For L.A. mole aficionados, no name carries quite as much weight as Rocio Camacho, the high priestess of mole innovation behind imaginative new sauces like her tequila and limon mole, mezcal cactus salsa, hibiscus, and rose moles. In recent years, the Oaxaca native’s presence has, more often that not, been a fleeting one. Though she has graced some of the region’s best Mexican restaurants (sometimes earning them that very distinction), including Casita Mexicana, La Huasteca, and Moles La Tia, the master molera repeatedly disappears into the ether without notice before resurfacing again. In October of 2011, Camacho opened her first solo venture, Rocio’s Moles Del Los Dioses, with a location in Bell and fancier digs in Sun Valley. Camacho split with the Bell location last December, and starting today at 11:00 A.M. will again be preparing her personal menu, with a few new additions, in a brand-new strip mall on a Tarzana stretch of Ventura Blvd.
Noticeably more polished than previous locations, the new Rocio’s Moles de Los Dioses is more modern, with a dedicated focus on pre-Cortez MesoAmerican artworks and Oaxacan warrior idols. The atmosphere runs parallel with the chef’s point-of-view here, which is to accentuate her passion for and exploration of Pre-Hispanic cooking, with plates arranged a little more studiously and much more gracefully to appeal to the restaurant’s neighbors.
Camacho’s new location will find the chef armed with fresh produce from Project Youth Green, an organic community garden in Pacoima, while she plans to make some major changes to the menu every six months.
Upon opening tonight, Camacho’s menu will mostly stay the same as you’ll find at the Sun Valley location, with favorites like her passionfruit and pistachio moles appearing on a permanent basis. However, regulars can also expect some new additions like deep fried shrimp empanadas, made ethereal with beer, guajillo chiles, and an emulsified salsa made with chile de arbol, as well as mixed meat tacos arrieros, ceviche verde, and, in place of chips and salsa, an amuse of light, clamato-spiked shrimp broth in a tiny mug served with a miniature clayuda.
Rocio’s Moles de Los Dioses is officially opening tonight in Tarzana. Check out our slide show of the new space and some of her new dishes, shot at a hosted friends and family dinner last night.
Rocio’s Moles de Los Dioses, 19321 Ventura Blvd. Tarzana; 818-457-4545.