Tuesday, April 19, 2011

7. El Cholo Spanish Cafe

El Cholo is a Mexican restaurant that has been around since something like 1923 and has, what I've heard, the second oldest liquor license in Los Angeles. 

Located on Western ave. smack in the middle of Korea Town, you can tell everything else grew around this place, and you gain a rich sense of history walking through it's aged wooden doors. I went to dinner here last night with my friend Mark. Parking sucks in K-town and you should invest the $4 to valet your car, even though all they do is park it literally right in front of you with a stupid, shit-eating grin on their faces.

You're immediately reminded of the age of this place when you're sat down at a booth and realize its simply 90 degree planks of wood with fabric on top. You feel your spine, tailbone, and glutes all contort in unison into an unparalleled position of pain you've never felt before. The seats suck, but it's not my major complaint about this place, that esteemed honor goes to our waiter.

"Hi guys! Welcome to El Cholo!!" he burst in to greet us. "Can I get this party started with some Margaritas?!?"

First off, waiter, we're sitting at the worlds smallest and uncomfortable booth in a quiet, family restaurant. No, we don't want to "Get the party started" when there are no girls here and we're dressed like Softball coaches. We just want a drink and some food. We placed our orders.

"AWESOME CHOICES, DUDES!!!" our waiter chortled." I can't wait until you try them!!"

I ordered three tacos. Really, waiter? You assume I've never tried three tacos before? Also, I seriously hope you don't expect to watch me eat and subsequently enjoy the food I ordered, do you?

Seriously every time our waiter came by he had some stupid, hokey shit to say. He had clearly seen too many movies with waiters in it. A good waiter is, yes, attentive and nice, but also understands the patron-waiter dynamic. They are there to bring out food and retrieve a new fork if you drop yours. Honestly, it was more humorous than annoying but he's going to lip off to the wrong, drunken stepdad one day and get his head run upside on.

The food and drinks were AMAZING. The margaritas were huge, served topped off in pint glasses. The free bottomless chips and salsa are also really good, but you need to exercise self control because the entrees are massive.  Mark got beef marinated in a mole sauce and I got "Tres Tacos al Carbon" which were topped with chunks of bacon and served with beans/rice/guacamole/cotija cheese/pico de gallo. It sounds like standard fare, but believe me, it's much better than your standard taqueria. Marks stuff was good, too.

Everything on the menu has a date next to it indicating when it made it on the menu. Kind of cool. This is a good place to go with some friends for a good meal. I wouldn't go here on a first date as you'll have trouble "sealing the deal" later on when your body is too busy trying to digest a gallon of free salsa. Also, don't go here before going out for drinks with your buddy Mark if you're planning on doing that, too. Because you'll just end up bloated and pained with regret from your unscrupulous gluttony.

Overall, this is a great place to go if you love eating good food. It doesn't get a 5-star rating because of its uncomfortable seats, required valet, and oft-annoying waiter, but the food is truly the cat's pajamas.

Name: El Cholo Spanish Cafe
Genre: Mexican
Value: Two people can get drinks and entree's and be stuffed for about $40.
What You'll Need to Enjoy Your Meal: Restraint from free chips and salsa.
Rating: 4 / 5

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