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Petty Cash

Opening a Mexican restaurant in Los Angeles is tricky business. It’s obviously the most popular cuisine in the city. But the market is saturated, and competition is fierce. It’s like being a pretty blonde at USC. If you want to truly stand out from the crowd, your best shot might be to go brunette.

And things only get more complicated when you’re trending towards a more fine-dining style (and pricing) with your Mexican food. Every Angeleno can tell you where to get their favorite taco in the city. And half the time, they’re going to name a taco truck, and that taco is going to cost them around a dollar. So what does a taco need to do to warrant a $6 price tag? Petty Cash tries to answer that question, though only occasionally succeeds.

For fear of sounding too negative here, let me clarify: I’m extremely cheap. Saying that any place makes me want to pay $6 for a single taco is a pretty damn good achievement. Petty Cash’s Al Pastor taco does just that.  The quesadillas live up to the hype (and price tag) as well. And we haven’t even gotten to the best part: the cocktails. There’s a lot to like here.

But, in the end, the competition is too close and the price tag a bit too high to make this a real destination spot. However, if you’re in the neighborhood and looking for a stiff drink and a killer al pastor taco, stop in and grab a bite.

Food Rundown

Al Pastor Taco

It says something about the spice level of a taco when it requires an entire spear of pineapple on top to balance it. Juicy, spicy, and delicious.

Machaca Quesadilla

If you’re trying to fill up on a budget, the quesadilla menu is your best bet, where you get a full sized quesadilla for the same price as two tacos. This particular version has a southwestern feel, with a nice mix of brisket, jack cheese, and poblano peppers.

Cook’s Ranch Pork Belly Carnitas Taco

I understand the logic – elevate the taco by making it with decadent, fatty meat. Unfortunately, it manages to lose its texture in prep, becoming more like a topping than a filling. In a cuisine that is loved for its bold flavors, this falls flat.

The Brixton

Speaking of bold flavors, this cocktail is as bold as it gets, and it announces it from the very beginning, emerging from the bar in flames. This drink is as spicy as it is alcoholic, featuring poblano sorbet and habanero, mixed with gin and lime.

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