TLT FOOD DOWNTOWN
NEW LOCATION—SAME QUALITY EATS
Chef Daniel Shemtob, co-founder of TLT Food, has opened a second restaurant, this time in downtown Los Angeles—the original brick and mortar location being in the heart of Westwood Village.
By now, local taco lovers are well aware of the TLT Food story where Chef Daniel and his partner Jason Quinn made an impressive name for themselves by winning The Great American Food Truck Race competition. A fast-casual, chef-driven restaurant, TLT Food delivers savory fare to a loyal and growing taco-lovin’ foodie nation.
“When we started our food truck we used all of our savings, and we put together a concept of what we thought people would love and enjoy,” Chef Daniel explains. “Our concept was simple: deliver amazing food, use quality ingredients, make things from scratch, and make the experience great from start to finish.”
Unlike the larger Westwood location, the downtown TLT Food is more of a quaint shop, as it’s a lot smaller but still manages to deliver its signature bold and big taste. And thanks to a solid relationship with its immediate neighbor in Silo Vodka Bar, you can actually order your food in the bar and enjoy a larger dining area and a fully stocked bar. The price is slightly higher in the bar but the portions are a little bigger, you’re eating on real plates and of course you have a full bar to indulge from.
During our recent visit to the downtown TLT Food, we actually ate in the shop and drank the refreshing homemade juices. We skipped some of our tried and true favorites (since we know them so well) like the addictive Steak Fries; Roasted Corn; Roasted Beet Salad; and the Ultimate Taco. This time around, we started with the hearty Beef Short Rib Quesadilla, made with braised beef short rib, cheese blend, tomatillo salsa, chipotle-honey aioli, Cotija cheese topping with chips and salsa. To keep the short rib good times going, we also had the delicious Beef Short Rib Sliders trio (braised beef short ribs, aioli, red onion, arugula, served with fries, homemade pickles and Remoulade), a truly delectable delight.
Another menu standout is the Blue Crab Grilled Cheese (grilled sourdough, blue crab, cheese blend and scallions served with fries, homemade pickles and Remoulade); it’s rich, decadent and so very tasty. I was a little disappointed with the BLT Taco—it was a special of the day.
And giving the pure evil (in a good way) Steak Fries a run for its money, the Pork Belly Nachos (braised pork belly, tomatillo salsa, cheese sauce and fresh chips) are equally addictive and outrageously fabulous. The Silo Lettuce Cups (choose between Cilantro Lime Steak or Wild Mushrooms, prepared with spicy coconut sauce, peanut, carrot, butter leaf lettuce and sesame seeds) is tasty without the guilt that some of the other dishes come with.
And because TLT Food does do “greens” very well, the Loaded Brussels Sprouts (sprouts, prosciutto, garlic, chipotle honey aioli, cotija cheese and pickled red onion) are filling and loaded with flavor, and the Shishito Peppers with seasoning blend and ponzo sauce is a nice, light dish.
We had the house specialty Lime Panna Cotta for dessert, but that’s a required taste and I didn’t really care for it. It did leave me wondering how the Amazing Triple Chocolate Cake with Lime Buttercream would have been—next time.
Happy Hour at the downtown TLT Food is from 4-7pm and features 30% off the Pork Belly Nachos, Steak Fries, Short Rib Quesadilla, among others. Open until 3am on weekends, this is the place to hit up after a night on the town, or an ideal local to hit up before starting your night. Either way, you can count on tasty and affordable eats always hit the spot.
TLT Food Downtown is located at 225 W. 7th St. Call (213) 377-5333. Hours: Sun-Wed: 11am to 10pm; Thurs-Sat: 11am to 3am.
By: Jose Martinez.
Some photography courtesy of: TLT Food Downtown