light and the seafood was very fresh.

                              The place is not pretty, but I love the food. It did not weigh on my stomach as fried food might, and we were quite satisfied with one taco and one coctel each.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: liu

                                Great liu - so glad you enjoyed it! I can now highly recommend the cauliflower tostada.

                                1. re: Ciao Bob

                                  Oh, you can be sure that I will return to Tacos Punta Cabras!
                                  Thanks, Ciao Bob!

                              2. Wow, can't wait to try. Just a heads up, on twitter they said they ran of out fish after noon today. Might check it out early tomorrow.

                                https://twitter.com/TacoPuntaCabras

                                1. went there tonight.

                                  DEEEELISH!

                                  a great find.
                                  thank you Ciao Bob!

                                  16 Replies
                                  1. re: westsidegal

                                    If you ordered the fish tacos, how was the texture of the fish?

                                    1. re: westsidegal

                                      coming from Wg, that's a rousing endorsement.

                                      btw, what did you have here ?

                                      no one has really talked about the tofu cocktail or ceviche, have you tried that one ?

                                      1. re: kevin

                                        there was no tofu ceviche, just the tofu cocktail which was delicious.
                                        also had the shrimp tostada, and the tofu taco.
                                        all were excellent.

                                        by the time we arrived, they had run out of scallop.
                                        i view that as an excellent sign.
                                        fish is so perishable.
                                        i'm much rather they run out than give me fish past it's prime.

                                        AND, it was practically a straight shot north on walgrove.
                                        was able to actually get there at rush hour without any grinding of teeth.

                                        the guys working there were really nice too, and really cared about their customers.

                                        my daughter and i polished off 8 items.
                                        dunno if we are pigs or if some of the other reports came from folks with more self control.

                                        the salsas were also top-flight.

                                        1. re: westsidegal

                                          No, you're not pigs.

                                          In my opinion, the portions are pretty small and the food is light especially in light of the ultra-thin batter on the fish and shrimp.

                                          1. re: kevin

                                            the "light" part, to me, is a major positive.
                                            when i eat fish, i want to taste the fish.
                                            the flavor of fried batter is pretty easy and cheap to come by.
                                            not necessary to spend much time or money to pursue the taste of fried batter.
                                            (this view might be a result of my upbringing. my mom didn't own a deep fat fryer. the only deep fat fried things i ever ate growing up were french fries at the local luncheonette, and those were only really to provide some scaffolding for the copious amounts of Heinz Ketchup that covered them.)

                                          2. re: westsidegal

                                            Our family of four this evening polished off 6 tacos (1 fish, 2 scallops, 2 shrimp, 1 tofu), 1 coctel mixto, 2 tostadas (1 shrimp, 1 scallop), and then ordered 2 more tacos (1 fish, 1 scallop) to top off our stomachs. :-)

                                            1. re: PeterCC

                                              Oh, YUMM! PeterCC, you did a lot of damage!

                                              It's that mixed seafood coctel that I am craving! It was so refreshing. I can imagine that in the middle of July with several squirts of hot sauce!

                                              1. re: liu

                                                That coctel was pretty great. They threw some cucumber into it tonight too, which I didn't remember having in the one from yesterday, and that made it even more refreshing!

                                              2. re: PeterCC

                                                Damn, twice in 24 hours ?, I'm proud of you.

                                                You guys didn't eat enough though, that would be enough food for two people.

                                                Next, time, I'll do three tacos, a coctel, and a ceviche, and then maybe one more taco.

                                                1. re: kevin

                                                  LOL Kevin, I was pretty stuffed. :-)

                                          3. re: westsidegal

                                            Glad to hear so many happy chowhounds, no doubt TPC fills a niche for the area. I think most encouraging is the excellent - if not perfect - performance so early on, and the care and openess to ideas the owners/chefs have expressed.

                                            Interesting points about the firmness of the fish vs scallop/shrimp. I too found the fish mushier than either the of the shellfish, but not unpleasantly so. Ricky's pieces are surely bigger.

                                            I LOVED the raw cauliflower - reminded me of a Mexican version of Italian ensalada carciofi.

