Tintorera Is The Silver Lake Terrace Of Your Dreams
In 1977, film director René Cardona Jr. released a Mexican adaptation of the blockbuster Jaws—but we'll get back to that in a moment.
For the last few years, Walter Meyenberg, the Mexican restaurateur and designer, has been coming to Los Angeles to finish the tattoo sleeve covering his left arm. Meyenberg grew to love the city, and then had an idea. "He told me, L.A. is a great city and it needs good restaurants," Maycoll Calderon, chef and owner of Mexico City's Huset, and a business partner of Meyenberg's, said.
The two began scouring L.A for a space. The idea? A seafood-centered restaurant with an open terrace. "Los Angeles has the first pick of seafood from around the world: Asia, Baja, you get it all here," Calderon continued. "And the produce in California is amazing. You have everything. Once I saw the produce, I just got inspired."
Last summer, Meyenberg and Calderon settled on Silver Lake, in the former Cowboys & Turbans space. The name? "It's a seafood restaurant, so we played with that idea. That's how we got to Tintorera."
Tintorera is the Spanish word for a tiger shark, and also the name of the Cardona film—the original banned poster displayed in the bar. "One of the actors of the film came into my restaurant in Mexico," Calderon says, beaming. "I told him we are opening Tintorera in Los Angeles. He didn't believe me, at first. Now he says he will bring the actors and the director when we open."
What Calderon and Meyenberg have created is something wholly original: idiosyncratic, yet mature; playful, yet elegant. If Los Angeles claims to be at the forefront of the national dining scene, it is the arrival of a place like Tintorera that validates it. Calderon does not rely on novelty or insta-genic creations to attract diners, but his menu does not play it safe, either. Each dish is laced with the chef's voice, and the restaurant as a whole rests on this confidence.
The terrace is lush and comfortable—hanging lights and thick green flora surrounding large wooden tables. The menu is simple, but packed with bright, balanced flavors. Seared snapper is served on a sesame emulsion and topped with snap peas and chile. A plate of tuna tartar is drizzled with a jalapeno emulsion and sits on a bed of avocado ("sexy tuna" as Calderon calls it). Sea bass, radish and guacamole top a charred tostada—a dish that, served with a chilled beer on a warm night, makes you question why you made any commitments for later.
"That's why we have good food, a beautiful terrace, great drinks from David [who heads the inside speakeasy], it's so people can chill out and relax," Calderon continues. "I think Silver Lake needs that."
Tintorera soft opens Wednesday and the kitchen will serve dinner Monday through Saturday, and lunch on Sundays. Daily lunch and weekend brunch will be available at a later date. A bar (without a name) is also hidden inside.
Tintorera is located at 2815 Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake. Hours are yet undefined. Reservations will be available soon via Resy.