If there were a sixth taste, one that came after the elusive umami, it might be named Yrastorza after Las Perlas' manager. Inspired by both his taste for tequila and his Filipino roots, Raul Yrastorza's cocktails are characterized by ingredients like fresh curry leaves, cumin, mole, smoky chipotle and jalapeño juice. The result of his flavor play is a surprising amount of heat in Las Perlas' tequila drinks, mellowed by sweet agave syrup and accompanied by the bite of the Mexican spirit; the bar excels at this combination of sweet and spicy. Both the chile-laced Juquila and the bar's signature Spicy Margarita accomplish a fiery taste that regulars return to. Las Perlas' tequila- and mezcal-influenced menu changes from week to week, but the peppery cocktails are as consistent as a tequila-infused room spin. Expect your taste buds to be doing the mariachi. 107 E. Sixth St., dwntwn. (213) 988-8355, 213nightlife.com/lasperlas.

—Sophia Kercher

LA Weekly