Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Eat Out. Tinga.

Mexican food isn't hard to come by here in Los Angeles, but light and fresh Mexican food can be. That's why new La Brea restaurant Tinga deserves a refreshing welcome, and repeat visits.

The story behind Tinga is that it's inspired by Santa Barbara favorite Super Rica, but I think it's a lighter, more high-end version that still delivers, and more. The restaurant is small but feels open, with high ceilings and a large window opening up to a couple outdoor tables. And the staff is more than welcoming; the owner (?) was already talking up customers like it was a neighborhood spot.

And it will be, if the food continues to be excellent. We opted for the Tinga, which is two tostadas with shredded chicken, lettuce and more (seen at bottom in the picture) and carne asada tacos (top). We also were convinced by the owner to get the Elote especial side, which is fresh corn mixed with cream, lime and salt, and the watermelon lemonade, and we were not disappointed in the least. The corn ended up being my favorite dish--fresh and with the perfect dash of lime, it makes for a great summer dish. Everything had the right amount of rich and spicy flavors without being too heavy, and despite looking like small portions, ended up being the perfect amount.

Dishes range in the $7-$10 range, which may feel like a lot at first, but the attention to detail is obvious. And as the summer (hopefully) heats up, Tinga's fare is exactly the type of light and flavorful food you'll want to be eating.

Tinga is located at 142 S. La Brea Ave. in Mid-City.

-- Chau Tu

Photo credit: the BEAT

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