For kind of a while now, I’ve really wanted to try out Toca Madera. I have heard generally good things about it, and I’m always down to try out “elevated” Mexican food. So like any good 20-something Angeleno, I went for Taco Tuesday. Now mind you, I don’t drink (no I don’t have 12 DUIs and no I’m not an alcoholic, I just don’t like it. Moving on.) and I didn’t want tacos, so it doesn’t make a ton of sense, but go with me on this. I wanted to check out their Taco Tuesday menu for research purposes, with every intention of ordering off of the regular sized menu because I’m hungry and appetizers for dinner do nothing for me. Let’s start off with the pros: Toca Madera is beautiful inside. The ambiance is a ton of fun, very sexy and playful, with a photo booth that takes Boomerang-style videos you can e-mail to yourself (yes it’s free, ya’ cheap bastard). The decor features velvet booths in the lower and bar area, warm lighting, and a very beautiful bar. Whoever designed and decorated the interior spared no expense, and their attention to detail is exceptional. I especially loved the bathrooms, which had walls covered in images of sugar skull style women. We sat upstairs, which was a little roomier and better suited for those not there for a party/with a group/looking for Mr./Mrs. Right Now. The people who were there were equally as trendy as the interior of the restaurant itself, and this is for sure a great place to go if you’re looking to find an attractive, single douche bag. THAT BEING SAID, there were also people there on dates or just with friends, because like I said, it is very beautiful and gives off a pretty sexy vibe. But, sit upstairs if you’re in that category.
Now for the food. Here’s the thing: it’s okay. It’s fine. It’s definitely not their main focus. My two friends ordered tacos off of the Taco Tuesday menu as well as drinks, which were pink and came in flames, which is always a fun touch. They loved their drinks and ordered more of the same. My Diet Coke was wonderful. Because I am one hungry bitch, I ordered the Carne Asada platter. My plan was to do my usual- eat all of the steak, the guacamole, the vegetables, and sliver off of the beans and rice (and eventually sliver it to oblivion) while I pretend their carbs “don’t count.” Well I didn’t have to worry, because it came with none of that. I would say I received maybe two to three ounces of steak, tops, with a golf-ball sized serving of sliced onions. It is worth mentioning that this was from the “Platos Grande” section and was $26. The onions were actually great. I could have used a whole bowl. The steak was fine, but it was cold, which was only my punishment for being polite. Let me explain that. My friend received her tacos, I received my steak, and my other friend received a box with four ramekins of sauce, which we had assumed were for her tacos. Because we are polite, we waited for her food to arrive. We waited, and waited, and waited some more. After 20 minutes, her tacos were nowhere in sight. We flagged down the waitress, who explained that the tacos were INSIDE THE BOX THAT HELD THE SAUCE RAMEKINS. Okay, Toca, that is just stupid. Who would know that? If you’re going to have crafty presentation, which I DO appreciate, just give us the heads up on where the food is hiding so we don’t have to go on some dumbass taco treasure hunt we never signed up for. The portions are for those on a strict diet or a lot of cocaine or both. Do not go if you plan on leaving with a full stomach. I tend not to appreciate having to go to Gelson’s after I go out to dinner to pick up a rotisserie chicken.
Having said that, I’d probably go back. Here’s why: it’s good for groups, it’s really pretty, and the food isn’t bad, it’s just really, really small.
Here’s what it’s good for:
Here’s what it’s not good for:
The dreaded discerning “foodie,” which I am not.
P.S. Remember what I said earlier about the attractive douche bag you can meet at the bar? My assessment was proven correct as a recent Vanderpump Rules episode featured a cheating scandal with a random stranger that took place at, you guessed it, Toca Madera. Sorry, Scheana. There’s no amount of Botox that can fix that one.