A new Mexican Cantina – Tallula’s – by Josh Loeb, Zoe Nathan and Jeremy Fox of Rustic Canyon, Milo & Olive, Huckleberry’s and a hand full of others, has opened in the old Marix space in Santa Monica Canyon. The interior has not changed much, just a slight update with bright colors, lighter tables and a slightly more open feel. The bustling location offers updated Mexican cuisine with a walkable location for locals, beach goers and tourist alike.
When first entering, the noise level was extremely high, but I was hopeful the food would make up for racket. The cocktail menu has a variety of options from gin to rum drinks and a variety of tequilas. The Westsider, a concoction of Reposado Tequila, Elderflower Liqueur, Lime, Mint, Cucumber and a hit of Jalapeno is most popular. It reminded me of an old school Midori Sour, but with a bit of heat, I loved it.
The Snacks portion of the menu, has standard chips & salsa for $6 and guacamole and chips for $12 — a little on the high side, in my opinion. We jumped into the Small Plates portion of the menu with Yellowtail Ceviche with lime, chilies and avocado. The flavors popped with citrus and the fish was simply divine. The portion was a little skimpy for $18, but this isn’t Casa Sanchez, they have chefs making your food here.
Duck Chilaquiles with Cracklings, Beans and Colorado Sauce left me a little unfulfilled. The duck was sparse, as were the beans, but I did love the rustic flavors of the sauce. We definitely should of added an egg, but it was too hard to communicate with our waitress, while ordering.
The Grilled Black Bass Tacos with Mexican Sauerkraut and Malt Aioli had all the flavors of Mexico City – sophisticated, authentic and divine. The fish was juicy and sweet with a nice contrasting pickled cabbage and delicately creamy condiments. I could of eaten another plate of these.
The Larger Plates, looked tremendous — Lamb & Black Beer, Hanger Steak, Grilled Swordfish and Arroz Poblano just to name a few. My recommendation is to go early to cut down on the noise or late night, after 9:00 p.m. FYI – 19% gratuity is added to all checks, even if you are going just for drinks!