Cook's Tortas

1944 S. Atlantic Blvd.
Monterey Park, CA 91754
323-278-3536
Critics' Pick

Details

  • Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • $
  • Lunch, Dinner
  • No Alcohol
  • Patio/Sidewalk Dining, Takeout
  • Parking Lot Available, Street Parking
  • Reservations Not Necessary
Shoehorned into a former Hawaiian barbecue place, near where Monterey Park runs smack into East L.A., Cook's is a new paradigm of an Eastside restaurant, with the chalkboard menu, the sleek pastries and the Illy espresso much more common in Westside coffeehouses than in elbow-in-the-salsa taquerías. There are house-made aguas frescas here, notably an agua of watermelon, lime and mint. Side dishes include chunky new-potato salad and a caprese made with Mexican queso fresco. But Cook's revolves around its updated tortas, made with crisp, dense bread baked at the café and featuring such oddball fillings as grilled vegetables with pesto, smoked salmon with cream cheese, and salt cod with roasted peppers, as well as more traditional tortas. The fad at Mexican lunch counters these days is for the torta ahogada, a Guadalajara-style torta drowned in chili sauce, and Cook's version is almost surreally spicy, stuffed with heroic quantities of roasted pork and painted on both sides with a vivid red sauce. I'll take the manly Cook's ahogada over the usual soggy takeout versions every time.

Related Stories (3)

  • Great-Great-Grandmother's Corn Cake at Cook's Tortas
    Friday, June 7, 2013 at 1:31 p.m. by Christine Chiao

    A cake by name, the great-great-grandmother's corn cake at Cook's Tortas rests comfortably in the overlap of cornbread and creamed corn, should the two ever met. Baked in a bundt pan, the cake is two-thirds crust enshrouding an inte...

  • Cook's Torta's: 30 Sandwiches in 30 Days (Day 23)
    Friday, December 9, 2011 at 3:05 p.m. by Elina Shatkin

    Monterey Park may seem an unlikely locale for a top-notch torta shop, but Cook's Tortas, with its diverse and clever roster of sandwiches, has made itself a home amid the dim sum houses and dumpling shops of the San Gabriel Valley. ...

  • Cook's Tortas, Westside espresso, Eastside spice
    Wednesday, April 23, 2008 at 9:59 a.m. by Jonathan Gold

    Shoehorned into a former Hawaiian barbecue place, near where Monterey Park runs smack into East L.A., Cook’s is a new paradigm of an Eastside restaurant, a spare, modern tortas café, with the chalkboard menu, the sleek ...

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