After driving/walking by this gleaming new hole in the wall many times in the last several months, I finally got it together to visit El Metate at 5305 N. Figueroa. The restaurant is tiny, 2 or 3 small tables and counter seating opposite the grill. While studying the short menu on the wall, I watch the chef dip several tortillas into chile and throw them onto the grill where after bubbling for a few minutes, he filled them with a handful of queso fresco, onion and cilantro and then served them immediately topped with a bit more crumbled cheese and salsa. I've been unable to find enchiladas in LA made this way, as I had them in Michoacan, not baked with heavy layers of cheese, but light and fresh, spending just moments on the grill.
On my second visit I had a delicious asada torta, with perfectly crunchy asada and the tortta roll toasted on the grill.
Finally, yesterday I had my first rubenada, a "sandwhich" of 2 tortillas grilled with buche and melted cheese. The tortillas were wonderfully crunchy and with the homemade beans and excellent roasted chile salsas, I couldn't have asked for a better meal. The agua frescas are homemeade and are good, if not great.
Overall, I couldn't reccomend el Metate more highly for a reminder of true Mexican street food. I think it's far superior to Chico's, the La Fuentes, or any of the other Mexican places on the Figueroa corridor in Highland Park and is much more similar to Huarches Azteca. Furthermore, the staff is extremely friendly and obviously take a lot of pride in their food.
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