Border Grill Downtown – 2/3/11

Border Grill Downtown
445 South Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA 90071

I work in the same building as Border Grill, but I can count the number of times I’ve stepped in on one hand. It just hasn’t been too much of a draw for me and my co-workers; it’s a bit pricey for a casual bite and just not quite as appealing as, say…Drago or Chaya for a more upscale meal.

Formerly Ciudad, it was re-branded a Border Grill in October – honestly, I’ve found it to be pretty much the same restaurant. When dineLA came around, the restaurant offered a $16 3-course lunch with a variety of choices. I figured it was as good a time as any to give it a try.

Every table starts with some warm tortilla chips and a trio of salsas. This is a really nice way to start with fresh tortilla chips, and my favorite salsa is the green tomatillo.

My co-workers ordered the empanada/tamale and soup, while I opted for the ceviche.

Plantain Empanada and Green Corn Tamale roasted plantains, black beans, poblano chile, cotija cheese, sweet corn, sour cream, salsa fresca

Tortilla Soup roasted tomato chipotle, panela cheese, avocado

Baja Ceviche lime marinated sustainable seasonal fish, shrimp, cilantro, jalapeño, crispy handmade corn tortilla, cilantro aioli, avocado

I snuck a taste of the tortilla soup. I didn’t think it had too much flavor, though it was welcome on a cold day. The ceviche, on the other hand, had bright fresh flavors with the lime, cilantro and avocado complementing the fish. A little bit of jalapeno provided the heat, while the fried corn tortilla added some texture.

My co-workers went for the pork taco and enchilada, while I had the Yucatan pork.

Chuleta de Puerco en Pipian Taco shredded baby back ribs, roasted poblano, cactus slaw, pipian sauce

Chicken Poblano Enchiladas slow roasted chicken, handmade corn tortillas, poblano hoja santa cream, grilled corn, wild mushrooms, roasted poblano peppers

Yucatan Pork achiote pork roasted in banana leaf, grilled onion, orange, cinnamon red rice, black beans, plantain orange salsa, handmade corn tortilla

The pork was pretty tender, though not as flavorful as I expected from a piece of pork shoulder. I liked the variety of sides, though, and the guacamole was excellent.

Next was dessert.

Capirotada warm bread pudding, caramelized apples, cream cheese, roasted pecans, vanilla bean ice cream

This bread pudding was lukewarm. A little bit of cinnamon spice was apparent, and it had a good apple flavor. Not bad, but nothing special.

Goat Milk Cajeta Flan caramel sauce

The flan was much richer than I anticipated, with a strong but not overwhelming goat cheese flavor. I liked the caramel, which added a welcome sweetness.

Our meal at Border Grill was okay. Nothing really stood out strongly in the positive or negative, but I think the meal was a pretty good deal at $16. However, with so many stronger dining options in downtown, I’m not sure when I’ll be back. Maybe for happy hour.


  1. The only thing that really stood out to me when I dined at Border Grill last year was the tamale. Everything else was, well, lukewarm. 😉

  2. I was never a huge fan of Ciudad, and I’ve never understood the appeal of Border Grill. The only time I ate at Border Grill was in Vegas…when we had a $25 gift certificate. 😛

    1. A gift certificate always helps! I think Border Grill may have been a more unique concept in the 90’s with its upscale Mexican cuisine, but not as much nowadays.

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