Mexican restaurants are a phenomenon in Los Angeles. Every couple miles or so, you’re bound to see a rickety looking building, a dilapidated Juan’s Tacos sign, and at least a couple mismatched chairs sitting outside the front door. There’s definitely a Russian roulette of Mexican dining in the city—sometimes you get a good one, but sometimes not. There is something to be said for the mom’n’pop operations, but it’s not always a happy-ever-after—that “B” rating sign you see when exiting the restaurant leaves you a little uneasy.
This is why I was so pleasantly surprised when eating at La Sirena Grill recently. This place is definitely not rickety or questionable, but certainly delicious. Located in the El Segundo Plaza, La Sirena is a large place, vaguely resembling a typical Mexican restaurant chain. Wood and metal accents decorate the walls, and the tables are fashioned out of big, hunky-looking reclaimed wood. It’s fairly typical Mexican restaurant aesthetic, but done classy and contemporary, which I always appreciate.
The menu offers a great mix of recognizable menu staples, as well as more creative preparations. Duck tamales, rock shrimp ceviche, and porcini truffle quesadillas, and that’s just the appetizers. The duck tamales are sweet and unctuous, as duck should be, with a nice mole-esque BBQ sauce. The avo-lime salad is delicious, fresh, and light. Or try a grilled romaine salad, which works beautifully with the pepita dressing.
Core Menu and Dinner Entrees items show some familiar faces: fajitas, tacos, wild mushroom chilaquiles. The spicy chile verde is pretty tasty, served with homemade tortillas, pork, and green chiles—although the heat could have been turned up, seeing as the word “spicy” is in the title.
I always order tacos. Always. I may get other things as well, but I have to try the tacos to make a fair assessment of the place. The handmade tortillas are nice, not too crumbly and not too thick. The cabbage slaw was fine and uninspired, but not a major offense. The best part was the guacamole—the quantity of guacamole no less. They do not skimp you on avocado, they pile it on! How many Mexican joints have you been to where they dollop a minuscule portion of guacamole on your plate? Not here. La Sirena is giving you your money’s worth in guac.
For a brick-and-mortar Mexican restaurant, lacking broken plastic chairs and questionable non-English-speaking owners, La Sirena Grill is a safe, tasty choice. I was surprised myself as food snobbish as I am, I never guessed I’d get great salsa and guacamole anywhere other than a taco truck. They proved me wrong.
Check them out online for hours and more information. Also, keep in touch for special events: you never know what specials they will have for September 16, Guacamole Day!
La Sirena Grill
710-D Allied Way
El Segundo, CA 90245