Restaurant: Mondo Taco
Location: 2200 Colorado Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90404. (310) 310-8922
Date: October 20 & November 30, 2015
Cuisine: Nuevo Taco
There seems to be a bit of a new trend to apply “Californication” to just about any food type. By this I mean the process that transformed the humble Pizza 30 years ago into the now passe “California Pizza.”
Mondo Taco is one of several places trying this on the taco. Nothing wrong with that, as the taco is just a form of open faced sandwich. The shopfront is located right next to the Naughty Dog office (which I no longer work at), but is certainly a busy lunch zone.
Decor is cute and cozy.
They have nice unlimited refills on drinks, so I hooked myself up with some pineapple juice.
Taj Mahal. Coconut shrimp, curry sauce, diced red bell pepper. This was one of my favorites. It had bright fresh tastes and packed a good dose of flavor. Plus I liked the crunch of the fried shrimp.
Thailicious. Grilled chicken, chipotle peanut sauce, cilantro, onions. This was actually my least favorite, even though I expected to like it. The flavors were too muddled, with the peanut being too muted by the chipotle. I think it would be better with a sauce closer to Thai classic peanut sauce.
El Greco. Grilled lamb, tzatzikki, diced tomato. In the middle. Certainly tasty, and much like the gyro it is modeled on.
A special: Southern Decadence. Super delicious. Fried chicken, bacon, a kind of ranch dressing, and some kind of sweet dressing. Full of fat and flavor.
Car-Neato. Pulled pork, salsa verde, cilantro. This was fine for what it was, but not my favorite.
Tokyo Shrimp. Tempura shrimp, avocado, spicy mayo. The combo worked, but was a tad mild for my taste.
Overall, these were promising. This isn’t the usual laser-focused Asian fare I lunch at, or even single cuisine fusion, but a sort of “anything can become a taco.” Still, I’ll go back and try some more.