The Night Life Review: East L.A.

Photo by Marko Djapic

Whenever I miss getting The Stute p-card on a Friday, I always end up scrambling last minute to go out the next week. Morning? No one is open on a Monday morning. Afternoon? Class. Evening? My night class goes till 8:50. Fortunately, as of this week, I am now legally allowed to peruse Hoboken’s most varied and famous establishments! So, taking my ID and my pride proudly on Washington Street at 10 PM, I made it extremely far off campus and stumbled into East L.A., a casual joint known for their margaritas and Mexican comfort food right off of 6th street.

Walking into East L.A., I was immediately impressed with the intimacy of the space. It may have been the Tuesday night crowd, but the air was incredibly laid back with very close seating either at the bar or in a booth. True, if you brought your backpack you might want to leave it with a friend before hand, but the intimate-without-feeling-claustrophobic vibe was a welcome relief after a full day of classes. The music choice also won my heart over after 2 songs; hopping between alt rock to hip hop to rap, I felt like someone had taken my 8th grade playlist and hit shuffle. Modern or old, I was bopping all night until I realized I had a 9 AM the next day.

Looking at the menu, I was pleasantly surprised to find out we came on their TACO TUESDAY! Chicken, pork, beef, or vegetarian, all tacos were 2 dollars; for those of you out there who are also above 21, the deal can also include a malt flavored beverage of your choice. Of course, I ordered one of each taco except for vegetarian, all crispy shelled, while my #1 ChemBio™ colleague had a pork and a beef taco soft shelled. For dessert, we also ordered the flan, which I had never had the pleasure of having before.

After rocking out to Big Data for the first time since high school, our food came out piping hot. At first glance, there have definitely been more impressively presented tacos in this world. The fillings were classic meat with herbs, seasonings, and green onions, and there was nothing else in the tacos. While they certainly had me salivating waiting to eat them, they had a hard time filling the expansive space of a hard shelled taco.

After my first bite, I completely stopped caring about looks; all three were fantastic, especially for how much they had cost me. The chicken was the driest of the three, but it was also somehow refreshing in how light it was. The pork, meanwhile, was heavy and greasy in the best way possible. Rounding it all out, the beef was a good balance between the two, with a savory sweetness that offset the sharpness of the seasonings delightfully. Afterwards, the flan was also quite the treat. The creamy, pudding-like texture of the main body combined with the caramel sweetness of the sauce around it in a much more delicate way than I thought it would, and I took my time savoring every bite. I highly recommend all of it.

Overall, East L.A. has something for everyone. Between the cheap food, excellent location, and bopping playlist, it’d be hard to come here and not have fun. If you’re above 21, I’m sure you could have even more fun here with their expansive selection of colorful margaritas. If there is any advice when choosing to come here, come casual. The atmosphere is definitely one for conversation with the squad.

Location 5/5

Food 4/5

Service 4/5

Cost $/$$$$