Food & Drink

Sketches of Spain

We’ve got nothing against the L.A. taco stand. It’s an institution, dammit.

But sometimes you want to drop the chalupa and slip into something a little more … fabulous.

Well here’s your dose. The Spanish Kitchen, which opens Friday, wants to make rice and beans a lot more upscale. Don’t let the name confuse you — the place is Mexican. (The name was inspired by a swinging ’50s Hollywood hot spot that mysteriously shut its doors in ‘61.) A romantic hacienda with a sprawling patio, full bar, trickling fountains, and cascading bougainvillea, it promises to be a hit with the Hot Young Actor crew (rumor has it many are investors).

The menu includes pineapple-grilled shrimp on tortilla cups, smoked duck breast with a plantain huarache, and a vegetable tower of garlic mashed potatoes and refried black beans with grilled vegetables. Owner Greg Morris (of Home and the Belmont) and chef Hugo Molina (of Parkway Grill) swear all dishes are authentic and all ingredients are imported from Mexico. So between that, the margaritas, and the A-list crowd, you’ll know one thing for sure…

This ain’t no taco stand.

The Spanish Kitchen, 826 North La Cienega Boulevard, between Melrose Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard (310-659-4794).