                                            1. re: Ciao Bob

                                              Thank you!! I went today. Had a coctele mixta and a shrimp taco. The coctele was super fresh and delicious. The shrimp taco was perfectly cooked, lightly battered with a delicious, vinegary slaw in a homemade corn tortilla. Great salsas, especially the lemon habanero. I really hope these guys do well.

                                              1. re: budlit

                                                Hi, budlit. You had the same meal that I did and I agree with everything you have said.

                                                We were served a few different "salsas," including the lemon habanero; we poured some of all of them on the shrimp taco for a burst of heat! The lemon was probably the best, though, with the shrimp.

                                                1. re: budlit

                                                  Not to derail, but how does one determine the gender of the seafood cocktail? I've seen it written "coctel mixto" and you used "coctele mixta". Just curious. :-)

                                                  1. re: PeterCC

                                                    Very funny, PeterCC...but I do believe that coctel is masculine as in "el coctel." The plural then is "los cocteles." Therefore, all the modifiers/adjectives will be masculine, many ending in "o."

                                                    1. re: liu

                                                      Well that's my point, that I've seen it written "coctele" including on the board at TPC (check the photo on the Eater page Ciao Bob links to. And I was replying to budlit who said "coctele mixta".

                                            2. Had two fish tacos today for lunch and here are my first impressions:
                                              Their house tortilla was soft, light and so different from the tortillas that RFT, TBFTE or TBE use. I almost thought that, perhaps, two tortillas would hold the fish and slaw better. Having said that, I am happy with one.
                                              The Cod was battered and fried very well. As previously and accurately described, it was very light and not fishy at all. Would I have wanted a larger piece of fish? Absolutely.
                                              I would definitely go back just to establish my second impression ;-) and, honestly, just to try the rest of their menu. The more I read about this place here , the more I want to go.

                                              1. Completely agree that the fish taco is solid but that I'd like a little more taste to the fish -- the tortilla and slaw were amazing and so was the batter with just a light crunch.

                                                I think the shrimp taco and shrimp tostada were standouts. The shrimp taco b/c the meat has a good flavor to add into the already delish mix of the tortilla and slaw, and the tostada has such a great tang. I could eat a whole plate of those pickled cucumbers.

                                                And who doesn't love freshly tortilla chips in a sack?

                                                 
                                                 
                                                1. I wanted to love it... So.So.So Much... sadly it didn't make me swoon like Ricky's or TBE....

                                                  I ordered the Fish and Scallop Taco... I got a Scallop and Shrimp Taco... It appeared they were doing this quite a bit (A couple of folks went back up to correct orders and try to find missing items)... I was in a hurry so I went ahead and just ate them before they got even more soggy...

                                                  The batter is thin, VERY tempura like. Like it it doesn't seem to have any salt and has that slight foamy taste. Not terrible, but also the tacos REALLY need salsa for taste...

                                                  The Scallops were those little bay scallops.. due to the thin batter, they kinda tasted slimy... I much prefer the scallop tacos at Ana Marias with their corn meal batter.

                                                  The Shrimp taco was quite the deal... three large shrimp. But again, without much flavor in the batter.... the shrimp had no real flavor. This time I realized why the texture was kinda slimy (Aside from the sogging batter), but the batter is thin and light, they don't seem to be frying it for very long. Which leaves the shrimp kinda wet...

                                                  I also got a Tofu Coctel to go. This was NOT soyviche... Soyviche gets all the nice flavor of the chiles, lime, cilantro, onion into the tofu. Instead it seemed like coctel base with ultra firm tofu cubes dropped in. The coctel base was good though, it seemed a mixture of traditional mexican coctel base (ketchup like) with something like Worcester. Again, good... but nothing that makes me want to lick the bowl like the coctel at Coni's...

                                                  I understand they are trying to do their own thing and I'm still very happy they are there (especially since it so close to our VW dealer) but if I really want to travel for fish tacos... I'll just keep on praying that Rickys finds a new home soon...

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: Dommy

                                                    I'm with you on this. I wanted to like it more.

                                                    But I did like it. And I will be back.

                                                    Had the same experience with the scallops - something went mushy in the taco - did the dressing take the crisp out of the batter? That what I thought, but I was with a friend and we were talking more than focusing on what was right or wrong with the food.

