When you think of Sawtelle Japantown, you certainly don’t think of Mexican food. Yet, tucked in a row of Japanese restaurants is Sonoritas Prime Tacos, an unlikely inhabitant in the midst of ramen and sushi restaurants. Sonoritas focuses on the cuisine of the Sonora region of Mexico, which means lots of grilled meats.
As soon as you sit down, a basket of chips and a trio of salsas are placed on the table. These fresh salsas came with a spoon (how civilized) and were not spicy. The heat came from the chips, which were dusted with either a chili or cayenne spice mixture.
With the recent spike in avocado prices, ordering guacamole as an appetizer felt like a luxury. Sonorities does a nice presentation with two big scoops, studded with chunks of tomatoes and onions, topped with pepitas.
On the weekends, Sonoritas serves brunch, with dishes you would expect like huevos rancheros to the unexpected red velvet waffles. The huevos had a more refined presentation than the norm, with fresh flour quesadillas, topped with a salsa tatemada (charred tomatoes and chiles), sunny side up eggs and beans on the side – sooooo good. These flour tortillas were definitely not your typical tortilla. Here, the flour tortillas are very thin and delicate, just thick enough to hold the cheese and not tear under the weight.
The tacos were on the small side, although not as small as the 3.5 inch tacos that were also available. The grilled veggie taco – zucchini, squash, cactus, red onions, avocado and cilantro – tasted healthy, though the grill gave the veggies a more robust flavor.
Usually an al pastor taco would be my favorite, but not so here. The meat wasn’t as flavorful as I expected, but the pineapple salsa was a nice touch. Better in execution was the carne asada, topped with more of that tasty guacamole and pickled red onions. While I ate my tacos, my mind kept thinking about my husband’s huevos rancheros and how I wished I had ordered that dish instead. Never underestimate the power of melted cheese inside a freshly made tortilla.
The care in presentation and the quality of ingredients almost make Sonoritas seem, in its own way, Japanese. I had thought when Sonorities had opened that they would be struggling in a neighborhood known for Japanese fare. However, it has managed to hold its own, with a patio filled with diners on the weekends – a nice reflection of the great melting pot that is Los Angeles.
Location – 2004 Sawtelle Blvd., Los Angeles 90025
Website – http://sonoritas.com
Kid-Friendly – Yes
Kid’s Menu – No
Vegetarian/Vegan Friendly – Yes
Gluten-Free Options – Yes