Maradentro Brentwood is the newest name in Mercado Chef's Jose Acevedo line of quality Mexican restaurants in Los Angeles.
While I live on the westside near the beach, there's a part of Wilshire Boulevard that my car just doesn't seem to travel beyond. I draw the line at about Pier One, or more realistically, BevMo. Any further east, Brentwood turns to Westwood, and bad traffic turns into brain numbing bumper to bumper pain. Recently, however, a good friend took a job on Wilshire at Barrington in the dreaded dead zone. We were going to see a show at Royce Hall so somehow she convinced me to come to her office and check out the new restaurant Maradentro.
Somehow I missed Maradentro's opening this year. It may have had something to do with the location, but it's a restaurant from Chef Jose Acevedo, who's the man behind top notch Mexican spots Mercado and Xyta, along with partner Jesse Gomez. There is a Maradentro in Studio City, but you can assume if I'm not driving on parts of Wilshire, Studio City is going to be a real stretch.
Maradentro is catty corner to Brentwood fav, Bandera. High glass walls line the exterior of Maradentro and light streams in from Wilshire. A long golden wood bar sits opposite large, comfy banquettes and a patio out back offers some covered, outdoor seating. The atmosphere is bright and cheery.
The menu is fairly straight forward, but not in an El Cholo way. You'll find more refined Mexican classics like guacamole with lobster and bacon, hamachi three ways or a really clean ceviche served on two crisp tortilla shells, stacked high with cilantro, tomatoes, avocado and citrus.
Five different taco options range from beer-bettered fish tacos to chile morita-marinated shrimp tacos with just the right amount of everything. Dishes are reasonably priced at $12 and $14 respectively for the taco plates.
For larger plates, you can choose from one of seven entrees, including Chef Jose's Mercado carnitas, a dish he's made quite a name for himself with slow-cooked natural pork, market vegetables, guacamole and salsa. A unique item for Maradentro is the chile relleno de siete mares. It's almost a deconstructed relleno with the chile laying open on the bottom of a large bowl, and tender pieces of shrimp, scallops, mussels, salmon, clams, and calamari floating in a warm and tangy tomato-chile broth. If LA ever gets a rainy day, this is what I'm going to be craving.
There's red and white wine, along with nearly a dozen Mexican and local beers. I went with the Spicy Cucumber Margarita to see how it compared with my recent recipe for the same. It definitely held up and was well balanced with the right amount of spice. There are other special margaritas utilizing seasonal fruit or you can grab Sangria or a Michelada.
Maradentro Brentwood gave me a new reason to keep driving along Wilshire Boulevard. The food is well produced, reasonably priced and served in a nice atmosphere.
1168 S. Barrington Avenue, Brentwood