                                                    But I did like it. The mixto ceviche was pretty good too.

                                                    A week before - my Wednesday lunch buddy and I had a conversation about how one might (or if one could) open a restaurant on the cheap. We have friends who spend millions opening these places and we wonder if you could do it for $50k. And this is a good example of what could be done on the slim nickel.

                                                  2. Meh... just tried this place and was not impressed. Tacos are not that large once you peel away the slaw. I get full on 2 Ricky's fish tacos. I had 2 fish & 1 shrimp here and I'm still hungry and out 11 bucks. I detected fish sauce on the slaw which detracted from the fish flavor. Also was not impressed with the tortillas. They looked hand-made for sure but didn't have any toothsomeness and just sort of disintegrated. Also, the tempura batter was not sturdy enough to stand up to the slaw so by the second taco, it had become soggy throughout except for the 2 outermost ends. The fish pieces were pretty small. Ricky uses bigger ~5" tortillas and the fish often sticks out. These were ~4" tacos with the fish demurely tucked in. I would guess you really only get about 1/2 of the fish you get from Ricky.

                                                    It's a 3 minute walk from my office so I'll probably eat there now & then but overall not sold on it.

                                                    Now, I need a snack to get me through the rest of the day.

                                                    21 Replies
                                                    1. re: soniabegonia

                                                      You need to speak of Ricky's tacos in the past tense (at least for now).

                                                      1. re: Servorg

                                                        yes, i'm aware of the recent developments. i'm assuming (hoping) he sets up shop somewhere else.

                                                        1. re: soniabegonia

                                                          If you like seafood tostadas, I would recommend trying them but without the cashew salsa if one's allergic.

                                                      2. re: soniabegonia

                                                        fwiw,
                                                        for my daughter and i to feel full took just short of $20/pp all in (including tips and beverages and taxes).
                                                        maybe we're pigs.

                                                        1. re: westsidegal

                                                          I've spent closer to $20 for my meals there too - no regrets.

                                                          1. re: chrishei

                                                            Me three. On four tacos and a soda. Not including the ceviche, tostadas, or any special dishes.

                                                            And if I wanted to eat to get full I would probably need more than a handful of tacos and a ceviche and tostada, which would amount to about $40 for me alone.

                                                            Not cheap, but the quality is there.

                                                            But something else bugs me with their already high prices why charge 25 cents or 50 cents for a miniscule cup of salsa. That makes no sense to me.

                                                            1. re: kevin

                                                              "...why charge 25 cents or 50 cents for a miniscule cup of salsa."

                                                              I would guess that they have found that it keeps folks, who aren't going to use as much salsa as they think they will, and consequently end up tossing it out, from taking the extra salsa because it "costs" them something to get it.

                                                              1. re: Servorg

                                                                that sort of nickel and diming irritates me.
                                                                they didn't charge us extra when we were there, but then again, we ordered 7 items for 2 people.

                                                                1. re: westsidegal

                                                                  I've actually never seen it enforced when I'm there - I've gotten a few extra containers without asking even.

                                                                  1. re: westsidegal

                                                                    That also irritates me as a policy. But every time I've been to TPC they give me too much salsa with my order. That's primarily because they give me one of nearly every salsa they have made that day. If anyone needs more after that, I think a small charge is quite fair.

                                                                    These guys are still figuring our how to keep the place running smoothly. They have great food and earnest service. They have ironed out a lot of kinks so far and I would expect them to continue to improve to make the dining experience even better. We can pick nits, but TPC more than deserves it's place here. I'm happy to support this business.

                                                                2. re: kevin

                                                                  As long as it's clearly communicated on the menu or verbally I think it's up to the customer to decide.

                                                                  Heck some people here were complaining about Ekkamai Thai charging .75 cents for an additional portion of their homemade dipping sauce that comes with their spring rolls which are priced very fairly.

                                                                  It's clearly labeled on the menu and people were still dinging the staff on their tips because of the extra charge.

