Hidden well back off the street, La Monita is worth the trouble it takes to find it. (When you see the big illuminated sign for Mahatun Plaza, just start walking back. If it's night, it's going to look like you're walking into a dark parking lot, which you are, but your reward is at the end.)
All in all, for being this far away from Latin America, they did an admirable job. I started with the Margarita de Oro, made with tequila reposada, the golden stuff. This drink ran about $7 (220 bhat), but I was actually considering ordering the more upscale version where they will willing to name the tequila used, but $14 for a margarita of unknown quality was too steep for me. The less expensive margarita didn't disappoint, not in the least. The limes used were just the right balance of sour and sweet, and the triple sec and tequila both placed nicely. It was a margarita that any Mexican restaurant would be proud to serve, and tasted fresh.
The margaritas here are either on the rocks or "martini style" (no ice.) Blending was not an option, which was fine by me as I prefer small cubes to drinking a grownup slushie.
I ordered the chips and salsa. The chips seemed to be factory made and were badly needing salt. The guacamole came across as freshly made and was left a little chunky with similar sized bits of tomato and onion in it. It could have used more cilantro.
The burrito mojado I order arrived as a large portion, so much so that there was barely any room on the plate for rice and beans. I had asked for the "al pastor" meat to be used in making it. The burrito was overflowing with nice pork, but the folks that made this al pastor couldn't have ever tasted the real thing. It was like pork (leftover carnitas from their menu?) were simmered in a tomato-adobo sauce. The real deal is dry rubbed then roasted on a spit, a pineapple cooking on top of it and dripping rich pineapple juice the whole time it's cooking. The carmelized bark on the outside is the best part of the experience-- you get a big hit of the spice, but eating meat not so close to the outside you get this wonderful slow roasted pork experience. This was a little too factory-like. In their defense, I wonder how much al pastor they can possibly sell, so I shouldn't complain too much that they've taken liberties.
After being in their restaurant and seeing their food, I'm struck that it's more an LA spin on Mexican food heavily influenced by the west of Mexico. For this far from home, they did a pretty good job. The restaurant is a true hole in the wall-- they could stand some paint and some cleaning, but after being away from my beloved Mexican food for too long, this was like a lighthouse calling out to me. I'm planning to go back.
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