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First Bite: 25 Years of Border Grill, or a Revamped Ciudad

Is it possible that the Border Grill has been open a full 25 years? It must -- the anniversary party was this week. And is it possible that owners Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, who worked the marriage of Mexican cuisine and New American grill cooking a full decade before the guys who are thought of as pioneers, just opened a new Border Grill? They did -- a thorough revamping of their old Ciudad space downtown, new Huntley-Muir murals on the Easter-marshmallow walls, and the old pan-Latin menu swapped out for the grilled-tongue tacos, green-corn tamales and sizzling panuchos familiar from the Santa Monica restaurant.

There is no shortage of high-end Mexican restaurants downtown now, from the evolved alta cocina of Rivera to Casa's louche take on the cuisine, but Border Grill's roasted-plantain empanadas, potato rajas tacos, long-braised carnitas and pan-seared halibut crusted with pumpkin seeds are still worth a visit. Goat-milk flan for dessert.

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