57 Mrs. García’s Tacos y Burritos
November 22, 2010
9905 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232
This place is five-minutes’ walk from my office, and yet I’ve been putting off giving it a try for two years. It’s next door to an El Pollo Loco, where I have been at least a dozen times, and never set foot in Mrs. García’s. I expected it to suck. On the outside, it looks like a phoney chain restaurant that would only be patronized by a captive market of office workers. I would suppose that Sony Pictures employees make up the majority of their customers. But I finally went there for lunch today, and while it was better than I feared, it was also somewhat pricy as I had feared, and nearly as “meh”.
I ordered the three-taco combo plate, consisting of three tacos, rice and beans, a basket of chips, and a small soda, for $8.25, choosing carne asada, chicken, and pork (carnitas). The soft tacos are available a la carte for $2.25 each. They are above average in size, so it’s not a terrible price, but not competitive with real taquerías. Mrs. García’s isn’t really in The Game, so to speak, but it’s good enough to stay in business despite the robust competition of a Pollo Loco next door.
The tacos are served unadorned, but various salsas and condiments are available for the dressing of tacos. I tried the salsa roja and the salsa tomatillo. The former was bland, the latter decent, a bit smoky with some depth, though not very hot.
I ate the carnitas first. This was the standout of the bunch, with good flavor and decent texture with a bit of toothiness, dryish rather than moist. I would order it again. I hypothesize that the thing to get at Mrs. García’s is burritos with either chicken or the carnitas, and I don’t entirely mean that as a disparagement, because I am not a burrito-hater. Burritos are Easy.
With credit to the sound advice Garrett has passed on to me: it’s okay to like tacos, but make burritos your favorite food. You’ll have a much easier time of it in this life we are living.
The tortillas were okay, but a bit dry. These tacos were all on the dry side, which is better than the watery-taco side of the street where you’re liable to find catastrophic taco failure or taco dumping syndrome. They could really use a little more oily griddling. Maybe they want more lard.
The chicken was okay. It had a chickeny marinated flavor. It should be in a burrito with an easy and accommodating flour tortilla rather than a taco with an attention-seeky corn tortilla.
The steak was also okay. I struggled while eating it to form an opinion about its taste. It was mildly treated with carne asada seasoning, pretty spare. The texture and moisture levels were appropriate. It seemed wholesome. If I ate nothing but carne asada from Mrs. García’s every meal, I would probably live to 99.
I can foresee visiting again. The dining room is acceptably pleasant. The menu has some choices. I will have something other than tacos.