Openings: The Charcoal Grill in downtown L.A.

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The Charcoal Grill, which is located next door to Pitfire Pizza on 2nd Street in downtown L.A. and has been in the works for what seems like forever, is now open. I’ve been paying close attention because the places I can get to quickly for lunch can get pretty tired pretty fast. (That means you, Pitfire, even though I eat there despite myself, and my feeling of being bored with you doesn’t have anything to do with you being tasty or not.)

The place is clean and utilitarian with counter service and a smattering of attractive tables. (‘Kind of like Pitfire but with Latin flair,’ a co-worker just told me.) The menu is large and affordable with prices ranging from $2.25 for a taco to $13.95 for a grilled sirloin or chicken plate served with a mole enchilada, rajas poblanas, guacamole, mango gallo, sour cream and three (yes, precisely three, according to the menu) grilled scallions.

Other dishes include fajitas, nachos, cream of bean soup, cactus salad, cajeta flan and a build-your-own burrito option that looks pretty intriguing. Choose stuffings including steak, shrimp, chicken, chorizo, grilled poblano or cactus and top it with cheese and sauce. It’s served with Mexican rice.

I know where I’m having lunch Friday, and if I take the romance slow I may not get bored with it for quite some time to come.


-- Jessica Gelt