                                                                  As long as it's clear, I feel like, no harm, no foul

                                                                  1. re: Jase

                                                                    i was the one who complained about ekkamai thai.
                                                                    i was ordering 2 orders of vegetarian spring rolls for lunch 2 or three times a week
                                                                    later i realized that the reason i ran out of sauce was because they weren't actually filling the little plastic sauce cups up the first time around.
                                                                    i started to ask them to actually fill the little plastic cups.
                                                                    didn't need any extra sauce after that.

                                                                    stopped going there when they started to use romaine lettuce in the spring rolls and reduced the amount of thai basil.

                                                                3. re: chrishei

                                                                  tried it again today. this time got 2 tacos and a coctel. that was about 15 bucks. drank water (free). felt slightly fuller and the tortillas were much better. i think they must've run out of tortillas last time and used store-bought. they didn't get mushy and had great texture. coctel was too salty and was served w/ saltines which didn't help (i didn't eat them all). again, fish sauce flavor permeated the meal and i smelled fish sauce just walking into the place. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but i do think it detracts a little from the delicate seafood flavors. ingredients are indeed very fresh and i love the colorful presentation of the tacos.

                                                                  1. re: soniabegonia

                                                                    Fish sauce ???

                                                                    Damn. That is not a felicitous sign to me.

                                                                    But I'll give it another whirl having said that.

                                                                    1. re: kevin

                                                                      The coctel is their worst item IMO. Just stick to 2-4 tacos + 1 tostada. Has anyone tried one of their specials?

                                                                      1. re: chrishei

                                                                        Even the cauliflower one ?

                                                                        1. re: chrishei

                                                                          Yes, Chris - I had lobster one day for lunch there - loved it.

                                                                          1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                            My lobster taco experience at TPC was a bit weird. First, the pieces of lobster was quite generous (it did cost $6 or $7) and had the light batter but interestingly (and somewhat disappointingly) I could really taste the batter but not the lobster as much.

                                                                            1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                              I need to go there for lunch when they have one of these specials. I hesitated driving over a couple of weeks ago (from Century City) and ended up missing out on the nopal/quail egg taco :(

                                                                            2. re: chrishei

                                                                              Cocteles at La Playita is better, I think, but no scallops. Having had Ricky's this past weekend at their pop-up, I'd have to say Ricky's is still better, but the tostadas at TPC is the best thing on their menu.

                                                                    2. re: soniabegonia

                                                                      I appreciate the comparison to Ricky's because it can be used as a reference point. However, at some point we need to assess a place on its own merits. Even if Ricky's is the tops, there can be a space for TPC. Plus, Ricky's is hell and gone from Santa Monica.

                                                                      I've been to TPC four times in the last week or so and I really think the place is solid.

                                                                      Tortillas: I haven't had a single issue with the sturdiness of the tortillas or disintegration, though I agree that they don't have, for instance, the excellent masa flavor of the thick cakes Guisados produces. I think they work for what is a pretty delicate and dainty fish taco.

                                                                      Seafood: Agree that the seafood ought to be seasoned a bit before cooking. Everything is fresh, but a touch bland on its own. Due to the mild flavor of the fish they use, I am on board with those seeking more flavor here. Still, quality is high and the scallop and shrimp offerings are a bit more flavorful.

                                                                      Batter: Love the thin tempura (TPC's description) batter. DOES need a bit of salt either in the batter or spinkled immediately after cooking. One does have to eat fast in order to keep things crisp, but count me an overall fan of this aspect.

                                                                      Slaw: Crisp and well-dressed. Did its job well, but not a real stand-out.

                                                                      Salsas: Varied and delicious. I find them quite generous with the salsas, though sometimes a container seems to be a runt of the litter and is only partially full. I'm a big fan of these and thank god because the tacos very mild seasoning needs this salsa pretty badly.

                                                                      Overall: With a hefty dose of their salsa, this taco really comes together as greater than the sum of its parts for me. With enough of the salsa, all the other elements in the taco seem to pop for me. I would've thought that everything else would get overwhelmed, but it was quite the opposite.

