Seafood tour? No. This Culver City Restaurant Serves a “Taco Tower”


We were never bottle service people.

But the people at the taco tower?

All signs point to yes.

We recently encountered such a thing: a tiered assortment of meats, salsas, and traditional corn tortillas inspired by the concept of a raw seafood tower at Celestina rooftop bar. The new high-rise Mexican restaurant was recently opened by the team at Etta, home to Culver City’s Shay Hotel, where both concepts are located.

Let’s break it down.

Technically called “the Taquiza Tower,” after the term for a catered party that typically involves multiple strains of tacos, the item stands about a foot tall. A wire rack is crowned with a wide bowl surrounded by totopos (tortilla chips) and evenly divided between four meats: pastor marinated in fire-roasted pineapple, pineapple vinegar, achiote, guajillo chili and árbol chili; a chuck flank birria braised overnight in its own broth and simmered for six hours; short-rib barbacoa; and carne asada surrounding a deep dish of queso fundido.

Looking up at the tower from a flat wooden platform below, you’ll find coconut flakes, panko, and homemade focaccia breaded coconut shrimp marinated in an infusion of herbs, milk coconut and coconut puree; shrimp ceviche “cooked” overnight in citrus juice, with fresh pico de gallo with jalapeño and habanero; a generous bowl of guacamole, served with limes and a quintet of salsas including charred salsa negra, chili-lime aioli, guajillo oil, salsa roja and salsa verde .

The scene is completed with a stove filled with Kernel of Truth tortillas.

The tower idea was crafted and executed by chef and Etta/Celestina partner Danny Grant and executive sous chef Nino Chavez, an Oaxaca-raised veteran of Redbird, Tavern and Shutters on the Beach.

“It’s everything we like to eat, all in one place,” Grant told LA TACO. “Most importantly, it’s about sharing moments through food. You can create your own bites while drinking mezcal and bring people together through food and drink.

At $90, it’s definitely something for a spendthrift group meeting for a special occasion at the poolside restaurant, which also offers great city views, homemade conchas, a “shot-opus “silver whose tentacles hold tiny spirit-filled glasses. , cabanas, tepache cocktails, Scorpion bowls, fried ribs and a smooth ceramic butt-shaped straw holder on its outdoor bar.

It’s kind of like a seafood tower, but for taco lovers and their friends looking for an interactive little dinner. You can sit down for an hour or two to whip up countless ceviche tacos and tostadas, mix up meats for your own campechano tacos, or build huge monster tacos that attempt to defy the very laws of gravity. Then, when your tortillas and meats are used up, just turn to the bowl of queso fundido and make nachos with your leftover fries. Hell, make a taco and send it to this cutie at another table with your regards.

Beyond that, the implications of taking food towers out of the exclusive realm of raw seafood are potentially vast, laying the groundwork for a brave new world of towers teetering with smoked meats, charcuterie, barbecue Korean, sushi, Brazilian BBQ, anything imaginable now. .

Who knows? In the future, maybe every ingredient will finally get their 15 minutes of dominance.

Celestina rooftop bar ~ 8801 Washington Blvd. Culver City, CA ~ 424-348-3333


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