Zengo

Richard Sandoval has a string of upscale Latin restaurants across the country. The Santa Monica Place branches of Zengo and its sister restaurant La Sandia are his first in California. Zengo attempts to fuse the varied cuisines of Mexico and Asia with dishes like Peking duck tacos, rice noodles with pork carnitas, and sushi rolls spiced up with chipotle. The fried plantains are exemplary (and wickedly gooey) and achiote-hoisin pork arepas hit that magical mark between sweet and savory. A chipotle miso soup questionably spiked with truffle oil, however, goes overboard with salt, and the masala-achiote chicken tandoori bears little resemblance to any Indian dish we’ve seen. Add the tamarind-togarashi margarita to your list of new classic cocktails.