Friday, August 31, 2012


After our rehearsal dinner (still wedding week), we went to Toloache, a posh Mexican restaurant located in the heart of theater district.

Originally I wanted to go to Pomaire, a Chilean restaurant in the similar area, but it somehow didn't let me book a party in advance, so I yelped away and found this.

It looked pretty nice online and in the review pictures.

It was pretty busy when we got in around 7, so we had to wait a bit outside until we were seated upstairs. I loved this authentically Mexican ceramic moral of a lady in traditional garbs. This definitely grabs your attention as you head upstairs.

It wasn't as big as I had imagined, but at least there was space for a table of 10. Everyone was seated and water was served. Since it was a large group, we had to wait for a long time before everyone perused the menu to order (plus translating Mexican dishes into Chinese isn't an easy task).

The menu was seemingly standard with the usual Mexican dishes like tacos, quesadillas, salsa. But what was unique is their stand-alone entrees that fuse together Mexican and Asian cuisin, like their Adobo marinated japanese eggplants (which made my Mom think this was a Japanese restaurant).  

 I almost jumped when I saw their Oaxacan-style dried grasshoppers on the menu.

Some waiter came by our table and told us the special of the day. I couldn't really catch a single phrase he said because of the noise level and his thick accent. I think it was something like fish with pinenuts or something.

Also, when we told our drinks waitress that we were all dry, she seemed stunned and became wide-eyed. Really, is that that shocking to have non-alcoholic guests?

For starters, we got some chips and guacamole. The waiter told us to order a couple of these, because their portions apparently were small. But they cost $15 per guacamole! So we got the traditional mild guacamole with avocado, tomato, onion and cilantro, and the frutas medium with pomegranate, vidalia onion, mango, peach, apple and Thai basil.

The waiter was not kidding when he said these are small portions. Normally, chips this size are on the house. But not these ones apparently.

We had to wait a ridiculously long time for these. During that time, I tried to carry some conversations but to no avail, because my stomach was rumbling and it was too loud.

Finally, it came. Our end of the table (the unmarried end) got the traditional guacamole, which was really fresh and chunky. It was gone pretty quickly.

The other side (moms and dads) were almost afraid to try theirs. My Dad refused profusely until I insisted. I didn't get a chance to try their pomegranate dip, but I'm sure it was pretty good.

 Quasadilla de Camaron

I ordered a Quasadilla de Camaron with shrimp, chili del arbor salsa, onions, and pineapples. It's like a Hawaiian-Mexican style pizza. It tasted a bit sour, probably because of the pineapples and the salsa.

I was amazed by the simpleness of this dish - basically it was ingredients scattered on what appeared to be a thin layer of tortilla bread. All this for $13? Not worth it. (Plus I came two pieces away to my Mom and hubby's Mom.)

 Berenjena Adobada

My maid of honor, being vegetarian, got the Berenjena Adobada, which is the Adobo marinated Japanese eggplant, lentils, sweet plantain, and achiote-habernero salsa. I tasted a bite of her eggplant, which was pretty juicy and marinated.

Carnitas de Lechon

Hubby got this Carnitas de Lechon, which is brick oven-roasted shredded suckling pig, habanero-sour orange salsa, cactus avocado and chicharron salad. Obviously I have no idea what half those ingredients are, but it looked pretty juicy.

Hubby's Mom got some tacos because she's all about portion control (especially because when we got our orders it was already 8pm).

Pescado Sarandeado

My dad got the wild striped bass with cauliflower puree, Brussels sprouts salad and chile pasilla de Oaxaca salsa.

This was the special of the day that hubby's best man got, which does look like sea bass with pine nuts or lily bulbs. It was again, a ridiculously small plate but looks very exquisite.

I have no idea what this dish (above) is, but it looks like fish.

Our photographer got a load of shredded meat.

And our officiant got this meaty dish, probably the Rib Eye with grilled rib eye, fried Brussel spourts, queso fresco, picked red onion salad, salsa trio, chile de arbol and panco chimichurri. Again, no idea.

Being a Chinese party, no one ordered dessert, although I was still largely starving from my "dinner" and wanted ice cream. But alas, it was too late and we had to get a good night's rest for our big day the following day.

Three major complaints about this restaurant:

1. Noise level way too high - can't hear the person across from you
2. Portions waaaay too small for the price point
3. There's only one bathroom!

All and all, horrible restaurant if you're expecting something excellent, like for a rehearsal dinner. Verdict: please go to your corner Mexican joint if you're looking for something authentic, or if you're actually hungry.

** (2/5 - I know, the lowest rating I've given any restaurant thus far)
Kids-friendly (with reservations only)

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