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Out of the Box

Brandon Matzek | May 31, 2017 | Feature Features National

Hotel Palomar's newly opened Curadero delights with coastal Mexican cuisine and tantalizing cocktails.
Traditional sweet breads—Canasta de Pan—and coffee are available for breakfast.

Ornate illustrations of medicine men and beasts around a blazing bonfire make up the vibrant mural that anchors the dining space at Curadero, a new coastal Mexican kitchen in the former Saltbox Dining & Drinking space. Executive chef Brad Kraten (previously with Saltbox) and executive sous-chef Emiliano Najera (previously with Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village) are serving up bold, authentic Mexican cuisine that’s made to heal hunger, a hangover or anything else that ails you.

Designed by Los Angeles-based Studio Unltd, Curadero is a rustic yet chic space that pairs modern neutrals with colorful Mexican accents: Pillar candles and decorated skulls adorn the bar, a zarape is draped over the entry table and a mural by street muralist Neuzz pops off a distressed brick wall. The former Saltbox private event space located upstairs has also been transformed, into a playful game room complete with a walk-up taco window.

Start your feast with selections from the crudo bar. The tiradito is a market-driven bite composed of sashimi-like slices of raw fish layered with thin rounds of local Meatmen chorizo. Jalapeno oil, fiery slices of serrano chili peppers and a flurry of micro marigold flowers add a zesty hint of lemon. There’s also chef Kraten’s hiramasa (Baja-farmed yellowtail), which is seasoned with ground ancho chili, then torched to develop a lightly charred crust. Savory fried shallots and a vibrant emulsion of hoja santa—a heart-shaped herb native to Central America—complement the tender fish. You’ll surely want to pair these delicate tastes with a light cocktail option.


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