Wednesday, May 28, 2008
El Cholo (Santa Monica)
1025 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Listing on Yahoo! Local
Listing on Ask.com's Citysearch
Here's the first official review of the new Los Angeles County Mexican Restaurants blog and it's about one of the first Mexican chains in LA. El Cholo began serving Mexican food in 1923 and has continued as a successful family-run business ever since. This Santa Monica location though is not the original El Cholo, having opened in 1997.
This location was picked for a post-wedding rehearsal dinner by my sister-in-law (well, she would become my sister-in-law the next day) who loves Los Angeles and its history so it was no big surprise that she picked an El Cholo as the spot for dinner.
Having such a big party (30-40 people?) we used a large banquet room upstairs. The next picture shows the pared down menu we could choose from:
Every table got a large Fiesta Platter tray with "Crab and Beef Taquitos, Nachos, Quesadillas, Chimichangas, Guacamole and Sour Cream:"
I chose a combo plate with a green corn tamale and a chile relleno:
Others got the Chicken Tostadita:
A Little Secret
I've been informed that each El Cholo location has a "Nacho Table." It's typically one of the "worst" tables in the house, and when people get seated there they get complimentary Carmen's Nachos to make up for the location. Now, the locations aren't terrible. You're not in the bathroom or getting hit in the back with the kitchen door, per se, but it's just a high traffic area outside the kitchen or something. Guests can actually ask for it if they know about it—there is often a wait for those tables even if other tables are available. So, if any readers sit at the Nacho Table leave a comment here and let us know about your experience.
A unique item at El Cholo is their pecan praline cookies. At the end of your meal they will bring a few on a plate but you can also purchase a bag of these goodies on your way out.
The restaurant has their own valet parking service for $3.50. If you don't want to use that the surrounding streets have metered parking. Either way, to eat at El Cholo, you'll likely need to pay for parking in one way or another.
Call L.A. Bite at (310) 441-2483 to get food delivered. Delivery fee applies. For takeout, call the restaurant to order.
Update from June 20, 2013: You can also order online now from their official El Cholo Santa Monica site.
Here's some extra photos:
View the whole photo album (33 photos) at flickr by clicking here.
Go Eggless has an entry about El Cholo food that would be of interest to vegans/vegetarians.
Read about all El Cholo locations in Orange County by clicking here.