                                                                      Value: Not great, but remember what you're eating and where you are. Its a relatively small taco with westside prices. I'm not a big fan of huge lunches, but I do need to have a minimum of three items here to feel satisfied. That can quickly add up to a spendy lunch. My last dinner consisted of two tacos, a tostada, a coctel, an agua fresca, and some chips and salsa. I was starving and ordering with my eyes. The cost came to ~$29 --> $35 with tip. As I sat down I thought that I ordered way too much based on price. Turned out I finished it and was merely full. So, maybe it's a little expensive for what it is. However, I can leave TPC with a full belly and a light wallet, but not feeling gross. I've had plenty of fish tacos that ended up being really heavy. I'd feel full at a bargain. but a little bloated. These are light, fresh, and really satisfying.

                                                                      Bonus: The tostada has a pretty wonderful cashew spread that I was most dubious of before trying. I think it made the tostada shine. The coctel had a fairly generous amount of seafood in it, but was a touch bland. I ended up splashing in a ton of hot sauce and by the time it was seasoned enough the hot sauce was the star. So far, the coctels are the only item I'm not in a hurry to get again.

                                                                    3. You chowhounds are some tough customers!

                                                                      I was back yesterday and had the Shrimp and Scallop Coctel which I thought was absulutely devine.
                                                                      And an excellent tofu taco - something I never had.

                                                                      I agree that the fish portions are not RFT but they are about the same as BFTE. Been years since I trecked to TBE so I cannot compare it to that. But the handmade tortilla and the fresh fish and salsas and slaw and attitude are enough to keep me a customer -- if it lasts and continues to improve.

                                                                      FWIW, the lousy Thai place next door -- Pots and Pans -- appears to be closed and there has been some tralk of an expansion into non-seafood tacos in the future.

                                                                      8 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                        Bob, I still enjoy it a lot! Trying to get back there again soon.

                                                                        (Pots and Pans was open when we went to TPC. Is there a sign that it's closing?)

                                                                        1. re: PeterCC

                                                                          I just called P&P -they had no gas yesterday but are open today :(

                                                                          1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                            Was Pots and Pans any good ?

                                                                            Worth going to after a few tacos from punta cabras ?

                                                                            1. re: kevin

                                                                              I had it once years ago... I don't have any negative memories of it, but I also don't have any positive memories. It's probably serviceable.

                                                                              1. re: PeterCC

                                                                                Ingrained in my miniscule memory bank in my brain, is the fact that one of those three restaurants there once had a "C" rating, so that's all I remember about that. It may have been the Thai restaurant, but I have no clue exactly.

                                                                                1. re: PeterCC

                                                                                  Same here. Very average and very forgettable.

                                                                          2. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                            Though it must be said that the fish tacos at BFTE are less than a half the cost of the tacos at chupa cabra.

                                                                            1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                              My bad.

                                                                              Half the price of Tacos Punta Cabra i meant.

                                                                            2. Now this is what I really want if they will offer it again at Punta Cabras:

                                                                              https://twitter.com/TacoPuntaCabras/s...

                                                                              Has anyone been able to try it ?

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: kevin

                                                                                Whoa! I've never seen that on the menu. I think that was staff meal, otherwise that tostada would be like $10! I did try the cardoon taco with a 63 degree quail egg and it was really lovely.

                                                                                1. re: cacio e pepe

                                                                                  Chef Josh told me last time I was there and asked about it that the uni was just for staff and close friends who saw the tweet and came in.

                                                                              2. Surfas Culver City from 11:00AM=1:00 PM for demonstration and tasting. I plan to attend.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: maudies5

                                                                                  It should be noted the demo is this Saturday. http://www.culinarydistrict.com/event...

                                                                                2. Trying to decide which of the handful of TPC threads to bump with this one; thought I'd go with your trailblazing post, Bob! :-)

                                                                                  Just got back from TPC for a quick late lunch. They had some Pismo clams from their SLF dinner Monday night and had a special tostada dish today consisting of the standard shrimp and scallops, but adding pismo clams to the mix. As near-literal icing on the "cake", the tostada is topped with a sea urchin sauce.

                                                                                  It was excellent, my only complaint was that there wasn't enough clam or uni to outshine the shrimp and scallops. I want more clams! :-) Also, at $9 a tostada, it's pricey.

                                                                                  Chef Daniel was working the front of the house when I came in. Chef Josh came out and chatted a bit. They said they'll have monkfish tacos tomorrow for a special, but probably not the tostadas from today as they're running low on the Pismo clams.