Morton’s La Comida Names Chef

lacomidamargaritas.jpgLa Comida owner Michael Morton has named Pablo Sanchez-Ortiz executive chef of his forthcoming Downtown restaurant. Sanchez-Ortiz grew up in Mexico City and Sahuayo in Michoacán, Mexico, where his grandmother began teaching him to cook when he was seven years old. His family owned restaurants in both cities, and from his early childhood Sanchez-Ortiz knew he wanted to work in the family business. Since arriving in Las Vegas in 2001, Sanchez-Ortiz has worked in kitchens at Wynn and the Cosmopolitan, where he would prepare authentic meals for important Mexican guests. Those VIPs included politicians, who, according to a Morton representative, requested the chef on subsequent visits.

Sanchez-Ortiz will use traditional preparation methods for the cuisine at La Comida, such as a molcajete (mortar and pestle) to grind spices for his mole, and banana leaves in which to bake his bone-in chicken michiotes. A complement to the food menu, the beverage program also aspires to highest authenticity. On a trip to Cabo San Lucas, a bartender prepared a tamarind margarita with tamarind fresh from the tree—the best margarita the Mortons had ever had. They will re-create that experience at La Comida with fruit purees made from guava, prickly pear, passionfruit, pomegranate, tamarind, mint leaves, limes, basil and tajin spice, among other ingredients.

La Comida was originally slated for a March opening at 106 Sixth Street, but underground kerosene tanks—relics of the building’s past as part of El Cortez’s laundry facility—were unearthed and had to be dealt with, delaying progress. The 3,000-square-foot restaurant is now slated for a late-April debut.

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