Bad Son Tacos is a sliver of a taqueria, tucked inside an Asian supermarket that you’ll find deep within a Little Tokyo shopping mall.
The titular “bad son” is co-owner and chef Elvis Prado, who left a two-year job managing his dad’s Lincoln Heights restaurant, La Morenita, following a father-son argument.
“It just got to a point where we couldn’t work together anymore,” says Prado. “Everything’s cool with my dad now. It was just one little fight that ended after a couple of days. When he learned about the name [Bad Son], he just laughed it off.”
Though the squabble was short-lived, it lead Prado to open up this place of his own with longtime friend and partner David Balandran. That same day he quit, he stopped at Little Tokyo Market Place, where he’d shopped for fish for La Morenita, and decided to ask about the habitually changing food court space that would soon turn into Bad Son Tacos.
The taqueria is currently serving burritos, quesadillas, tacos and aguas frescas along with street corn, beans and queso fundido with add-ons like chorizo and mushrooms.
“People who try our food say it reminds them of their grandma’s cooking,” says Prado. “It’s what I cook at home, recipes I learned from my mom and from friends. It’s just good home cooking carried over to a restaurant.”
So far, the most popular tacos include a sweet, chocolate-tinged chicken mole with queso fresco and Mexican sour cream cross-stitched across the top. There’s also a rich, moderately spicy pork verde that’s similar in texture to a guisado. And a straightforward carnitas that Prado prepares every day in the morning that tends to sell out by the afternoon.
Other noteworthy tacos include steak picado, a shredded chicken tinga and vegetarian options such as calabacitas and mushrooms.
Prado, who has a corporate background but has been cooking his “whole life,” wants to add daily specials and exclusive tacos in the weeks to come, including a Thursday-only torta using a pink bolillo he found that is sure to stand out.
“It’s all about bringing fresh and authentic Mexican food to a little area in downtown that is lacking it,” says Balandran.
“We’ve learned that people who work around here don’t have a lot of variety,” Prado continues. “Usually it’s ramen or sushi. They’ve mentioned that it was hard to get a taco around here. So when we opened, the lunch rush was crazy. It blew up.”
333 S. Alameda St., Suite 100E, Los Angeles, (213) 278-0364, badsontacos.com.