Guerilla Tacos, the gourmet food truck, has been around for a couple of years now.
Parking exactly one day a week near a Culver City third-wave coffee house and
another couple days in the once again fashionable and decidedly trendy artist’s
district a stone’s throw from downtown’s Little Tokyo. The truck’s facade plastered
with a vivid, deeply saturated blueish hue beckoning customers from across the city.
You might just think that it’s merely another soporific, trite, overplayed taco truck
that’s part and parcel of the whole craze still going on that has now surely worn out
it’s welcome; Guerrilla is anything but.
Chef Avila devises unique, idiosyncratic creations that sometimes simply defy your
expectations of what is surely possible. The compositions and meticulous plating,
where each herb is placed with care and precision, are surely worthy of a three-star
gastronomic temple. And yet the intricate dishes are merely served on disposable
paper plates and cardboard boxes like you’d find at a simple fast-food
lunch counter. The chef works his magic in a Lilliputian space with two assistants.
Suffice to say, the cramped space is beyond tight even by the standard’s of a ship’s
galley. However, delicious eats infused with utter flavor do come forth for your
A recent visit was no different and gave off a complete sense of verisimilitude if it
were possible for a mere dish to achieve that. The sweetbread, namely the buttery
portion of a calf’s thymus gland, was fried to a tee giving off the impression of the
love child of a fried oyster crossed with the “Rocky Mountain” varietal though
downsized to perfect ovals the size of tiny heirloom cherry tomatoes. They were
garnished with a spicy chile sauce that gave off an earthy kick. It must be said that
the kick is composed with the Boyle Heights street-taco scene in mind rather than in
conjunction with Westside tastes, which is a good thing.
The open-faced quesadilla filled with beech mushrooms (from where else but the
local farmer’s market), pungent hominy kernels, and a scattering of herbs to
complement the masterfully fried Oaxacan string cheese with all its caramelized glory complemented by
blackened eggs is beyond tasty and seems to be a menu mainstay.
The real reason you are here is for the novel, ground-breaking, almost earth-
shattering skate wing taco with persimmons (that have been marinated just so to
bring out the sweetness of this seasonal treat) and a pine nut chile that can be eaten
with a spoon if the felicitous occasion had arisen. The flakey pieces of skate wing
melt in one’s mouth like no other fish taco in town right now with the condiments
(pistachio, pine nut chile, marinated persimmons, lemon juice) belying what an
exceptional concoction this is.
And Chef Avila, despite his artistry and the uniqueness of his creations, does gladly
make concessions and modifications in deference to his customers such as leaving
off the chorizo on the quesadilla or employing the corn tortillas for the quesadilla
instead of the large flour tortillas for the gluten-averse.
It would be far from surprising if Guerilla Tacos did not become a bricks-and-mortar
institution to rival the city’s best restaurants in the all too near future.