Taco Maria - Luxe Mexican

Nice change from my usual taco trucks.

Standouts for me were the:

  • Camphechana ( octopus, spot prawns, cherry tomato, avocado) - perfectly cooked seafood harmoniously bathed in a clear light tomato shellfish broth. Beautiful presentation.

  • Chile rellano (corn-battered chile, potato, cotija, salsa Veracruzana) - very hearty, earthy, grown-up rendition. I loved the blue corn batter.

  • Atole - awesome strawberry flavor blended into the atole, nice warm finish to the meal

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Were you full afterwards? I understand the meal is very good but what do you think on a value basis?

Btw, I always wanted to visit TM.

I’ll start off by saying I love Taco Maria. I’ve been going every season (quarter) since my 1st visit in early 2014. However, I am alarmed at the increasing menu prices. It has gone up almost 50% in a year, without an increase in quality or quantity of food. It’s certainly no longer a value as it was from the beginning. The menu does not vary as much seasonally as I would like. If you’ve never been, I highly recommend it. As for me, it won’t be nearly as often as before.

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Good point. It started reasonably priced. But I’ve never really been a fan of their prixe-fixe dinners. Lunches are great and not that much of a worse value.

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Agreed on not varying often enough. I’ve had the porridge and the atole numerous times over the last several visits.

I just wasn’t a fan of the porridge or that weird fish dish or the not quite nearly as good aquachile thing at dinner.

but that fucking aguachile thing during lunch service was beyond fucking dope. and those mushroom chorizo tacos and fish tacos are swell.

I’ll give my take on Taco Maria. It is, at the moment, my favorite restaurant in the Los Angeles area. Yet there are some annoyances…

The increase in price is a big deterrent for a few reasons. First off, I believe the rise in prices leads to a less daring menu. A 39 dollar menu or even a 52 dollar menu can afford to have a few dishes fail. Such an ability to fail allows Chef Salgado to take risks, showcase more ambitious dishes, etc.

But when the menu is 65 or whatever it is now, I feel Salgado feels that everything should be perfect. So he ends up serving these dishes for every fucking meal, regardless of season because he knows how good they are. And some of these dishes are brilliant. I adore the porridge which has become an absolute staple of the menu. Yet, how is the restaurant improving if he serves the squid taco 150 nights in a row? I think it’s great that he serves an amuse bouche. But why is it the exact same thing it was two months ago :frowning:

Another thing I’ve been very bummed about is that as prices are going up, he’s skimping on some ingredients! The campechana used to have abalone. It hasn’t the last few times I’ve been there. The crab porridge used to have finger limes which honestly were a vital component of the dish. No more! What gives?

Also, it’s outrageous they don’t have a dessert, though I think the atoles are fantastic.

So long story short, if you’re gonna charge that much money, vary the dishes and try things and serve fucking dessert.

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It is tough to see the prices go up. I’m very surprised that Chef Salgado hasn’t taken advantage of the notoriety and opened up another fine dining restaurant yet.

The aguachile regardless of what type of seafood they use is one of the best dishes I eat throughout the year. The balance of heat, spice, acidity is perfection.

I agree that lunch might be a better value since you can choose between two types of tacos and share appetizers. The corn appetizer with cheese is excellent.

The most confusing thing about the pris fixe menu is the no dessert considering the Chef’s background. Maybe the kitchen isn’t equipped for it but aside from the rising price its my only gripe.

Hi Sgee,

Great pics! Thanks for the report. :smile:

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liq, I was full after the meal, caveat I don’t eat as much as in my younger days. I think most diners will be full without being stuffed, the final savory pork cheek course was a fairly large format. A proper dessert in addition to the atole would have been a more fulfilling way to end the evening.

The feedback from all the posters on the price increases seems to have take the shine off Taco Maria. Having been accustomed to $5 taco truck meals and this coming in just a hair under a Benjamin (with wine and tip), I thought the QQPR was fair. The quality of cooking and ingredients was certainly very high. Although I can certainly appreciate the universal feedback about the frequent price increases and the # of courses staying the same and menu not varying much. I’d probably share similar concerns if I had been dining regularly since their inception.

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The value remains unbelievable. Not as seemingly absurd as when they were $42, but even at $65 for 4 courses, there is nowhere else you can eat that quality of food for the price. Honestly, I thought they would be up around $85 by now.

From a price standpoint, the cooking is absurdly good for 65 dollars. It’d be good cooking for 165 dollars. But for the price point, you would expect more variety.

For even 65 bucks it ain’t fucking great.

For 45 maybe.

But his lunches are quite good with $7 tacos.

$7 for each single taco. The pairs or tacos are around $15. Maybe the most expensive tacos you’ll ever see but delicious.

kevin I respect you, but Mr. Gold and myself disagree with you. For 65 it’s a fucking steal.

Lunch ain’t bad either…

I would love to know where you can get better food for $65 in LA honestly.

There would be a lot of hungry people on the street if it takes a minimum of $65 to eat well…:smirk:

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I’m not quite sure where a $65 dinner is fucking cheap and beyond reasonable. But then again I fucking digress.

Who said eat well? That’s an absurd twisting of my words. I said, “get better food” than what Taco Maria gives you. So better technique, ingredients, creativity, etc…

If you think it’s never worth paying absolute minimum for good food, then how can you ever rationally eat anything other than $3 burritos at Al & Bea’s?

If you are completely unable to tell the difference between food made with high quality ingredients by talented chefs from the greasy tacos slapped together for $1 from average taco trucks, then certainly it’s absurdly expensive.

If you have even a slight modicum of taste, and care about the food you eat, while being able to discern differences in quality then $65 for cooking on the level of Taco Maria is quite cheap.