Whether it’s quesadillas oozing cheese or refried beans packed with processed lard, Mexican food—at least the Americanized version—gets a bad rap on the health tip.
So it’s about time someone asked: Will the real Mexican food please stand up?
After living in Mexico for six years, hospitality entrepreneur Tosh Berman decided to open the new organic Mexican restaurant Toca Madera to coax Angelenos toward the more healthful pleasures of authentic south-of-the-border cuisine.
“True Mexican food is incredibly healthy, simple, fresh and based on great cuts of meat, seafood and organic produce,” Berman says.
He enlisted chef Raymond Alvarez to prepare what Alvarez dubs “barrio-style fine dining,” a modern update on the kinds of wholesome dishes he watched his grandparents prepare for neighborhood gatherings as a child.
The meat sourcing is super clean, which means the mouth-watering carne asada with cilantro-jalapeño marinade ($22) is grass-fed, the enchiladas suizas ($18) are stuffed with free-range chicken and the cochinita pibil tacos ($12) are filled with heritage farm pork that’s free of antibiotics and hormones.
The kitchen also excels in the creative use of organic vegetables. There’s a dedicated vegan menu whose dishes are just as flavorful as the meaty versions. We swooned over the spicy mushroom and sweet corn tacos ($10), the arugula salad with vegan mozzarella ($13) and the pomegranate seed-studded guacamole served with house-made plantain chips ($12).
Toca offers a super-sexy scene to boot, with a hopping bar, skull-themed art and sultry purple velveteen booths.
8450 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles