Sunday, August 23, 2015

Adobo Taco Grill (Lakewood, CA)

Adobo Taco Grill Restaurant
5695 Woodruff Ave, Lakewood, CA 90713
Sun 08/23/2015, 07:05p-08:35p

Adobo Taco Grill Exterior

One of the more random meals of recent times occurred at Adobo Taco Grill, situated in a sleepy section of the model suburbia that is Lakewood. The place opened back in October last year but has developed quite a following, as evinced by the restaurant's near-perfect Yelp rating.

Adobo Taco Grill Interior
Adobo Taco Grill Open Kitchen
Inside, things are bright, clean, and jam-packed, even on a Sunday. Seating is limited, comprising three high two-tops, a four-top, a six-top, and an eight-seater "communal table."

Adobo Taco Grill Menu
The menu is simple enough: your choice of seven meats, in taco, burrito, quesadilla, or vampiro format. Click for a larger version.

Taco Toppings
Tacos are served bare, so condiments are available for the taking.

The Horchata [$2.29] was a classic presentation, a blend of sweet, creamy, and spicy that worked to temper the heat present in the food.

Vampiro de Chorizo
Vampiro de Chorizo [$2.75]
The most unconventional item on the menu is certainly the vampiro, which is basically an open-faced taco, served atop a grilled-crispy tortilla with cheese, guac, and crema added. There was a fantastic crunch here thanks to the toasting action, and the cheese melded well with the chorizo as well. However, I wanted more spicing on the sausage, so that it could better stand up to the lushness of the cream and avocado present.

2015 Other Half Hop Showers
Sort of my main motivation for coming here was the ease in which I thought I could BYOB. And indeed, the number of people in the restaurant and the general commotion made slipping in beer pretty easy, actually. First up was the 2015 Other Half Hop Showers, a IPA form New York incorporating Citra, Amarillo, and Ahtanum hops. It was a fairly textbook example of the style, with a hoppy, citrus-y nose leading to flavors of pine and juicy lemon. Quite nice.

Taco de Asada
Dressed Taco de Asada
Taco de Asada [$1.59]
We had to get the standard carne asada taco of course. The meat itself was probably better than most, tender enough, but with a bit of chew. It paired well with the tang of the pickle-y onions here, the zip of the salsa verde making things all the better.

Quesadilla de Maíz de Camarones
Quesadilla de Maíz de Camarones [$3.75]
One of the highlights for me was the shrimp quesadilla, which was probably one of the best quesadillas I've had, period. Great brine and snap on the camarones here, and I loved how they paired with the veggies and slight char of the corn tortilla. Very well integrated.

2015 Victory Kirsch Gose
Next to drink was the 2015 Victory Kirsch Gose, a sour cherry beer. I really liked this one, finding it fizzy and totally refreshing, its bright, tart, funky cherry flavors up front leading to a finish with restrained notes of wheat, lemon, and salt.

Frijoles de la Olla
In the center of the restaurant lies a crock-pot filled with complementary frijoles de la olla, a classic, hearty whole bean stew that was even better with a dash of green sauce.

2015 Cismontane 5th Anniversary 5 Grain Saison
The 2015 Cismontane 5th Anniversary 5 Grain Saison was a limited release from earlier in the year. Meant to celebrate Cismontane's fifth birthday, the beer was brewed with five grains--rice, corn, barley, rye, and spelt--and meant for aging. It was very likely the heftiest saison I've tasted, malty and aromatic on the nose, with more deep, sweet malt coming on the palate. I really wanted more spicy character, more farmhouse here though.

Taco de Lengua
Dressed Taco de Lengua
Taco de Lengua [$1.59]
Tongue was super tender, delicate to the taste, and one of the better versions I've had, really meshing nicely with the slight smoke in the salsa.

Quesadilla de Harina de Pollo Adobado
Quesadilla de Harina de Pollo Adobado [$3.25]
A flour quesadilla showed off the restaurant's namesake adobo, the chicken coming out deeply flavored and delicious, beautifully matched to the gooey cheese. Very good.

The Melón [$2.29] agua fresca was also quite lovely, conveying a very true-to-life cantaloupe flavor. I wish it would've been served colder, though.

Taco de Cabeza
Dressed Taco de Cabeza
Taco de Cabeza [$1.59]
Beef head was as tender as you'd expect, with deeply bovine flavors at the forefront, though perhaps the meat could've used a touch more spicing.

2015 Funky Buddha Blueberry Cobbler
Inspired by its eponymous dessert, the 2015 Funky Buddha Blueberry Cobbler was a wheat ale with blueberries, cinnamon, and vanilla added. Think loads of (slightly artificial) berry flavor up front, intermingled with vanilla and hints of Graham cracker crust. Somewhat reminiscent of the Terrapin Maggie's Blackberry Cobbler I'd had recently at Aussie Pie Kitchen.

Vampiro de Pastor
Vampiro de Pastor [$2.75]
Our second vampiro hit the mark, the pork coming out scrumptiously flavored and well matched to the crema and guac. And again, fantastic crunch from the tortilla.

Vampiro Tortillas on the Grill
For the vampiros, Adobo's homemade tortillas are toasted on a flat top grill.

Our final agua fresca was the Pepino [$2.29], which featured the coolness of cucumber backed by a refreshing citrusy sweetness.

Taco de Carnitas
Dressed Taco de Carnitas
Taco de Carnitas [$1.59]
The carnitas was one of the standout meats, arriving super tender, super juicy, with boatloads of porky flavor. Excellent here when taken with the tangy red onion.

2015 Avery Insula Multos Collibus
Our last beer was the 2015 Avery Insula Multos Collibus, a sour ale aged in bourbon barrels for nine months, with cherries added. Ostensibly inspired by the Manhattan cocktail, this one was tasty, with a strong core of tart, dark fruit commingled with chocolate, oak, booze, and vanilla. Quite acidic as well.

Quesadilla de Maíz de Lengua
Quesadilla de Maíz de Lengua [$3.25]
A corn quesadilla featured tongue as its stuffing, the soft, mild meat working well alongside the sheer cheesiness of the dish.

Burrito de Asada
Standing Burrito de Asada
Burrito de Asada [$6.25]
We had to conclude with the ubiquitous carne asada burrito. This staple of Mexican-American cookery was well presented, coming out better than most. The actual meat wasn't overly dry or tough as it often is, and matched swimmingly with the overarching herby notes here. Great balance between the rice and beans as well, which complemented, but didn't overpower the beef.

We left Adobo very satisfied. It's sort of an odd find in Lakewood, but definitely delivered with its ever-so-slightly-elevated take on SoCal Mexican fare and surprisingly congenial service. In fact, I'd come here more regularly if the lines weren't so long.


Blogger krelianx said...

Poor beer. Those glasses... what a waste.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015 1:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've read this blog for a while and like it and all but it's kind of shitty that you sneak in beer like this, to be honest. You should stop. I don’t know how Lakewood handles stuff like this but I imagine a bored cop or random ABC inspector could fine the restaurant for failing to catch you, and owning a restaurant is hard enough as it is. If that’s a risk the owner is cool with, great, but you making the choice for them is a shitty thing to do.

Monday, October 05, 2015 3:08:00 PM  

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