Monday, April 13, 2009

Rate-A-Restaurant #204: Cook's Tortas

Restaurant: Cook's Tortas

Location: 1944 S. Atlantic Blvd. (Monterey Park)

Type of restaurant: Latin Sandwiches

We stipulated: Hungry for lunch on a Saturday afternoon, we decided to try some place new. I'd been curious about Cook's Tortas since Pat raved about it on her site, and decided we'd make a trek out to Monterey Park.

They stipulated: Certain sandwiches are always on the menu, while others rotate. They're all made fresh to order. Oh, and you've got to drive out to Monterey Park to satisfy your craving.

What we ordered: Cucumber-lime aqua fresca; Mole verde sandwich (Pepita tomatillo, Chicken breast, Onion, Avocado); Bacalao sandwich (Spanish style cod, Roasted red peppers, Olive, Garlic, Parsley, Potato). On our second visit (!) we brought sandwiches over to a friend's house, so we bought four. In addition to the Bacalao (easily our favorite from the first round), we got the La Diabla sandwich (Chicken breast, Jalapeno, Chile de arbol, Habanero, Guacamole); Chicken basil sandwich (Chicken breast, Lettuce, Tomato, Basil pesto, Fresh cucumber); Cochinita sandwich (Achiote pork, Onion escabeche, Black beans, Cilantro). We also got a pineapple-celery aqua fresca. All sandwiches are $6.98 come with a side, such as red fries, potato salad, macaroni salad, caprese cucumber salad, among others.

High point: Oh, that soft, easy-to-eat bread! Not only are the sandwiches great, but the sheer variety of choices (see the blackboard photo above) is amazing. And the price makes the drive worth it. Even Evan liked the bacalao (and, the second time around, the Chicken basil). The La Diabla was super spicy, even for me, yet I'm still glad I tried it.

Low point: At one point, someone cleaned the tables with Windex right next to us... which left an unfortunate odor as we ate our sandwiches. The fries are also just OK; I'd recommend one of the salads instead (like the cucumber one, below).

Overall impression: Like Pat mentions on her blog, Cook's Tortas is the kind of place that I wished popped up all over L.A. -- or at least, closer to home. If we had one of these close to the office, it might be a little dangerous -- I'd probably eat there every day.

Chance we'll go back: Well, we've already been back once, and we'll probably continue to head down the 5-to-the-60-to-Atlantic-Blvd. in order to eventually try every sandwich!

For a complete list of our more than 200 restaurant reviews, check out our companion Rate-A-Restaurant site.

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