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Authentic Cafe review

snackish | Feb 13, 200506:40 PM

Four of us dined at Authentic Cafe yesterday on the recommendation of my friend's boss, who is a chef. It is on the corner of Beverly & Curson near Pan-Pacific Park.

Two of us arrived earlier and ordered mojitos in the bar, where we were the only customers. It was large and very dark and cozy, though the music was a bit loud for the room, which was also the case in the restaurant. The mojitos were excellent, with lots of fresh mint, but at $9 a pop, they should be good IMO.

We got seated fairly quickly in the bustling restaurant. We were in what looked to be the larger room away from the kitchen. More bad, loud music - but I am very sensitive to loud noise, so I may just be whining.

We got nachos while we waited for our other two - good chips, black beans, nice mole sauce, coupla kinds of cheese melted together - but oddly cold. I mean, how do you melt cheese and leave the mole and beans cold? It almost defied logic.

Service was good, attentive though perfunctory - they didn't feel the need to explain or go over the specials, I guess, since they were printed on a sheet inserted in the menu.

Miss S. got the fried catfish on a bed of corn succotash served with plaintains. She liked the whole thing. Mr. J got steak salad, which was crisp and nice baby greens, nothing unusual, with small strips of grilled steak throughout, and he enjoyed. Mr. Snackish pronounced his wet burrito flavorless and nothing special. He is a pretty particular eater.

I had a very large and very good bowl of roasted eggplant soup with smoked paprika. It was pureed and quite rich, though not cream-based.

I got curry-panko crusted fried tofu on a bed of asian veg with peanut sauce. I liked the melting texture of the hot tofu combined with the crispy panko. They curry flavor was not at all pronounced. The asian veg with peanut sauce were pretty subtle too, all in all good but not worth going back for. It came with about 1/2 cup of jasmine rice, perhaps a nod to LA's carb-consciousness.

I got the homemade horchata, because the words "homemade horchata" are like catnip to me...but alas it was pretty weak and watery. Sad.

No one drank alcohol at dinner aside from one beer. Our tab sans mojitos was $89, pretty cheap but I can't say we'll be rushing back.

We had had lunch at Loteria, and we were charmed and will be going back there.

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