cactus and chicken tacos, at left
That's probably a pretty rash statement, but Chowhound poster Dommy, who really knows her Mexican food, wasn't afraid to throw down the gauntlet. Sabor a Mexico is a small spot on National hard by the Santa Monica freeway on ramp, with the dining room and the ordering counter curiously bisected by a car stereo store. There are patio tables overlooking the scenic on ramp, and on weekend evenings they set up a taco table on the patio with $1 tacos.
But the menu extends far beyond tacos, to Mexico City style quesadillas, which are homemade tortillas stuffed with various interesting things like squash blossoms or epazote and deep-fried, more like an empanada, yet fairly light. There's queso fundido, chilequiles, several types of tortas, huaraches, breakfast and 17 different types of tacos -- hard shell, veggie, al carbon, guisado, you name it.
We tried it for lunch Saturday after the Ca Boom show in Santa Monica, and I'm not sure I'm going to switch my allegiance from La Super Rica right away, but it was definitely promising -- and a lot closer. Kathy enjoyed her tinga de pollo taco (stewed chicken in chipotle sauce). I wasn't too wild about the kind of bland grilled chicken taco, which needed a few of their many varieties of salsa to perk it up. But the nopalitos (cactus) taco and the quesadilla with squash blossoms were much more interesting and flavorful. The housemade jamaica drink wasn't quite as good as Loteria, but still much better than the industrial versions.
Sabor a Mexico is kind of a bastard nino between yuppie Westside Mexican food (no lard, only canola oil), and authentic Mexico City-style home cooking. Don't miss the awesome salsa selection, especially the creamy chipotle and avocado varieties. Plus, they deliver, it's cheap, and you can get some massive speakers installed in your car while you eat.
Sabor a Mexico
8940 National Blvd.