Several high-end Mexican restaurants have opened in LA in the past couple years, most notably Red O, which I found disappointing. I think a lot of these restaurants have cool decor, great mixed drinks, beautiful plates, but taste-wise the food is nothing spectacular. This is not the case with Rosa Mexicano, which just opened its second location on Sunset in West Hollywood (the other location is Downtown in LA Live). Everything about Rosa Mexicano is muy excellente, especially the food! When I first heard about Rosa Mexicano, I was skeptical about a Mexican restaurant that is part of small chain originating in New York City, but I was quickly and completely won over.
The restaurant is quite beautiful with vibrant colored lights and a waterfall and it has a fun, sexy atmosphere. The signature drink here is a Frozen Pomegranate Margarita, which is really tasty and packs a punch. But my favorite beverage is their awesome White Wine Sangria. Rosa Mexicano makes some of the best guacamole I have ever eaten and they make it fresh for you tableside. They also serve two amazing spicy salsas, a Oaxacan pasilla salsa and a tomatillo and habanero salsa, so between each of these and the guacamole, it’s pretty much a dilemma as to what to dip your tortilla chip into; I usually alternate between the three.
In terms of appetizers, I loved the Pacific Yellowtail (Hamachi) Tartare (diced yellowtail, watermelon, cucumber and jicama served with a tomato-habanero sauce and a ball of jalapeno ice on top) and the Pork Belly and Sea Scallop Tacos (braised heritage pork belly and seared diver scallop served on warm corn tortillas with a citrus-habanero salsa). For entrees, there is a wide variety of traditional Mexican dishes which have been refined and taken to a whole new level. My favorite is the Carne Asada Tacos (grilled skirt steak marinated in juajillo and pasilla chiles, garlic, cumin and black pepper and served on a shallow bed of melted Chihuahua cheese with fresh corn tortillas and sides of red bean chorizo chili and creamy corn esquites). Other main courses include ancho chiles stuffed with slow-cooked marinated pork, a chicken tortilla pie, perfectly seasoned and grilled shrimp brochettes and a variety of gourmet enchiladas. There are also several great vegetarian options as well as a gluten-free menu. You will want to save room for dessert, especially the scrumptious tres leches cake topped with blackberry-hibiscus glaze and toasted meringue, and the decadent Banana Chocolate Chip Cake filled with peanut butter mousse and topped with dark chocolate sauce and cinnamon swirl ice cream.
Rosa Mexicano is located at 8570 West Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood and 800 W. Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles (Downtown; in LA Live).