A lot of restaurants are all bark and no bite. They are full of too much hype and not enough flavor. From food trucks to hole in the walls to 5 star establishments, I'm here to answer the question on everyone's mind, "Is it really that good!" I am not an Iron Chef let alone a line cook. I'm just an ordinary girl who loves to eat extraordinary food.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
I was told that Cook's Torta has really good sandwiches. Cook’s Torta is located in Monterey Park, CA. Although it’s located near shopping centers, it would easily be a place people would miss and just drive right on by. A torta is a Mexican sandwich that is served on a sandwich roll called a bolillo, a variation of a baguette, crunchy on the outside but soft inside. I haven’t eaten too many tortas. The ones I’ve eaten are pretty simple. I’ve only either gotten the Carne Asada torta, marinated steak inside a bolillo with avocado and mayo, or the Milanesa, breaded steak with mayo and avocado.
When we walked into Cook’s Torta, the menu was handwritten on a huge chalkboard that covered an entire wall and across from it was more menu items. There were so many different varieties to choose from. I couldn’t decide. They were all out of the one I really wanted to try which was the garlic cod. According to person who took our order, that is always sold out if you get there during the latter part of the day. I really couldn’t decide, so I went with what was familiar to me, Milanesa, Shrimp Po’Boy, and the mojito. They all came with side orders and we got red fries (sweet potato fries,) potato salad, fruit salad.
Their tortas aren’t on traditional bolillo bread. Their bread is made fresh every day. Uncut, the bread looks similar to that of ciabatta bread. The texture of the inside of the bread resembled focaccia bread. Since there were craters on the underside of the sliced bread instead of sauce laying flat on the inside of the bread, whatever spread or sauce that was on the sandwich actually hid inside the little craters. Taste wise, it was a mix of sourdough and ciabatta.
Of the three sides, I really loved their red fries. They were really crispy and were topped with a generous sprinkle of salt. The potato salad, I took a couple of bites only because I was waiting for the pictures of the sandwiches to be taken. I wasn’t eating to taste, so I’m not sure if it was good or not. The fruit salad, was just cut up melon, strawberries, grapes, nothing out of the ordinary.
My least favorite of the three was the po’boy sandwich. The sandwich had spice battered shrimp, avocado-red onion remoulade and lettuce. Although the bread was warm, the shrimp was not. The breading of the shrimp was also peeling off most of my shrimp. That was probably due to the flooding of the remoulade sauce. Don’t get me wrong, I love a lot of sauce, but because this was served sandwich style instead of on a traditional roll, all that sauce was on top of the shrimp making the breading of the shrimp soggy. The flavors weren’t bad at all, but the sandwich tasted more like a shrimp salad sandwich than a po’boy because I didn’t get to bite into and taste that crunch of the shrimp.
Next was the Milanesa. It was breaded steak, tomato, mayo and jalapeno. There wasn’t a shortage of breaded steak. I had steak in every bite and even a little extra that was hanging off both sides of the sandwich. The steak was nice and seasoned and was crunchy. It was like chicken fried steak but without so much breading. I liked the simplicity of the sandwich. There wasn’t too much going on or too many flavors that you were trying to find. The addition of jalapeno was a good touch. Although I did have to take some of the jalapenos out, I could still taste the flavor without it being so hot.
My favorite of the three was Mojito, roasted pork, garlic mojo with slow cooked onions. The pork was shredded. It was so juicy and tender. The mojo had really good garlic flavor. Because there were craters in the bread, I would bite into certain parts of the sandwich, and out came little bursts of extra flavor of the garlic sauce. Because I really liked the flavor of the mojo, I just wish there was more sauce. This was definitely a good sandwich.
At Cook’s Torta there is something for everyone, whether you are into the traditional Milanesa or want to venture and try the Portobello Melt, you will leave satisfied. Now, I’m not sure that this is a place that I would drive out of my way to go, but if it were closer or if I was in the area, I would definitely eat here again.