Mexican chain restaurants don't have a great reputation, especially here in Los Angeles with so much amazing regional Mexican food, but even Jonathan Gold had to concede the charms of Rosa Mexicano, when he dove into the newly opened location in L.A. Live in the fall of 2009. Today, Rosa Mexicano opens its second Los Angeles location (and it's 11th location overall), on yet another tourist-driven destination, West Hollywood's Sunset Strip. The chef is Sam Christopher and the pastry chef is Jai Kendall.
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The restaurant begins serving dinner tonight, with happy hour and lunch debuting on August 15th. Per usual, look for tableside guacamole, gargantuan portions and whimsical decorative touches (a butterfly-dotted waterfall dividing the main lounge area) amid the upscale mauveness of the place. It also has a lovely patio.
CEO Howard Greenstone understands the bad rap chain Mexican restaurants get but insists, "That this is authentic yet modern Mexican food. It's not the Mexican food you expect."
Sadly, the new location won't be participating in Rosa Mexicano's annual Ice Cream Festival. You'll have to head downtown to try lavish creations Negro Modelo ice cream with candied chocolate bacon and Mexican carrot cake made with piloncillo. Mercifully, the cajeta ice cream made with goat's milk proved so popular, it's been added to the menu year-round.
Rosa Mexicano: 8570 W. Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood. www.rosamexicano.com.