We hit WeHo’s hip and happening Tortilla Republic last night where Chef Brandon Warren has been working wonders with Mexican food for the last two years spinning his own take, spices, and glorious touches to some old and new recipes. The joint was hopping. Margaritas were flowing by the pitcher. Young and old were eagerly digging into platters of scrumptious-looking dishes designed to tease and satisfy the palate.
We loved it! The two-year-old restaurant was spawned from its popular sister property in Poipu, Kauai, Hawaii which according to its web site offers, “Modern Mexican cuisine in a contemporary chic setting with spectacular sunset views from al fresco spacious lanais featuring updated Mexican dinner classics made with fresh, flavorful ingredients, with an island twist. Offering guests inventive fare with unexpected flavors utilizing all-natural meats, organic and locally grown produce, Tortilla Republic Grill sets the bar for fresh, bold Mexican flavors.” That pretty much describes the West Hollywood branch.
The restaurant is handsomely-decorated with a chic uptown-style with a heated when necessary outdoor patio, gorgeous bar and tower of tequilas. The service was surprisingly efficient considering it was a rather frantic night with crowds coming in non-stop. And you can’t blame them, the food here is debatably the best South-of-the-border style cuisine in Los Angeles (sorry hot tamales of Border Grill, I think Tortilla Republic has you beat, but then it’s all a matter of taste).
Chef Warren uses organic, fresh produce when possible and prime cuts of meat. We sampled quite a few dishes last night and each one was outrageously delicious. The salmon entrée was quite possibly one of the best ever. Ditto for Richard’s pork chop. Below are just a few of Chef Warren’s menu offerings beginning with the salsa tasting, which you must order. Each one of these offers just the right tang and spice and makes your taste buds come to life.
- Salsa Tasting $4.50 salsa de mesa, salsa de tomatillo fresca, salsa de papaya habañero
- Guacamole $7.75 avocado, serrano pepper, tomatoes, white onions, cilantro
- Seared Albacore Tuna $11.50 ancho chile crusted, mango & radish slaw, avocado, salted chile lime
- Ceviche $13 chilled citrus-marinated swordfish & shrimp, fresh lime juice, cilantro, mango salsa, crisp corn tortillas
- Duck Confit Tacos $13 sour cherry salsita, shaved radish
- Tacos de Jicama $12 jicama tacos thinly sliced jicama “tortillas”, shrimp, chipotle mayo, cilantro, red onion, avocado
- Shrimp Cakes $11 corn salsa, roasted red pepper, chipotle aioli
- Huarache de Hongos $9.50 crispy corn flatbread with cremini & oyster mushrooms, roasted shallots, baby arugula, monterey jack & manchego cheese
- Enchiladas served with complimentary house rice & black beans Suizas 18 pulled Mary’s free range chicken tinga, creamy tomatillo sauce,melted chihuahua cheese
- Mole $19 pulled Mary’s free range chicken, mole de poblano, crema, queso fresco. toasted sesame seed
- Hibiscus Flower $17 hibiscus flower, roasted tomato chipotle sauce, jicama, carrots, onions
- Lobster $26 creamy truffled tomatillo sauce, crab & shrimp bisque, manchego & jack cheese, shaved black Oregon truffle
- Ancho Seared Salmon (if you like salmon, you will flip over this presentation) $23 roasted poblano, onions, herb infused long grain rice, cilantro citrus sauce, habanero carrot sauce
- Relleno Poblano (outstanding) $18 stuffed with eggplant, mushrooms, spinach, pinenuts, raisins, goat cheese, ranchera sauce, crema
- Carnitas (truly wondrous flavors) $20 crispy pork, caramelized orange peels, pickled jalapeños, tomatillo fresca, guacamole, crema, warm tortillas
- Pollo Pimiento Rojo Asado $19 Mary’s free range chicken breast, sautéed lacinato kale, roasted red pepper sauce, sweet potato fries
- Pork Chop Al Pastor (Richard raved over this) $22 spiced caramelized pork chop, jalapeño potato puré e, caramelized pineapple & onions, grilled asparagus, al pastor sauce
- Short Rib “Chile Verde” $23 prime all natural short rib, spicy roasted tomatillo & jalapeño chile verde sauce, jalapeño roasted garlic potato purée
Of course there are desserts but we just didn’t have the room, maybe next time. And for all your foodie couples celebrating Valentine's Day, Chef is preparing a special four-course romantic repast you won't want to miss.
Tortilla Republic is located at 616 North Robertson Blvd., in West Hollywood, reservations are highly recommended at 310-657-9888.