The original location for Puesto recently got a makeover. The fast casual taco joint now serves a full bar and dinner menu, having expanded into the space next door. (During the day it’s still a fast casual taco spot, but at night both the original space and lounge next door serve a full service dinner).
Puesto at The Headquarters has been a favorite spot for me. I love the decor there and the extensive menu, so I was curious to see what they had done to the original location.
The expanded La Jolla branch now offers the full dinner menu that is offered at The Headquarters as well as an extensive bar. I also noticed that they brought over the dinnerware used at the downtown location too.
Dinner comes with complimentary chips and salsa. I really love the chips here. They are thick, wide, and perfect for dipping. I wish the salsa had a little more heat to it though. It’s a little too watery.
Ahi Tuna Tartare
Mr. K enjoyed this more than I did. I found the flavors of the tuna too muted and the chipotle aioli overwhelming.
I’ve been dreaming of this dish since we had it back in December. I really need to figure out their recipe. I’ve attempted to make it at home a few times and my version always tastes like two separate elements, but in Puesto’s version, the two are blended together harmoniously, creating a delightful combination. I would never think to pair crab with guacamole but it really works. This is my favorite version of guacamole I’ve come across.
Tostada Tasters (Mahi mahi, spicy shrimp, pulpo)
These were delightful as well. I do wish they were slightly bigger, at $16 for the trio. They are piled on high with ingredients, but the tostadas are so small that you can only fit so much. I really enjoyed all of them, each one offering a unique combination of flavors. The mahi mahi was probably the mildest, but it was simple and refreshing. The spicy shrimp had bolder elements and packed quite a few pieces of shrimp into the small tostada. The smoked octopus was the smallest of the bunch. I enjoyed it, but I’ve had so many versions of smoked octopus lately and this wasn’t as great as some of the other versions I’ve had.
This, unfortunately, was the biggest miss of the night. The mole was far too sweet, almost candy-like. We had trouble finishing more than a few bites.
We skipped out on the tacos on this night. We’ve had each of them so many times now and while we always enjoy them, we wanted to try other things for once.
Overall, we had a pretty good meal here. While this spot now serves the full dinner menu, it still maintains the casual vibe it started with. As a personal preference, we prefer The Headquarters location, and will likely stick to that one, but if you’re just craving Puesto’s food or drinks and this location is more convenient, it’s nice to have another option.
Puesto La Jolla
1026 Wall St La Jolla, CA 92037