Profile: La Reyna Grand Opening
[Note from the editor: This is part two of NoSmell Bob’s 74-part review of La Reyna Grand Opening. Read part one here.]
Nearly two months have passed since my time at La Reyna. I’m moving this weekend, and while throwing my life into greasy boxes scavenged from the Ladera Center parking lot, I discovered a dusty and unmarked old cd-r under a pile of receipts and spare change. Curious, I loaded that badboy into my laptop and found the pictures taken to document that fateful mexican breakfast on 7th and Mateo. Hazy memories of gamey sausage links and slithery mexican food began to coalesce in my mind. It was time to write the review.
My first impression of La Reyna was something like “Wow, these people look a little nervous.” I quickly became distracted, however, by the numerous fake-looking swordfish on the walls. The swordfish were present in many sizes and instantly put me in a great mood for some reason. The nautical theme made me want to order some seafood, but the B rating and my instructions to sample the breakfast menu kept me on point.
The menu had a wide variety of breakfast items, and by now I forget most of them. The world of mexican-style breakfast is unknown to me, in any case, so ordered 2 items. I tried to interrogate the waitress, probing for some fast facts regarding the “Grand Opening” as advertised on the sign out front. Much like the smiling gentleman greeter at the door, my queries were met with confusion and shrugs. Next time, La Reyna, I’m bringing someone who speak spanish.
She brought some fresh corn chips and a little bowl of some of the best salsa I’ve encountered in some time and then with surprising quickness, my breakfast. The first order, a standard Ohio-boy spread of 2 eggs, hashbrown potatos, sausage links, and toast. And then an order of those mysterious-sounding chilaquiles. The american-style breakfast was served first, by our nervous waitress. The eggs were done as specified, the hashbrowns were a bit cold and greasy, and the toast was spongy and room temperature. The sausage links really stood out, as I was served 3 (an awkward and mildly disconcerting number when dealing with breakfast items that are not pancakes); desiccated and chewy, they packed a concentrated sausage flavor and I was unable to eat more than two. The chilaquiles were a previously-unknown dish for me, and seemed to be a gooey concoction of egg, cheese, chiles, and slimy corn tortillas. Gulps of coffee seemed to curdle this in my stomach yet the overall impression was that of something perfect for destroying a hangover- a cheesy protein-packed addition to my post-binge breakfast arsenal. I approve.
My photographer ordered some sort of chile verde roast pork dish, and it was excellent. The pork was tender and obviously long in the roasting, and the fatty meat in mild green chiles was complemented by the standard-but-better-than-we-expected salad, rice, beans, and tortillas. Bloated and happy, I scarfed down the last of the chips and that great salsa, and tried to express my desire for a dessert of some kind to the waitress. Again, a language barrier kept me from my goal, and after figuring out that the guy at the door was holding the check, paid the check for around $8. I couldn’t help but notice a dark room with pool tables adjoining the dining area, but as the path to this mysterious area was blocked by a surly gentleman, I decided to save that adventure for next time.
Swordfish decorations, greasy diner food, authentic mexican food. Bargain prices, with a hint of appetizing danger. Next time I’m hungover and near downtown, I’ll be back.
La Reyna Grand Opening
East 7th and Mateo
Downtown By The Bus Station