Name: Revolutionario. On the restaurant walls: printed photos of Martin Luther King, Ernesto “Che” Guevara and Plato.
Concept: A North African taqueria in Exposition Park, by chef and owner Farid Zadi. Zadi was born in France, his parents are Algerian, and he likes to stuff his tacos with shakshuka and falafel. Just think of him as the reigning king of fusion cuisine.
What you’re putting in your tacos, quesadillas and burritos: Zadi is making roasted cauliflower, charred vegetables, cilantro yogurt chicken, black-eyed-pea falafel, chickpea tagine, shakshouka, pozole tagine, beef brisket barbacoa, smoked lamb and duck hash, and he’s putting everything in your choice of a taco or burrito, on top of a bowl or quesadilla.
The thought of putting a scoop of hominy and stewed vegetables on a quesadilla is foreign to most, but the combination of the heavily spiced vegetables, tender hominy and warm melted cheese is something you will learn to crave.
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Why you’ll make 10 trips to the condiment bar: Zadi is making all of his own condiments, and most are his version of salsa. These include a tomatilla salsa and a harissa salsa, which is a deep rust color and adds a punch of the pepper paste to each bite. Riffing on escabeche, Zadi also has pickled carrots, pickled onions and pickled radishes, as well as a version of kimchi, with strips of hot, pickled cabbage.
There is a sign letting you know the condiment bar is not a salad bar. You will need this as a constant reminder to restrain yourself from dumping the entire container of kimchi onto your paper plate.
That shrimp dish that looks like sushi on everyone’s table: It’s shrimp causa, and it comes with three delicate pieces of amaebi shrimp over a sweet Peruvian potato salad topped with shiso pesto, leche de tigre and scallions. You eat this one with your hands, and in a single bite.
Why half the restaurant facade is covered in smoke: Zadi smokes the lamb for his tacos, burritos and Quintilla’s outside, in a BBQ, for six hours. This creates a cloud of smoke you actually won’t mind revisiting on your clothes later.
Specialty items you need to ask for: North African briks with paper-thin, crisp shells around cheese and scrambled egg or sweet pepper and a poached egg. Slice it like a pizza to share or just fold it once and eat it like a piece of pizza. He runs out, so make sure to ask for them as soon as you arrive.
What you’re drinking: House-made passion-fruit and mango juice; watermelon lemonade or mint tea, all displayed in plastic cups in a small refrigerator, on top of the cans of Coke and Sprite.
The reason you have to save room for dessert: There are actually five reasons why you must save room for dessert. They involve light and airy churro puffs; deep-fried tortilla strips covered in cinnamon sugar; makroud, also known as Algerian date newtons smothered in a rich orange honey; lighter-than-air almond cigars with hibiscus lemon syrup; and cashew samsas with blood orange marmalade.
Info: 1436 W. Jefferson Blvd., Los Angeles, (424) 223-3526, www.revolutionario.com.
One time, for breakfast, I put Sriracha in my oatmeal. Follow me on Twitter @Jenn_Harris_