Cocina Condesa doesn't belong in Studio City. The sun-soaked, elevated Mexican street food restaurant feels and tastes like it belongs in WeHo or Venice or another LA culinary hotbed. Which is my very endearingly roundabout attempt at throwing a compliment both to Cocina Condesa's delicious fare, but also Studio City, which has come a long, long distance in a very short, short time.
CC recently invited me in to sample their new lunch menu (launched in late February) and upon my first couple bites I knew I would soon be adding this spot to my "Studio City Lunch Spots" list. Now, I know what you're thinking: "That list actually exists?" The answer, in short, is no. But imagine such a list! Use your imagination! And Cocina Condesa would be right up there, on this imaginary list, with Ventura Blvd stalwart, Laurel Tavern and the like. Offering brunch, lunch and dinner, CC serves the sort of new wave Mexican cuisine with a modern twist many new Southland restaurants attempt, but very few pull off with much success.
Here's what you should order for lunch...
Brisket Taquitos - Upon first glance of the lunch menu, I knew I had to order the Brisket Taquitos. Maybe it's my inner child and fond memories of Friday nights with my good buddies Blockbuster and Trader Joe's taquitos, but I simply needed to order them. You should too. A nice slow-braised brisket in every bite, complimented by the fried corn tortilla and some fresh guac and spicy slaw. You get four too, so you could maybe make a meal out of this dish alone.
Chicken Queso Fundido - Heads up: this dish is no longer on the menu. But that doesn't mean they won't make it for you if you order it. Which, dude, you honestly should. A fun new play on the classic Mexican-American indulgence, this is a lighter and fresher, yet heartier, take on Queso Fundido. Cocina Condesa hand presses corn masa into the skillet's sides, bakes it, then they add cojita and Monterey jack cheese and finely-spiced pulled chicken, then bake again. And finally top it with fresh avocado and diced tomatoes.
Empanadas - In the friendly confines of these little flavorful deep fried pockets of love you find: green tomatillo-braised chicken, LOTS of gooey/cheesy/more please Spanish Manchego and a doughy (in the right way) and flaky shell. You're empa-not going to want to pass these up.
Street Corn - In this world there are two types of people. Those who like street corn. And fucking idiots. Always order the street corn. ALWAYS.
11616 Ventura Blvd, Studio City.
Lunch, Mon-Fri, 11am-4pm.