I first spotted a papered up Dona Cata in the beginning of October and feared that they had gone under, but was quickly informed on Twitter that they were actually just changing names and menu. So I did a little sleuthing and found on their site, that on September 28th, 2012, the owners of Dona Cata announced they would no longer continue with the concept of the restaurant, which was homage and remembrance of their abuelita Catalina Espejo Munoz, and instead would re-open as La Tequilera, focusing on fun, tequila, burgers and tacos, cantina style.
So the interior looks basically the same, with a bit more space, tacky decorations off the wall (which I personally liked). The menu is simple and available online.
I made a visit today for a late lunch after work to see what had changed. First off, there is no more salsa bar, which I greatly lament the loss of. Instead, they now bring you two salsas (no salsa and chips upon seating? fail..), a salsa verde (which I highly suspect to come from Herdez, the stuff I use at home) and some other one I can’t identify.
Oh well, I figure the focus isn’t all tacos anymore, so it’s understandable, but I still wanted to order them to see if they were the same. First up, Shrimp Taco “baja style” – 2 warm corn tortilla with sauted garlic shrimps, lettuce & cilantro salad and special creamy spicy chipotle sauce 1 for $6, 2 for $10.
Not bad, not good. Just okay, pricey for $6 and small shrimps.
Two more tacos, pastor (chili pork & pineapple) and nopales (cactus). Pretty much the same, aside from the price as it went up from $2 to $2.50 now. Also it might just be me, but have the tortillas gotten smaller as well?
Finally, since I had a craving for it and it caught my eye, I ordered Ceviche: “Levanta Muertos” (to raise the dead); cocktail of citrus poached shrimp, “chilango style” with chopped onion, tomato, avocado in a tomato house juice $9.
I honestly felt ripped off for this…and I understand the cost of making food in a kitchen. Not a lick of citrus flavour was present in this, not to mention the shrimp look and taste like the cocktail ones, and that paltry thin quarter sliver of avocado on top. To add salt to the wound were the costco bought tortilla chips!! Oh and where’s the tomato sauce? I can’t say much else except that it was extremely disappointing to receive this cruel joke.
I can and have made better ceviche than this at home, and of course it’s a far cry from the ceviche I ate on the streets of Mazatlan. Still, for a restaurant run by Mexicans offering Mexican food and to have had such a great reputation as Dona Cata, this was not one bit authentic or genuine at all. Fuming at my $22.40 bill as I drove home, I realized I could have enjoyed a much better lunch at La Taqueria or El Caracol..or heck, even if I went all the way out West to Topanga Cafe.
Upon further pondering, I wonder if the reason why they named it La Tequilera is to capitalize on spelling mistakes of La Taqueria? Food for thought…