This is not really a review since I went to a media opening event at El Rey. I wanted to post for those going to the arena in the next couple of months. After all, El Rey wins for best timed opening to coincide with the arena (within two blocks).
El Rey and the soon to open Malt & Mash are directly across 7th Street from the arena. They occupy a space that once was an unlucky spot for restaurants. But that was before talk of an arena. Now you would be hard pressed to get any closer to the arena without actually being in a new space being constructed attached to the arena itself.
El Rey is primarily a bar that has some decent Mexican eats. It's going for the pre-event/post-event crowds going to the arena, whether it be for games, concerts, or Disney on Ice. Seriously, though, it's going to be a popular hangout specifically for those reasons. Plus, there's two bars, front and back, and lots of TVs on the wall.
The menu has quite a nice variety of tacos, including carnita, duck, ahi, rockfish, veggie, and more. I really liked the rockfish, but thought the duck needed some umph. It was lacking in any flavor snap.
The ceviche is made with rockfish.
The queso fundido certainly is pretty, but you need to eat it fast. Although it's a mixture of four cheeses, it's stretchy vs. dipping. If you don't get to it while nice and hot you will end up cutting it with a knife.
I burned myself on the blistered peppers. Sometimes it's Russian Roulette, but it pretty much keeps you from eating any more when you get burned on the very first one. My mouth was on fire and I knew better than to drink water after!
The elote corn looked fabulous, but alas I never saw it come out for tasting. All these pictures were from the photo foods - set up for people to take pictures of.
There are, of course, plenty of cocktails mixed with plenty of tequila.
El Rey will not be one of those restaurants where you say, "Let's go to El Rey for dinner!" Instead it will be more likely, "Let's meet at El Rey before the concert to grab some drinks and tacos!"