Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Super Tortas Is Just OK--Super Tortas, Hollywood

If I gave myself a dollar for every time I correctly predicted an onslaught of FOCD (Food Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), I'd be a millionaire. It usually happens to me when I try a restaurant or a certain type of food for the first time. I let the digestive juices settle, a day or two will go by perhaps, and then "Man, why can't I stop thinking about (fill in the blank)...??? I've gotta go get some!"

Well this time, FOCD struck and struck hard after my first
recent experience with tortas. I was looking for any excuse to get to Studio City just so I could zip in to Tortas Mexico and get me another one of them fabulous Mexican sandwiches. But luck would have it that I never had any need to go to that side of the Valley over the last few days so the torta urge would either have to wait or take me elsewhere.

Luck did have it, however, that we were hungry while driving around running errands the other day and just happened to be near a tortas joint that I've heard about on
Chowhound a few times. With a name like Super Tortas, I hardly knew what to think. Would they be "Super" like Supercuts and suck ass in a most generic way??? Or "Super" like Superman and save the day??? Or would they be "Super" as in Super-sized??? There's only one way to find out...

The tiny eating establishment, located on the bottom floor of the same Fountain and Vine mini-mall that houses La Floridita Cuban restaurant and nightclub, had not a soul in it when we walked in; not even an employee in sight...had we entered the
Twilight Zone? We stood at the counter for a few long seconds; finally a woman walked out of the back. "You can sit anywhere you like," she said. Uh, ya think? I could tell that this was gonna be SUPER strange.

As I grazed on tortilla chips that tasted suspiciously like they came from Ralphs and a tangy, spicy tomato salsa, I decided to order a torta milanesa off of the "new items" section of the menu, a move which I don't know if I should have or shouldn't have done. From what I hear, this milanesa torta containing thinly pounded and breaded steak is a quite popular type of torta (at least that's what my Mexican coworkers tell me), so why it would be a "new" item for an established restaurant specializing in tortas is a little beyond me. But I let it go; I was probably just being paranoid.

Super-market chips

It was just OK, this "new-on-the-menu" milanesa torta. Nothing that came close to the slew of "You know which one you have to try??? The milanesa tortas! Aww man, we used to have those all the time in Mexico City--they're the best" comments that I got when I told my coworkers that I had a torta for the first time. I did like the steak--it was pretty tasty and its texture was just right, pounded thin and crispy along the edges. Everything else about the sandwich, however, was just *eh.* It just wasn't a cohesive sandwich, the ingredients didn't work together as a team, if you know what I mean. Avocado and mayonnaise provided a cool creamy touch, but the slices of iceberg lettuce and tomato were just too big, causing them to slide around and causing me at times to pull whole pieces out with my teeth when I took a bite. The bolillo roll was also a bit big and was also a bit on the cold side, making the torta too "bready." If we're ever gonna make this work, I need teamwork dammit!

Maybe they meant "Super" as in Super Big Bread

Or maybe they meant "Super" as in Super Slip N' Slide

I never got a chance to try (or photogragh!) Isaac's chicken tacos, but he said they were "OK." Not your typical small taco truck or taqueria tacos with nice, charred, smoky chunks of meat; these were a little larger, containing a mixture of seasoned shredded chicken, onions bell peppers and tomatoes, kinda sorta like something you'd find in a larger, maybe even corporate Mexican restaurant.

Besides seating us, taking our order and bringing our food out, the lady who had been helping us had been in the back the entire time and not been in sight at all. Not to mention the fact that we'd been the only customers in the restaurant the whole time. Suddenly, she brings out two little bowls of menudo for us to try. "Here. We have menudo now," she said "You try." Hmm, that was cool of her; free menudo is always good in my book! We added some of the condiments she brought: onion, oregano and lime, and dug in. The pieces of tripe were a bit too much on the chewy side but the broth had a nice kick to it. I wanted to thank the lady and tell her what I thought of the menudo, but she had disappeared again! And oh yeah, she'd forgotten to bring us our drinks...pretty sneaky. So there we sat, looking towards the kitchen hoping that by looking that way, it'd make her come out of her cave sooner. Minutes passed and finally Isaac got up and walked toward the counter. "Uh, hello?" he said. "Oh, oh, I'm sorry! I forgot your drinks!" she said, running out of the back. We told her to forget 'em and just paid our bill. Super odd.

Maybe if we give them menudo, they won't notice the drinks!

Nothing was super: the torta was OK, the service was OK (poor attention but good intentions equals "OK"); I'd give them another chance, but my expectations won't be super-high. Oh but this trip to Super Tortas did cure me of Tortas FOCD! (For now, at least!)

Super Tortas
1253 Vine St. , # 8
Hollywood, CA 90038
(323) 469-8912


Kirk said...

Errrrgh Your rolls weren't toasted, and they forgot your drinks? I'd say that's kind of FOCD up!

Doran said...

Ewww, that's the bready kind of torta I was talking about with your review of Tortas Mexico (which has delicious tortas). As for the menudo, it looks brown, where I'm used to red. Mebbe it's just the camera. My favorite menudo is El Mexicano in NoHo and El Matador in Monrovia. I also had an excellent bowlfull last Sunday at some little place on DeSoto in Canoga Park, but ummmmmm, I didn't notice the name of the place. Oops. :(

Charlie said...

I don't know much about tortas, but if you're in studio city, north hollywood, or burbank, try the tortas at Casitas Taco. My favorite is the Al Pastor Torta, but the chicken is also very good. They are fantastically messy, so if cohesion is a requirement in your tortas, you might want to skip these.

Rosa said...

For the best milanesa tortas, try El Gallo Giro (http://www.gallogiro.com/). Talk about torta teamwork. Everything sort of fuses together in a gloppy, crispy, fried edges, creamy way. The location in Huntington Park is open 24 hours and is always jumping.

ryan said...

damn it. great site, great review! wish i'd read it sooner.