Tacos & Tequila on the Lawn | Qué Padre, Pacific Palisades, LA, CA
Pacific Palisades, CA, April 2022
• GAYOT’s Rating: 13/20
• Cuisine: Mexican / Tacos
• Open: Sun.-Thurs. 12:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. 12:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.
• Qué Padre is on GAYOT’s:
– Top 10 Taco Restaurants in the U.S.A.
– LA Best Tacos
– LA Best Takeout Restaurants
– LA Best Kid-Friendly Restaurants
– and LA Best Cheap Eats Restaurants.
Qué Padre is somewhat what you might call a “hole-in-the-wall,” but the hole is in the very affluent Pacific Palisades neighborhood of LA at one of real-estate mogul Rick Caruso’s chic shopping malls: Palisades Village. Caruso’s most famous public achievement is The Grove, which was inaugurated in 2002 and has become a tourist attraction despite (or, perhaps, because of) the fact that it is a shopping mall.
There are a few tables inside facing the open kitchen, where chef de cuisine Ryan Torre officiates, in collaboration with executive chef Isaias Peña. However, the best seats are on the patio and the lawn facing some fancy houses — they will also permit you to do some people-watching.
Flavors from all over Mexico are wrapped in the tacos, quesadillas, fajitas and burritos. For each of them you can choose the filling (carne asada, pollo asada, carnitas, birria and seafood options). Start with the guacamole and its (dangerous) house-made ancho chile and lime tortilla chips. Other must-haves are the ceviche tostada and the fire-roasted street corn with chipotle aioli, toasted chile de árbol, lime and cotija. My preferred taco was the Beef Birria made with guajillo braised beef, quesillo and jalapeño slaw on a crisped tortilla, and served with a consommé for dipping (I actually drank it). The quesadillas are killer, but you have to save room for the Mexican chocolate churros to be dipped into a tequila-guajillo reduction chocolate sauce. Everything on the menu is house made with locally sourced ingredients.
There is a very, very short wine list, but you are in Mexican restaurant, so I strongly suggest you plunge in to the tequilas, mezcals and even sotols or in one of the margaritas. You can make the service as you wish: full service at your table, order and pay from inside the restaurant, or from the QR code stuck on the table. The food is served on compostable dishes with a lid, so it makes it easy to take home.
> Watch Isaias Peña, Regional Executive Chef, describing the Aguachile Ceviche and talking about the home made Qué Padre smokey sauce.
> Watch Isaias Peña, Regional Executive Chef, describing the Pollo Asado Burrito.
> Watch Isaias Peña, Regional Executive Chef, describing the Quesadilla.