El Cid: Dinner Theater Reborn on Sunset

In the 1960s, El Cid, a popular dinner-theatre venue, opened on Sunset Boulevard.  The Spanish-style tavern was housed in a 1905 structure, originally built by film director, D.W. Griffith, where he debuted his epic film “The Birth of a Nation”.

In its early years, El Cid was a frequent hangout for Hollywood celebs, including Marlon Brando. The nightclub, adorned with colorful tiles, fountains and paver-style flooring,  enjoyed many prosperous years before its clientele changed and attracted a rowdier crowd. Numerous complaints about the club were filed with the city over noise and traffic, and finally the club closed in 2011. This past summer, new owners took control and re-opened El Cid in the hopes of bringing it back to its heyday. The interior and exterior were spruced up a bit, but left largely intact. Wood beams, murals and red stage curtains complete the Spanish features of the open space, ideal for stage shows.

The newly hired chef, BJ Munoz, and General Manager, Laura Ann Masura, have carefully crafted a new dinner and cocktail menu. Many of the signature cocktails are made with Masura’s homemade jams, like the strawberry vanilla bean margarita, mixed with silver tequila, fresh lime, agave nectar and strawberry vanilla bean preserves. The Silver Lake Pinta mixes strawberry preserves with spiced rum, fresh lemon juice and simple syrup. We tried one of each. I liked how the jam sinks to the bottom and can be stirred with a straw before each sip, drawing up some of the fresh preserves.

Chef Munoz went to culinary school at 16 years old and has worked at Traxx at Union Station, AMMO and Auntie Em’s Kitchen. He has added some delightful tapas to his menu, yet with opening just a few weeks ago, he and his kitchen staff are still working out a few details. For example, we were told the soup of the evening was a carrot and ginger purée. However, what we were served was a warm tomato and basil soup – still very tasty, but not what we expected.

To read the rest of my review, click on http://parklabreanewsbeverlypress.com/news/2012/10/el-cid-dinner-theatre-reborn-on-sunset/, courtesy of The Beverly Press and Park LaBrea News. Published on Oct. 4 ,2012.

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