The guys behind Mexicali Taco really know how to work a grill. From their days at First and Beaudry to their current digs at the Figueroa edge of Chinatown, Mexicali has committed itself to all things meat and fire. That means carne asada, and lots of it, served in all manner of ways. There's the garlicky “vampiro” quesadilla, the tostada-topped cachetada or the overwhelmingly meaty “zuperman,” but your best bet for pure beefiness is the Mexicali taco. Served on a fresh corn (or flour) tortilla, this Baja-style taco is quick-fired for a smoky, crisped exterior and lots of tender bites in between. The roughly chopped steak is left unadorned — that's what the salsa bar is for — but with all of the smoky, salty, well-grilled bits you'll find, the extra toppings are already an afterthought. 702 N. Figueroa St., dwntwn. (213) 613-0416, —Farley Elliott

LA Weekly