We were in LA for a weekend and we wanted to try something new. Chris’s brother attends UCLA and he told us about this Mexican/Asian fusion place in Westwood. I didn’t know this until we got there, but TLT Food actually originated as a food truck. And as it would have it, Lime Truck is the winner of Food Network’s The Great Food Truck Race! Learning that they won a food competition, I had high expectations.
Beef Short Rib Quesadilla
This was the first thing I wanted from their menu. I have to admit, their tomatillo salsa was pretty damn tasty. The short ribs were well cooked too. But this was nothing I hadn’t tasted before. It ended up being a very fancy quesadilla with good quality meat. Was it good? Yes. Was it memorable? Probably not.
The menu mentions that this is made with 12 hour pulled pork, cheese, homemade guac, and chipotle-honey cabbage. I really wanted to like this taco because it was ultimate. Unfortunately, the flavors fell flat. None of the individual component flavor profiles came through. The pork was tender but I didn’t taste any spice. There wasn’t enough texture even though there was cabbage either. The pork was soft, the guac was soft, the cheese was soft. Even the colors were slightly muted. The pork was white against a lightly green colored guac inside a whitish yellow tortilla. It was my least favorite of the day.
Mr. Potato Taco
The Mr. Potato Taco was the most original and best thing I ate at TLT. There is absolutely no meat in this taco. The potato chunks (with skin on) are deep fried and placed inside a corn tortilla. The cilantro chimichurri was bright and refreshing. The whole concept of this dish was well executed: crunch, crispiness, salt, spice, fresh herbs. It was a great bite where all the flavors came together. The flavors were very interesting and it kept me coming back to this taco. My favorite of the meal.
Seared Ahi Tuna Taco
Perfectly cooked ahi tuna. Great slaw that goes on top of this taco too. But everything was lost once I bit into a large glob of sriracha. I was very sad because ahi tuna is such a delicate fish that the sauce needs to be mild in order for the fish to shine through. I also know the menu said this taco is medium-high spiciness level, but I wish the sriracha was replaced by another type of heat, maybe paprika on the tuna itself? Don’t get me wrong, I love sriracha, just not with my ahi tuna. I didn’t even finish this taco.
Pork Belly Nachos
This was my second favorite dish. The pork belly was cut up into small cubes. I personally liked that the pork belly wasn’t super tender because there was a meatiness to the chew, but Chris said he preferred a more tender pork belly like kakuni. The sweet marinade used for the pork belly totally came through in a nacho bite. It was really nice against the salty cheese sauce, refreshing salsa, and crunch of the homemade chips.
Lychee Limeade & Peach Limeade
The lychee and peach limeade tasted different, but not drastically so. The peach flavor was slightly more mild than the lychee one but both were equally too sweet. Maybe it’s me, but I prefer less sweet drinks. The limeades were tart which made it refreshing in the warm LA sun. The drinks tasted more like Vietnamese preserved lemons/limes drink to me. Honestly, if they were trying to emulate this delicious beverage, I would have preferred if they had gone all the way and used carbonated water to give it more flair.
I found the interior very attractive. Dark wood against bright lime green paint off setting shiny aluminum gave a vibrant and modern feeling making it seem very young and lively. Which is accurate since TLT (Westwood location at least) is located next to a college. TLT is a pretty informal, seat yourself place with communal seating; you even pick up your own food since they give you a buzzer for when the order is ready. No fuss, no muss. I like that. I believe food should come first and the restaurant’s interior shouldn’t be distracting to take away from the eating experience.
I also like that there is outdoor seating at TLT (again, I’m only writing about the Westwood location). It’s nice to be able to bring your dog out with you to enjoy a meal. TLT is by no means fancy dining in any way. It’s pretty much a place where you would come out with your friends to hang out and grab a quick bite. I can see TLT getting really busy during night time.
As for the food, there are some winners and some losers on the menu. There are definitely some conceptual flaws in the food design. But they make up for it with great quality and good execution. Nothing seems half-assed as they do understand how to cook things well (like the meats). The food is not bad, but they miss the mark for me.
[usr 2] Rating
[usr 1] Price
For rating guide, click here.
1116 Westwood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90024