In the Fall of 2022, Corner Bar Management acquired La Comida at 100 S. Sixth St. (at Fremont St.) and renamed it La Mona Rosa. While keeping the Mexico City-inspired design of the 3,500-square-foot space, Corner Bar’s owner Ryan Doherty has kept the 7-foot pink neon monkey that clings to the side of the building as homage to Jenna and Michael Morton, who opened La Comida in 2013.
After a transformative remodel, the new décor includes lush plant life and walls adorned with the colorful, distinctive, and beautiful artwork of San Diego and Los Angeles-based artist Mr. B Baby.
The Latina artist infuses elements of her Puerto Rican and Mexican upbringing into her whimsical art, including two characters who recognizably and regularly appear in her work: a colorfully fuzzy beast named “Chucho” and a Mexican rag doll.
The menu has also been transformed and is quite creative as well. The cuisine celebrates Mexico’s diverse regions through elevated takes on traditional authentic dishes and reflects Executive Chefs Isidro Marquez-Castillo’s and Daniel Arias’ travels throughout central Mexico from Veracruz to the Yucatan Peninsula. There are also several family recipes, with small plates, tostadas, tacos, and entrees.
A sampling of appetizers includes Queso Fundido with chorizo, poblano peppers and a touch of tequila; and Esquites—charred corn with bell peppers, onions, chipotle mayo, cotija cheese and Morita salt.
Standouts of the entrée choices are Cochinita Pibil—pork shoulder with achiote citrus marinade steamed in banana leaf served with pickled onions, habanero salsa and tortillas; Pollo a la Parilla con Mole Poblano—grilled chicken with garlic and epazote marinade, mole poblano and tortillas; and Enchiladas Suizas—corn tortilla filled with chicken topped with creamy tomatillo sauce, lettuce, jocoque and pickled onion.
Vegetarian and vegans have ample selections, with the likes of El Hongo & Epazote Tacos filled with sauteed mushrooms & poblano peppers with mole Amarillo and epazote; Gaspacho Mexicano with mango jicama, grapefruit, and pineapple queso panela and morita citrus dressing; and El Nopal—grilled cactus with charred onions, tomato and queso cotija.
As for fruits of the sea, the El Governador Tacos features sauteed shrimp with bell peppers, onions, queso Oaxaca, salsa negra and cilantro; and the Vampiro de Pulpo Tostada is topped with charred octopus in adobo over avocado, chorizo and peanut salsa macha.
Hopefully you will save room for dessert, as the Jericalla is a Mexican custard topped with piloncillo caramel and freeze-dried mandarin.
Complementing the cuisine are several unique cocktails handcrafted by head mixologist Dakota Granados including the Jugo Verde with tequila, granny smith apple, nopales, black pepper and parsley; Pink Monkey with gin, mescal, prickly pear, hibiscus and strawberry; and Capuchinito with vodka, Salvadorean rum, coffee, piloncillo and vanilla.
After visiting La Mona Rosa you will likely find that it stands out as being a unique dining experience with several dishes and ingredient combinations that unless you have lived or traveled extensively in Mexico you may have never had the opportunity to enjoy before. The prices will also be refreshing, as appetizers, tostados and tacos range from $4-$16 and entrees mainly between $21-$28.
La Mona Rosa is open for dinner Tuesday-Sunday 5-9 p.m. and brunch Friday-Sunday 11 a.m.-3 p.m.