The Cedars Social
Monica Greene is back in business, and she hasn’t lost her touch. She bought a popular cocktail haunt, kept the name and mid-century-modern vibe, and recruited a chef steeped in modern Mexican cuisine, Anastacia Quinones. The dark interior, brick walls, and wood-raftered ceiling will be familiar to habitués of the spot’s previous incarnation, but the menu is far more exciting. The grilled octopus with ayocote beans (a red heirloom variety with a tender butter bean texture) could stand as a small entrée; we were scraping the plate for remains of the complex sauce flavored with chorizo. An outstanding snapper ceviche balanced lime and spicy serrano pepper with coconut milk and sweet bits of pineapple. Tender beef cheek tacos, prepared with house-made corn tortillas, were so stuffed with meat that they needed extra salsa. Crispy-skinned chicken thighs in a smooth, dark mole sauce made a tasty, satisfying entrée. We found the meringue-topped lemon–olive oil tres leches cake an elegant take on the beloved classic; though moist, the cake avoids the homey version’s milk-drenched texture. We’re inclined to return for more small plates and a killer cocktail: the Borracho Rojo, made with a hibiscus infusion and mezcal.