Richard Sandoval, the chef-restaurateur whose empire spans Washington, D.C., New York, San Francisco, Denver, Las Vegas, Chicago, Mexico City, Acapulco and Dubai, has opened three restaurants in Southern California since spring.
Latin-Asian restaurant Zengo opened in Santa Monica Place. Think dim sum meets antojitos: Thai chicken empanadas, shrimp potstickers, charred tuna wonton tacos, Peking duck-daikon tacos, and chipotle-teriyaki chicken wings. Main dishes include: sea bass with pineapple salsa and saffron-dashi ponzu and steak churrasco with onion tempura and mustard chimichurri sauce. Also, Monday through Friday, Zengo happy hour offers $6 cocktails and wines, $3 beers and $5 small plates. 1453 3rd St., Santa Monica; (310)899-1000; richardsandoval.com.
Raya by Richard Sandoval opened in the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, serving "pan-Latin coastal cuisine" such as coconut shrimp ceviche, hamachi tiradito, pistachio-crusted tuna and chipotle miso-glazed black cod. One Ritz-Carlton Drive, Dana Point; 949-240-2000; richardsandoval.com.
At Sandoval’s La Sandia Mexican Kitchen & Tequila Bar, also at Santa Monica Place, tacos are prepared with handmade tortillas with fillings such as chicken tinga and adobo marinated pork. Among the other traditional Mexican dishes: carne asada with poblano and chile marita salsa. Latin cocktails are made with La Sandia’s tequila and mezcal collection, such as horchata blanco with tequila reposado and horchata, or fruit margaritas, mojitos and sangria.1453 3rd St., Santa Monica; (310)393-3300; richardsandoval.com.
-- Amanda Gottesman
Photo: Zengo's Tuna Won Ton Tacos. Credit: Zengo restaurant.