Before each home game this season, ClipperBlog will run “ClipperBlog Eats,” a restaurant recommendation from its resident restaurant reviewer, Ben Mesirow. Below is today’s suggestion:
Of all of the hot taco spots in LA, none has achieved quite as much fame as Guisados. From appearances on Food Network and Eddie Huang’s Vice Show to a full-length Jonathan Gold review and awards both national and local, Guisados has become LA’s premier brick-and-mortar taco shop, and the de facto recommendation for anyone visiting from out of town. The success of the original Boyle Heights location has lead to new outposts in Echo Park and Downtown, and they are all equally deserving of the hype.
Guisados the restaurant specializes in—you guessed it—guisados the food item, braised meats and vegetables slow cooked until they are tender and moist, scooped with their braising liquid and plopped in a wet mound onto handmade tortillas. The proteins are excellent, deeply flavorful and saucy in a way unlike tacos you’ll find almost anywhere else, from the bright and citrusy cochinita pibil to the nutty, rich mole poblano to the comically spicy chiles toreados – a taco made of pure fire, habanero, serrano, jalapeño and Thai chiles blistered together and placed on a bed of black beans entirely too thin to be any sort of salve.
Interestingly enough, this is also one of the few taquerias where vegetarians can happily eat, with both mushrooms and squash getting the slow-cooked treatment. As good as the proteins are, though, what truly sets Guisados apart are its tortillas – chubby little discs about the right size for a toddler to use as a Frisbee, handmade from masa acquired right next door to the Boyle Heights location. They are good enough to eat on their own, and it almost wouldn’t matter if Guisados’ guisados weren’t quite so fabulous. When you put the two together, it’s easy to see why Guisados has become LA’s emblematic taqueria.