Whatever your thoughts are on the meatless food movement, one fact remains: It CAN work. Take the meat out of Thai food, Indian Food, or every bummer of a salad you’re planning to eat for the rest of your life and it’s generally of little consequence. But Mexican food? Under the right hands, just maybe. But taking the meat AND cheese out of Mexican food?
Now, don’t be stupid.
Taking the meat and cheese out of Mexican food is like finally taking Jennifer Lawrence out of a David O. Russell movie – you can’t. Besides, now all you’re left with on your plate is a sweet potato-stuffed hand-rolled tortilla doused with a bunch of corn. And that means starch. A SH*T TON OF STARCH. For those in the dark on what starch is exactly, it’s the thing that makes you feel like a complete dumpster driving home from Gracias Madre. It’s also that thing that leaves food devoid of texture and any level of taste differentiation whatsoever. Consider yourself warned: Gracias Madre is a one-stop starch taqueria of regret.
But let’s back off for a quick second, as there are several things Gracias Madre does extremely well.
The space is beautiful. It’s bright, airy, and gigantic. No matter what time of day it is, their patio is unarguably one of the best spots in the city to kick back and realize it’s January and you’re on a patio. Also, the drinks. We would go to Gracias Madre every day for a cocktail if we could ever find parking on Melrose – and most times we bite the bullet anyways. Its central Weho location makes it ideal for meeting up with friends who rarely ever leave their Venice bubble, or an out-of-town client who you wouldn’t eat food in front of anyways.
And frankly, those last few things go a long way in this town. So while going hungry to Gracias Madre is something we wouldn’t wish upon our worst enemies, knowing exactly what it’s good for is simply due diligence.
Don’t be stupid twice.
Flautas De Camote
No. As lovely as this thing is when dropped on the table, this is a one-note colossal disappointment. Absolutely no texture, no flavor, or anything that makes Mexican food good in the first place.
We guess they left all ingenuity to their drinks because this boozy popsicle is kind of a drink, kind of a dessert and completely addicting.
Where is the flavor? The Heat? The anything? You would think this could be a strong point in the menu when it’s basically a bowl of warm beans in broth.
These guys aren’t actually too bad because mainly it deals with a vegetable. Flash fried with cashew cheese. It works.
The Dude Abides
Not only does it have a great name and great appeal, but this cocktail is one of our favorites amongst many great ones at Gracias Madre. And the secret is definitely in the horchata.
Papas Al Horno
What’s basically a Mexican patatas bravas doesn’t taste horrible, but combined with everything potato-y you’ll have on the table, it’s frankly overkill and all you want to do is go to sleep.
Coconut Bacon Torta
While we can certainly dream of what it would taste like with real bacon on top of it, this very pretty dish probably hits better than most. The dull sweetness of the bacon is immensely welcomed.