Petty Cash Taqueria
712 S Santa Fe Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90021
Dining date: 10/21/15
Petty Cash’s Arts District location officially opened a couple of months ago. I’ve been there once during its soft opening when Javier Plascensia and Tim Hollingsworth were guest chefs. I’ve also been there for post-dinner drinks, but this was my first time having a full meal.
In a city full of cheap taco options, one of the primary criticisms is that Petty Cash is too expensive. It’s definitely above average pricing at $4-6 apiece, though the quality of the ingredients is a differentiating factor. Sustainable fish for the fish tacos, Cook Pigs Ranch pork for the carnitas and prime grade ribeye for carne asada are a few examples. Happy hour (weekdays 5-7) is a great time to score some of these tacos at more approachable prices. On top of a couple of drink specials, tacos are 2-for-1. On this visit, we just made the cutoff coming in at 6:45.
AGUA FRESCA a blend of watermelon, pineapple, mint
Fresh agua frescas are available with and without alcohol. We got one with gin, one with tequila and one virgin.
KUMAMOTO OYSTERS jalapeno mignonette
Oysters were $2 apiece during happy hour. These were very sweet alongside a spicy and acidic mignonette.
BOMB.COM guacamole, santa barbara sea urchin, chicharrones
One of the restaurant’s most buzz-worthy dishes is this one. It is essentially their guacamole topped with uni and served with chicharrones. Sounds like kind of an odd combination, though the uni actually paired well with the guacamole.
A quick succession of tacos came next; we ordered one of each on the menu.
DORADOS crispy rolled potato tacos, tomatillo sauce, cotija cheese
GRILLED MAITAKE MUSHROOM blue corn tortilla, roasted corn, cotija cheese
WOOD FIRED OCTOPUS chile de arbol, peanuts, jack cheese, avocado
BAJA FISH TACO negra modelo beer-battered mahi-mahi, pico de gallo, cabbage, crema
COOK’S RANCH PORK BELLY CARNITAS salsa verde, guacamole
AL PASTOR adobo-chile rubbed pork shoulder, pineapple, avocado
PRIME RIB EYE CARNE ASADA pinto beans, guacamole
CHICKEN ADOBO acorn squash, escabeche, avocado
Favorites for me were the baja fried fish taco, carne asada, carnitas and al pastor. The fish taco was nicely fried; crispy and moist fish were complemented by cabbage and crema. Carne asada featured chunks of delicious prime ribeye with avocado, while al pastor was tender and full of flavor. The carnitas were very tender and flavorful, thanks to the pork belly. The octopus was tender but a little fishy while the chicken adobo was just kind of uninteresting. I would return again especially for happy hour – the $2-3 pricing per taco is a great price for the quality of proteins used.