Originally I was going to try the Larchmont Bungalow on Larchmont Blvd, since I had heard from my mother that they serve Poutine (a Canadian treat). However upon checking out their menu, I learned that they serve their Poutine topped with shredded mozzarella. Now I'm not Canadian, but I do know this much about real Poutine—real Poutine is topped with cheese curds so fresh that they should squeak when you bite into them. So discouraged I decided to go elsewhere, although it's quite likely I'll go back to the Larchmont Bungalow some other time, just not for the Poutine.
My backup option was Tere's Mexican Grill on Melrose. I had read on Chowhound that they had really good nachos. I find nachos to be the best value on most Mexican menus since you get a usually get a good portion of meat, dairy, fruits, and vegetables all for a decent price.
I ordered the carne asada nachos which came served on a hot plate, a good indicator that the cheese was allowed to melt under the broiler. Now the various comments about Tere's had noted their fresh, homemade chips, double thick and lightly salted. The chips were indeed robust, and there was no mistaking these for an inferior, store-bought brand. They were topped with jalapenos, sour cream, fresh guacamole, fresh pico de gallo, shredded cheese, and beans. The overall portion was quite sizeable, and I would venture a guess that the whole plate weighed about a pound or so. Of course none of this would matter if the product itself wasn't tasty, which it quite favorably was. There's a strong sense of quality in the construction of these nachos. The chips stood out as did the cheese which was quite liberally layered on top. Overall, these were very good nachos.
I also ordered a pork taco on the side. Now the cashier specified that this was not carnitas, so if that's what you're looking for, you're going to be surprised. However that surprise would still be welcome, since this was the highlight of my meal. The pork comes as large chunks of what appeared to be either lean grilled or roasted pork, smothered in a chile verde (green chile). The chile is mild, but has a nice tanginess that pops in your mouth. I plan on having this again.
I liked that the place had a very casual, laid back atmosphere. There were only about 7 or 8 tables accompanied by a soda cooler, a tower of Mexican Cokes, and a soccer game on the TV. So many of the restaurants along Melrose tend to be fancy and overly pretentious as they seek out a bourgeois clientele looking for the next big thing. At Tere's they're really just trying to put out relatively simple food with just a little more care, and that's the type of place I'd want to eat at.
Some other interesting notes about Tere's Mexican Grill:
-While the nachos are good, I'll have to admit that I'm perfectly fine with Baja Fresh's nachos. They're probably about just as much quantity-wise and slightly cheaper, with just some minor drops in overall quality. But then again, this is coming from a guy who also enjoys Lucy's nachos which are little more than tortilla chips drenched in canned steak and red chili.
Tere's Mexican Grill
5870 Melrose Ave. #101
Los Angeles, CA 90038