by RYAN HSU
Displaying a dazzling mixture of classic, freshly made Mexican foods, Mexicatessen is the epitome of an authentic Mexican restaurant.
Established in 1969, Mexicatessen has been a fixture in the Monterey Park community. Both the interior and exterior have a classic 60’s design, which is refreshing in a neighborhood full of gentrified and trendy Asian eateries.
Selections from the menu are carne asada burrito with rice for $5.85, the shrimp burrito with rice for $5.99, one soft taco asada for $1.65 and one carnitas torta for $5.25.
Carne asada burrito, which is one of their most popular items, has an unforgettable grilled-steak aroma and flavor with tomatoes, onions, cilantro, rice, mayo and a zesty-flavored sauce. It really makes a remarkable impression with its unique taste and seasoning. The taste alone makes it worth coming back for.
The shrimp burrito is stuffed with shrimp, rice, tomatoes, beans, onions and cilantro. Every single bite of the shrimp burrito was savory with a smoky mesquite flavor. Although it is considerably smaller than the carne asada burrito and a bit more costly, the shrimp burrito was decent, but not nearly as satisfying as the menu pictured it.
The soft taco asada consists of grilled steak, onions and cilantro, with freshly-made salsa on the side. Other than that, there was nothing unique or special about it. The taco asada is better as a small snack, not an actual meal, due to the lower price and measly portion.
The carnitas torta is packed with grilled pork, mayo, a spread of beans, lettuce, and tomatoes on toasted telera bread, with a zingy flavor. The carnitas torta is generously portioned, tender and well-cooked. This dish somewhat differed from the others because presentation wise, it actually resembled an American burger.
Most of the dishes in Mexicatessen are traditional Mexican food flavored with grilled meat, tomatoes, beans and cilantro. It has the advantage of being freshly-made on the spot and the portions substantially exceeds similar mom-and-pop eateries.
It is located on 830 S. Atlantic Blvd., Monterey Park. It is situated at the tip of a wedged shaped street, with a tiny awkwardly angled parking lot shared with other local businesses. However, that does not stop the regular customers, which were plentiful, from patronizing the establishment. The opening hours are Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.