It’s no wonder this is a Koreatown standby. The family-operated cubbyhole typifies the fresh-off-the-griddle Mexican cooking that sustains much of L.A. Truck drivers and late-night clubbers occupy the counter seats, from which one can see shrimp fajitas sizzling, a broiler crowded with browning golden chiles, and drink coolers full of homemade horchata and jamaica tea—the taste of hibiscus coming through.
Best Chiles Relleno, March 2007
Sisters Rosa Romero and Graciela Gurrolla tend the stove at Romero’s. Their father, Don Carlos, might be found sorting through pinto beans on a back table as their mother, Maria, clears the dishes. Sports trophies adorn the busy restaurant. Several times a week Rosa appears with a bowl of batter whose egg whites make soft peaks. She dips roasted, hand-peeled pasilla chiles into the mix before laying them on a hot griddle to billow and brown. When a chiles rellenos order comes up, she spoons homemade salsa de enchilada over the peppers, sprinkles them with Jack cheese, and sets them under the broiler. The complex flavors—cheese, roasted pepper, toasted chiles in the salsa—are captured in each airy bite.