Tere’s Mexican Grill is My New Favorite Melrose Lunch
File this under “Things People Who Work and Live Around Melrose Already Know”… Tere’s Mexican Grill is kind of totally awesome. I first heard about this fast food Mexican spot on Melrose when I wrote about Inti Peruvian, a decent saltado slinger in the same strip mall (on Melrose btw Cahuenga+Vine). A week later, two other lunchers suggested it in the comments again when I wrote about 3 taco spots in Culver City. And once Lunch’er “Patricia” said it was worth the drive from West Hollywood the deal was sealed.
So, deciding to go to Tere’s was the easy decision. What to order? That was a little tougher. Even though there is no table service at Tere’s (you order at the counter and get a number), it’s not really a taqueria… or at least that’s what they want you to think. Tacos come in pairs, as a platter with rice and beans. There are also enchiladas, burritos, tostadas, tortas, and quesadillas, plus a bunch of specialties like mole, pork con chile verde, and pozole- which is supposedly only served on Saturdays (but you might get lucky if you go towards the beginning of the week.) The menu is slightly confusing, in that in it is big but kind of incomplete- but don’t be intimidated. You can pretty much get whatever you want (including single tacos without rice and beans) just by asking. In other words, they will put any protein into any carrier. Just ask.
According to this “The Guru” recommended their chile relleno burrito (back in 2004). Done and done. I didn’t actually see it on on the wall menu, but it’s on their take out menu, and the guy didn’t hesitate when I ordered it. Not enormous for $7.25, but not exactly small either… I usually prefer my burritos to be uncut and wrapped in tin foil, but then I couldn’t have done this:
The big surprise was that the chile relleno didn’t appear to be battered and deep fried. The bigger surprise was, I still loved it! You might say the secret ingredient was cheese. Look at that thing. I normally like my cheese melty, but I loved the big hunks of what I’m assuming was queso blanco (?) inside the chile. Plenty of guacamole, and the chile had great flavor a little bit of kick. Nothing to fear (especially for those who like the heat) but it was definitely there in the background. They give you a few of their freshly fried chips, but you should probably order more- either with guacamole, or to eat with their three excellent salsas. (One mild, one hot, and one tomatillo.)
Lunch’er “Chuck P” (who recommended the place in the comments) swears by the chicken tinga, so we tried that as well ($6.75). Flavorful shreds of chicken, smoky sauce served on homemade corn tortillas? Could have had a bit more meat for the price, and I probably wouldn’t order them again (sorry, I’m not a chicken guy!) but they were definitely tasty.
Finally Infinite Fress (who was another of the commenters that recommended the place to begin with) seemed pretty jazzed about their pork con chile verde… so clearly I had to try that as well. For the most meat, you’ll probably want to order the special, with rice, beans and tortillas- but at $10.95 that’s outside my budget. Thankfully they’re happy to throw some into a taco for you (or a burrito if that’s your preference.)
As promised the chunks of pork were stewed super tender, but still had a bit of crust on the outside. Slightly fatty, but not too much- and man did it bring the heat. Not tear inducing, but they certainly aren’t holding back with this dish. I’m a convert. For $6.95 you can mix and match any two tacos with rice and beans, but I panicked at the last second and went fish- because chicken mole wasn’t listed as an option under tacos. But I”m sure they they would have done it, and if I had to do it again, I would definitely had gone mole.
Seeing as this is my first chile relleno burrito and my first pork con chile verde since moving back to L.A., I can’t say “oh, this is the best in the city”. Or “it’s good, but blah blah blah is bettter”. But what I can say is this… I would drive over to Tere’s before heading back to any of the three spots I tried here. And those two dishes at Tere’s were better than anything I ate at the much talked about Loteria in the Farmer’s Market last week. (Shocker, right?)
A few words of warning though. The parking lot is small, and the place fills up quick. There are meters on Melrose, but the earlier you go the easier it will be. But it’s so worth it (provided you stick to their specialties.) Then again, if you work in the area you probably already know that.
- Chile wrapped cheese hunk burrito sounds *amazing* to me.
- What’s better than stewed spicy pork? Answer… nothing.
- Corn tortillas are home made
- The chips are awesome… and so are the salsas.
THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- The chile relleno isn’t battered and deep fried! What’s up with that?
- And neither is the fish for the fish tacos! Boooooooo. (Kind of bland too)
- I like my cheese melted, not as a big hunk in the middle of a burrito
- The pork with chile verde is too spicy
- A bit too pricey for me. I’ll stick with taquerias, thank you.
- They don’t give you enough chips with the burrito
- I don’t work in the area- and they’re not open on Sunday
- Some of the regular proteins are kind of bland and nothing special
Tere’s Mexican Grill, 5870 Melrose Ave (nr. Cahuenga), 323-468-9345