21 Dec Añejo Cantina & Grill Is Spicing Up Ventura Blvd.
I was told that this restaurant had table-side guacamole on the menu and I was anxious to try this. This is another of the new restaurants to open along Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks. Located on the second floor of a building, Añejo Cantina & Grill is an upscale Mexican restaurant that opened this past summer and is offering authentic Mexican cuisine to valley dwellers.
It is a big place with a big menu. With 11,000 square feet, space is not an issue. There is the indoor dining room where live music can be heard (or danced to), a large outdoor patio with a fire pit as well as private event space. The best seats in the house are on the outdoor patio that overlooks Ventura Boulevard. Even on a cool night, the patio is warm with the table-side heaters and blankets the restaurant is happy to provide. Once settled in, get ready to eat because the portions are big.
The danger at any Mexican restaurant is filling up on chips and salsa. So, we did not waste any time and ordered the tableside guacamole. I just love the the taste of fresh avocado mashed with tomatoes, onions, cilantro and fresh lime.
As we started to fill up on chips and guacamole, we turned our attention to the cocktails. The Mayan Mule (El Silencio Joven, fresh ginger simple, lime, chile arbol) and the Anejo Margarita (extra spicy habanero infused tequila, fresh lemon and lime juice, triple sec, orange juice, tajin rim) both are spicy drinks that are quite enjoyable.
But my favorite drinks are the Michelada Especial and the Caliente Tedoro.
The Michelada Especial (Coronita, Bloody Mary mix, Maggie seasoning, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, fresh squeezed lime, black pepper, salted rim) comes with a fun presentation. The mini Corona bottle is served next to the glass that has plastic tab on it. The bottle is placed in the circular contraption that holds the bottle upside down in the drink. But be aware, if the bottle flips up, you might get wet.
The Caliente Teodoro (blanco tequila, warm chamomile cose tea, agave, lemon) is a warm drink that is smooth and floral. It is a perfect drink when sitting out on the patio on a cool night.
Shrimp Ceviche – The shrimp ceviche is served in a freshly crisp tostada shell and topped with tomatoes, onions, jalapeno peppers, guacamole, cilantro and tapatio sauce. My only suggestion would be that the dish be a little lighter on the tomato and onion salsa so that the ceviche can be a bit more dominant.
Carnitas Sopes – Three cornmeal cakes are topped with salsa roja, refried beans, carnitas, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, pico de gallo and coteja cheese. Chicken or beef can replace the carnitas but the carnitas are very flavorful.
Housemade Sweet Corn Tamales – These fresh tamales are made fresh by a local man who delivers them regularly to the restaurant.
Mole de Pollo – A half chicken is simmered in red mole sauce and served with Mexican rice and refried beans.
Carne Asada and Shrimp – It is surf and turf with an 8oz skirt steak and sauteed shrimp topped with mocajette salsa, refried beans and Mexican rice.
For dessert, the classic Flan Napolitano is creamy and rich.
But we were also fascinated by the idea of Deep Fried Ice Cream. The large scoop of vanilla ice cream was deep fried in a really tasty crunchy shell that seems to be made of corn flakes.
Be sure to head to Añejo Cantina & Grill with a big appetite. And, if you don’t want to sit outside, grab a seat inside where you can listen to live mariachi and flamenco music Thursday through Sunday. But, be warned, when the music is playing, it is very loud inside.
Añejo Cantina & Grill
14755 Ventura Blvd
Sherman Oaks, California