LH locals might have noticed that one of my old favorites, El Corita, has been undergoing lots of changes lately. Consuelo stopped working there, they added a bar, a pool table, cemented up one door and opened a new one, got rid of the pool table, have random hours of operation, destroyed the great paintings, and most notably, they’ve “changed owners” and are now called Belia’s Restaurant. But that’s still a bit confusing…
…since the new menu names the place as El Corita Belias Restaurant. Whatever, but how’s the food? That’s what I’m here to find out! Una orden de Huevos Rancheros, porfas.
The first thing you notice now when you walk into this place are the settings on all the tables, including some fancy ass wine glasses for your water. They really are trying to class it up, the server was even wearing a tie (and a 49ers jacket) which might explain this…
…small salad before my plate of Huevos Rancheros! That is some crazy shit! Maybe it’s forward thinking, maybe it’s innovative, and maybe I am just too narrow minded, but that lil’ lettuce plate was disturbing.
Even the bottles of salad dressing were creeping me out. No matter, soon enough my plate of HR’s showed up.
I’ve picked up the habit of tasting the beans first whenever they’re on my plate, probably because it’s an element of Mexican food most places overlook in their quest to satisfy the carnivore. Yet, that simple side of beans can often foretell what to expect from the rest of the dish, it’s an overlooked element that can range from great to fucking sickening. See how the beans look kinda dry but still kinda normal? Well just one little taste and you know they belong to the fucking sickening category: they tasted like some sort of putrid cough medicine. Not like stale beans, not like rotten beans, but like how you would imagine the taste of rancid medicine. I decided the beans were dangerous so I gave them up for good. The rice was kinda odd but palatable, but since LA is not in starvation times just yet, I gave that a pass as well.
Which brings me finally to the HR’s. Not only did they have a perfectly fried tortilla underneath, for good measure Belia’s threw in another perfectly fried tortilla underneath that one. What are the odds of that? When you finally encounter a proper fried tortilla they have to go and kill it by over doing it. My fortune was truly foretold in the beans. Of course the eggs were overcooked, and the sauce was a chunky mix of vegetables with a liquid tomato binding. It may have tasted okay but all I could think of was the damn medicine beans, and I kept wondering about such silly things like food poisoning. It turns out that thinking about getting sick from food isn’t really a sign of a decent dining experience, as I have now learned.
The saddest part to this is that I really, really wanted to like the food. I’ve been there twice since the change over and both times the servers have been really interesting, sharing stories about the “previous” owner and her practices, ideas of where they want to go next with the place, and even tales about growing up in LA. Even the cook came out to nicely ask for opinions on the food, and I had to nicely say it was okay. I lied. Surely they’re just working out some kinks and I’ll eventually be back, but there might be a stretch of time before that happens.
El Corita / Belia’s Restaurant 2576 Pasadena Ave. 323.225.7151