MexiKosher: The name alone inspires skepticism. Open since July along the booming Kosher Corridor, the casual Mexican eatery with the cutesy portmanteau delivers what it promises: tacos and burritos, carne asada and birria, salsa and guacamole, all under Kehilla kosher supervision. But can it possibly be any good?
Born to a Japanese father and Mexican mother, chef Katsuji Tanabe relocated to L.A. and after a stint in culinary school, ended up in the kitchen of Shiloh's, a kosher steakhouse only a few blocks west of MexiKosher. While there, Tanabe won over skeptical diners -- and kosher inspectors -- with his "bacon" cheeseburger. Why not follow that up with kosher carnitas? It's not impossible. Better than that, they're actually quite good.
Everything is solid at MexiKosher (though $2-3 more than you'd pay at a comparable non-kosher Mexican restaurant), but their best dish, perhaps surprisingly, is carnitas. Here, it's no slow-cooked pork shoulder. It's a tasty, succulent mix of beef and duck, with just the right amount of fat. Order it and Tanabe or one of the line cooks will pile a heap of the carnitas on the tree stump that serves as a cutting board and chop it into soft, dripping bits and piled with pickled onions, cilantro and pico de gallo.
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None of the meats are spicy, so if you're looking for heat in your meat, MexiKosher is not that restaurant. The place does, however, have a dozen sauces (that's not hyperbole) you can use to spice up the tacos. (The sweet-hot chipotle is a winner.)
The city's first (and only?) kosher Mexican restaurant isn't any brilliant leap forward in Mexican cuisine, but it is solid, tasty Mexican food for a demographic that deserves more diverse and compelling dining options.
BONUS: The chicken wings, glazed and sweet with just a bit of spice, are a winner.