From burritos, tacos, ceviche to tapas, we have enjoyed Latin and Mexican cuisine at El Pelon, La Verdad, Temazcal, Toro, Ole Mexican, Zocalo, as well as Rick Bayless’s Xoco. Despite gorging on some amazing Latin cuisine recently, the best is still directly from the source. It was well overdue that we try the Mexican restaurant and tequila bar and former Papa Razzi for dinner, especially after previously enjoying margaritas and cocktails at Lolita. Lolita Cucina and Tequila Bar is open from 5pm on and is open until 2am daily (even Sundays). Most weekend evenings there is a line out the door. Upon entrance, there is dim red lighting and a coat check at the entrance and the sconces and candelabras evoke a haunting, but romantic sensibility. We gave our name with the staff, received an estimate for an hour wait and headed to the back bar. A group of us enjoyed a pitcher of Lolita margarita ($44) Sauza ’100 years’, Patron Citronage, lime, cane syrup and grapefruit. It had the perfect balance of tangy and sweet. Very refreshing. My friend tried the red sugar rimmed Broken Heart, which I really enjoyed on my last visit, which contains St. Germain, Patron Citronage, white grapes and fresh raspberries ($13). This evening it was a bit too strong (normally we would not complain, but the drink’s balance was off).
The deep red roses in the square glass and votive candles at our table drove home the red theme. As we contemplated what we wanted to try from the menu from guacamole, tacos, enchiladas, sopas, ceviche, quesadillas to nachos we enjoyed the eclectic mix of dance beats including Canned Heat by Jamiroquai (the Napolean Dynamite dance song), Avicii’s Levels and the brilliant collaboration between David Guetta and Sia- Titanium. I love the music here.
As we were settling into our table, our friendly server placed a complimentary “smoking” chilled grapefruit granita with a splash of tequila. It was a great palate cleanser and a nice start. We started our meal with the Fresco guacamole with tomato, serrano chili, diced onion, cilantro ($9) served with a basket of fresh tortilla chips and a trio of complimentary salsas (red salsa, tomatillo salsa and crema).The not so hot mango habanero hot sauce needed to be kicked up exponentially on the Scoville scale to meet our tastes. One of my favorite dishes was the fresh and crusted Ahi tuna tostada ($13). The Pepita crusted ahi tuna was smooth on the crisp tortilla, creamy avocado, citter watercress and chipolte aioli. The combination together was delicious and I wish I had another one all to myself. The shrimp ajillo ($24) jumbo shrimp were perfectly cooked, seared in butter, garlic, chipoltle and lime and lay next to a bed of avocado, pink onions, radish and watercress. The garlicky pink shrimp had a nice contrast with the bitter greens. The pulled pork tacos were nicely marinated and seared, then sprinkled with cheese ($12). My friend loved this dish. Several of us ordered the Rib-eye tacos ($15) which our server said was very popular and was listed on the menu as sliced grilled rib eye, tobacco onions with garlic crema. We had this impression that the steak tacos would be a freshly grilled steak (fajita style) with light grilled peppers and super light. However, this was a heavier dish. A man’s dish maybe if you’re looking for something more hearty. The rib-eye tacos were filled with steak and slathered in a thick garlicky cream cause. Then they were completely covered in the equivalent of an entire Blooming Onion. The onion pieces were nice and crispy, but all the components of tacos combined enabled me to only eat one. My friend said it was too salty for her taste and it was too heavy for mine. I gave the two remaining tacos to a friend who appreciates a nice steak and fried onion rings. They devoured it and loved it. The Zocalo corn ($6) was nicely charred and covered in the cotija cheese. Despite this, there are much better, more flavorful corn to be eaten elsewhere, including La Verdad and Toro. As we wrapped up the bill, we received complimentary green apple cotton candy and a plate of Lolita temporary tattoos with a wet towel. The cotton candy was pastel green, super fluffy and a whimsical touch. The only downside was it was overly sweet and not many of us touched it after a little sampling. Perhaps a different flavor or use less sugar? Either way we had a great time placing the temporary tattoos on and reflecting on when we last used temp tattoos. Junior high for me. It took several failed attempts and reading the instructions (30 seconds of wait time to properly moisten the tattoo) to get the tattoo on, but we had fun. Lolita has fantastic ambiance, margaritas and all the staff from bartenders, bus boys, our server and the manager are expert at execution and making sure their guests were taken care of. Everyone in our party noted that Lolita’s service is impeccable and they would grab a few snacks and definitely enjoy the drinks again.