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Vegan Mexican restaurant Gracias Madre to open Friday

Gracias Madre, a vegan Mexican restaurant from the team behind Cafe Gratitude, is set to open this week.
(Gracias Madre)

Hello, cashew-cheese-topped tacos and organic tequila cocktails. Vegan Mexican restaurant and bar Gracias Madre, from the team behind Café Gratitude, is set to open on Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood on Friday.

It’s the Southern California follow-up to the original San Francisco location of Gracias Madre, launched by Matthew and Terces Englehart, who also founded the Café Gratitude chain of vegan raw restaurants.

The 5,000-square-foot Gracias Madre near Robertson Boulevard was designed by Wendy Haworth and architect Victor Corona, and features high-vaulted ceilings with wood trusses, brick walls and an outdoor patio.

The executive chef is Chandra Gilbert, whose menu spans antojitos, such as plantain-filled empanadas and tortilla chips with cashew crema; sides such as local brown rice and seasoned black beans; entrees including tamales, pozole and cauliflower and mushroom tacos; and desserts -- the vegan flan, for example.

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Beverage director Jason Eisner, formerly of downtown’s Drago Centro, is focusing on only organic tequilas and mezcal from small-batch producers. The cocktail list ($9 to $13) includes La Conquistadora, with tequila blanco, mezcal mist, housemade raspberry jam, habanero shrub, lime and a float of Tempranillo, garnished with edible flowers. La Rosa is tequila anejo, lime, housemade grenadine and an ancho-chile lime wheel. There will be several varieties of margarita, such as the Arandano with tequila blanco, cranberry jam, blood orange, flor de sel, Chinese bitters and a Chinese five-spice rim.

The gorditas are made with grilled potato-masa cakes and topped with salsa verde and cashew cream, and the quesadillas are stuffed with butternut squash, caramelized onions, cashew nacho cheese and pumpkin seed salsa. Unlike the dishes at Cafe Gratitude (titled “I Am Accepting,” “I Am Generous,” etc.), the menu here doesn’t feature weird names -- no “I Am Caliente” or such.

8905 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 978-2170, www.gracias-madre.com.

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