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Ortega 120 – Tasty Margarita, but mediocre food.

February 20, 2011 Dinner, Gourmet, Mexico No Comments

Last night, I joined a few friends for margaritas, inside jokes, and a bite to eat at Ortega 120 in Redondo Beach.  For the most part, it was fun. We drank a couple of pitchers of their house margarita and sampled a few of their dishes.

I was actually looking forward to it. The place is known for their house margaritas. In fact, LA Weekly considered them the best in 2009, one year after opening up shop. And did it live up to the hype? Yes! It was refreshing, and had just the right amount of tequila. I’d definitely come back for drinks or happy hour, but for straight food, that’s another story….. 

Always on the look out for interesting items, I ordered the Lamb Shank Birria, which included a 21 oz braised lamb shank, served with pickled onions, rice, and corn, in some kind of chile broth. Presentation-wise, it was acceptable. Taste-wise, it was well, edible. There was no wow factor, and actually, left me a bit disappointed. Though the meat was tender and fell right off the bone, it did not appear that it was properly marinated. The trimmings weren’t very spectacular, as well. Oh well, lesson learned. I think I will stick to ordering Lamb shanks only at Persian restaurants.

I tried some of PR girl’s Enchiladas Rojas Sencillas, which was supposed to have included braised beef shortribs, but really, the meat was pretty dry, almost like carnitas. Did the chef fuck up and stuff it with the wrong meat? Or was it just overcooked? During this time, I had a nice margarita buzz going to really care. In hindsight though, the enchilada wasn’t very good. So, this will be another dish that I’ll never order again.

Eventually, we made it to the end of the meal, and satisfied our collective sweet tooth with some churros! In contrast to the rest of the meal, this was yum and I was actually pretty sad that I didn’t just skip the appetizers and entrees and go straight to dessert. But really, you can never go wrong with vanilla ice cream, chocolate, and fried, sugary dough.

Overall, the experience was acceptable. I might be back. We will see.

Link: Ortega 120

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