Rosa Mexicano

rosamexicano_p Photograph courtesy Flickr/intangiblearts

When we heard L.A. Live was bringing in a Mexican restaurant from, gulp, the East Coast, we were skeptical (and a little insulted). But this cheery, upscale spot doesn’t try to rival our carnitas stands and taco-slinging trucks. Instead the kitchen serves cleaned-up authentic Mexican along with nueva mexicana-style dishes. A chunky guacamole is made tableside. Pulled duck is layered between corn tortillas and slathered in habanero cream sauce. Each cube of beef tenderloin in the mixed grill (which also features chorizo and serrano peppers) achieves a perfect medium rare. Flavors are well balanced—maybe too much so. Even the dishes labeled “spicy” were mild to our Southern California palates. Margaritas are mainstream (many frozen or flavored), but a bang-up michelada gives some beverage cred. » 800 W. Olympic Blvd. (213-746-0001 or L Mon.-Fri.; D nightly. Full bar. Mexican   $$

Photograph courtesy Flickr/intangiblearts