Checking the Hype at Jajaja

Checking the Hype at Jajaja

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Today, we’re talking Jajaja: that new plant-based (read: low-key vegan) Mexican spot down on East Broadway with much-buzzed-over vibes, convincing veggie chorizo and interesting mezcal cocktails. It’s been open for a couple weeks now, so we stopped by to see if it lives up to the hype.

The briefest of backstories—one of the owners of Gelso & Grand is involved here, so you’re allowed to have a little blind-faith in the vibes here. We certainly did. For this venture, they were going for a sort of hybrid spot that could be used for a tequila cocktail pitstop, date night or take-out tacos from the adjoining to-go window during a night out. Personally, we used it for feasting at 8pm on a Thursday.

And here’s what we found:

The Hype: It’s making that burgeoning pocket of Chinatown and its quietly hip repertoire spots burgeon more.

The Reality: For sure. It’s in good company, an actual stone’s throw from Forgtmenot, 169 Bar, Mission Chinese, and Dimes—depending on how good your arm is.

The Hype: The spot is super inviting, friendly, and unpretentious, even with that inherent hipness factor.

The Reality: Yeah. The name is laughing in Spanish, after all. But don’t expect it not to be packed; the place was buzzing pretty early on a weekday when we came through.

The Hype:
They’re completely vegan, but you might not even notice.

The Reality: True. The shiniest example of surprising vegan-ness being the faux-chorizo-laden nachos topped with tumeric queso. Order these. Or the faux-chorizo tacos in tumeric tortillas with all your normal fixings. Order these as well.

The Hype: That mysterious, nogada (walnut) sauce-drenched, pomegranate-topped, quinoa-stuffed pepper is damn good and full of hyphens.

The Reality: Good. But weird. But good. But weird.

The Hype: If you’re going to go the cocktail route, you’ve got to try their pomegranate-jalapeno option.

The Reality: True. But the cilantro-mezcal drink with coconut cream and lime is worth gracing your palate with as well. Here, have a look at the menu.

The Hype: Their focus is on the Mexican spirits.

The Reality: Clearly. They’ve got 12 mezcals, 22 tequilas and a bunch of cocktails giving special attention to one or the other.


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