Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Rate-A-Restaurant #235: Border Grill

Restaurant: Border Grill

Location: 1445 4th St. (Santa Monica)

Type of restaurant: Mexican

We stipulated: Our Groupon to Border Grill -- $20 for $40 worth of food -- was expiring. We've been to Border Gril plenty of times over the years (I even held our first Great Los Angeles Walk afterparty there in 2006), so it's an old standby. And when that Groupon popped up earlier this year, I didn't hestitate.

They stipulated: "Presenting the bold foods and flavors of Mexico, Border Grill has established a new standard for gourmet Mexican fare. With a menu of complex authentic dishes based on the home cooking of Oaxaca and the Yucatan."

What we ordered: Cochinita Pibil, $19.50 (achiote pork roasted in banana leaves, caramelized onion, orange, cinnamon, roasted plantains, guacamole)

Chile Relleno, $16.50 (roasted poblano chiles; manchego, panela, cotija cheeses; salsa roja; tomatillo salsa)

Kids' quesadilla, $7

High point: The sauce with the cochinita pibil was amazing. And the time we went -- around 5 -- was very kid friendly.

Low point: Service took a suprisingly long time. And as much as I loved the sauce with the cochinita pibil, the pork itself was a bit too fatty for my taste.

Overall impression: I'm surprised we haven't done a Rate-A-Restaurant on Border Grill -- we already did one on the Border Grill Truck, as well as on Ciudad. But the "Two Hot Tamales," Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, are now turning Ciudad into a downtown outpost of Border Grill -- so the time seemed right to revisit the joint. I'll miss Ciudad, but Border Grill is always a good place to go when you're not sure where to go.

Chance we'll go back: Absolutely, although it will likely be the Downtown location next.

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