The only thing good about LA traffic are the places you have to choose from while you are waiting it out. Today my husband and I were working in Santa Monica and decided to head to Border Grill to let the madness on the 405 die down. Border Grill is an amazing Mexican restaurant founded by Top Chef Masters Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger. The place is an urban-styled cantina with a laid back yet trendy atmosphere. We arrived at happy hour so we decided to indulge in the low prices and enjoy the evening. We started with their famous margaritas, on the rocks with salt. Now I have had some great margaritas in Southern California and Border Grill’s is definitely in the top 5. Not too sweet with just enough tequila to remind you that they could get you tipsy quickly. Border Grill also has an extensive tequila list if you want to try something unique or sippable.
After relaxing and enjoying our drinks for a few, we ordered the guacamole. The guacamole was prepared nicely. The avocados were perfectly ripened and there was just enough cilantro and jalapenos to give it character. The chips were a little thick and crunchy for my taste (I prefer the thinner tortillas) and I always feel this can overpower the guacamole or salsa that is being served with the chips.
Next we ordered the green corn tamales (at the recommendation of our friendly server Amelia). The tamales were highlight of the entire meal. They were beautifully made and the sweet corn in the tamales was mouth-watering. They were served with a side of salsa and sour cream but I honestly thought the sides were a distraction and took away from the delicate flavors in the tamales.
For our entrees, we ordered a variety of Border Tacos including the lamb, fish, potato, and avocado. Each tortilla was handmade and the flavors were fresh and unique. The potato taco was the stand out among them. The tortilla was crispy and the potatoes were perfectly cooked with a corn relish, Mexican cheeses, and a chipotle crema.
Overall, I have to say that Border Grill is one of the better Mexican cantinas in LA. I love the way that Chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger have interpreted Mexican food and I hope to be “stuck” in Santa Monica at rush hour again to enjoy their fresh and flavorful Mexican dishes.