Breaking down chicken, pork and beef tacos from LOQUI
By Kerry Slater
A Westside taco spot, while a bit pricey, serves up a chicken taco worth every cent and pork and beef options that hit the spot as well.
Founded in 2013, LOQUI began as a weekly pop-up at Tartine Bakery in San Francisco. In 2016 the restaurant expanded to Southern California opening in Culver City at the Platform, 2019 in downtown’s Art District and then recently in Playa Vista.
The menu is straightforward: chicken, pork, beef or mushroom tacos on flour or corn tortillas, plates plus basic sides and beverages. For lunch I stopped by the Culver City location and ordered three tacos (pork, beef, chicken) on flour tortillas, which I read in some reviews were among the best in Los Angeles.
The chicken taco is by far the best and among the better tacos I have had in recent months. The grilled meat is caramelized and charred on the outside and juicy on the inside. From a taste perspective there is a lot going with a mix of sweet, spicy and smoky flavors. This is a very unique taco in a weird way the chicken is reminiscent of teriyaki, and is complimented nicely by the (spicy!) pickled onions and guacamole.
The next best is the pork taco. Compared to the chicken, this is a subtle taco but still a taco done right. The shredded pork is extremely juicy, buttery and greasy (in a good way). The flavor of the pork itself is pretty mellow and pairs nicely with the cotija cheese and lettuce, giving this taco great texture.
The weakest taco is the beef, in my opinion, but it is still very solid. Large chunks of meat and pinto beans make this a hearty taco, in many ways similar to a beef bourguignon. The downfall, at least in the case of the batch I got, was that the meat was a bit dry on the inside. To be clear, however, this is still a solid taco.
Finally we get to the tortillas, the supposed star of LOQUI. The first bites of the tacos the tortillas certainly were delicious: soft, warm and slightly crunchy. After a couple of minutes, however, they became a bit stale. Nothing appalling but not spectacular. They are, however, a great size for a hearty taco and do a great job staying intact, which at the end of the day is a tortilla’s primary purpose in life.
While these tacos were not cheap ($5.50 each) they are big and getting three was aggressive on my part, leaving me absolutely stuffed. Two would have sufficed and would have made the lunch a more reasonable price for tacos.
Overall, there are better tacos on the Westside. There are better tacos in Culver City. If I am giving a visiting friend a taco tour of LA, LOQUI would not be on the itinerary. Despite this, however, LOQUI is still worth a trip to. Not just because the chicken taco was incredible, but also because the Platform (right of the Expo Line) is a great place to grab a bite to eat with a friend and hang out to enjoy the area.