I have been remiss in writing about Moruno, but feel it deserves its own thread. It is tucked into the old Short Order space at the Farmer’s Market at The Grove on 3rd and Fairfax, and is one of the few restaurants in the area open past 10 PM (even Animal closes at 10 PM now). That alone makes it noteworthy in many ways. However, the food is worth talking about as well.
They start you out with some really nice marinated white beans, peppers, and olives. Very nice to have something so pleasant as a freebie to snack on.
The freebie went great with their gin and tonic, which was standard, but certainly done right.
I veered a tad “normal” with my order for my first time as I had a craving for tuna and french fries, and Moruno strongly delivers by offering a Tuna Steak Frites. This is a spectacular dish consisting of a giant seared tuna steak marinated in olive oil and garlic, and loaded with near-perfect french fries coated in “gunpower” spice. They come with a garlic cream sauce on the side that is reminiscent of Zanku, but with more bite to it that really sends the dish over the edge.
Their tortilla espanola is stunningly huge for the price, and tastes incredible. It has the perfect ratio of egg/onion/potato, and a simply marvelous texture. Awesome tangy cream sauce on it as well. By far the best version of this dish I have ever had in LA.
The mushrooms a la plancha were stupendously grilled, adorned very simply with herbs, and egg yolk. One of the best mushroom dishes I have had in recent memory, and really showed that they understand how to work with vegetables in a powerful way in terms of eliciting maximum flavor from simple preparations.
The Lamb subMoruno was probably the least awesome thing we ordered oddly enough. The bread felt like it could’ve been crustier or something, not sure. It was fine. The lamb was tender, marinated nicely, and the sauce had a pleasant kick, but it just felt a bit too bready and a bit boring compared to the other dishes somehow. Still good though, but I would get more vegetables next time instead.
Their wine list is also lovely, and has some incredible reasonable bottles of interesting and very pleasant to drink wine on it:
Overall, I agree with other major reviews such as Moruno being somewhat unlike any other restaurant in LA. It is a fantastic place to eat. The french fries alone may be worth coming for, as well as the vegetables. I really need to return to get their tripe dish and more veggies!