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Sazon Latin Fusion

Great flair with flan and other delicious Latin fare.

Sazon Latin Fusion at 12406 Washington Blvd., offers a unique blend of healthy Latin dishes, influenced by Puerto Rican, Cuban, Mexican and Argentinian cooking.

After managing restaurants for many years, owner/chef Claudia Quishuis, decided to open her own place in 2008, to bring healthier Latin dishes to the public. Her philosophy is all about going back to basics.

“I cook the way mom my used to cook, using fresh produce and ingredients,” she says.  She cooks with soybean and vegetable oil, not lard, and rarely uses salt in her dishes. She notes that because many people are used to eating food with  high sodium levels, they may think her fresh food is too bland (salt shaker is on the table just for them.) To enhance her dishes, she uses a variety seasonings, and is a walking testament to healthier eating, having lost over 60 lbs. from eating fresh food and cooking with less fat and sodium.

The interior of Sazon is warm and inviting with pumpkin-colored walls and earth-toned table coverings. The art on the walls is ever-changing, as Quishuis likes to showcase different local artists’ work. She also holds a gallery exhibit once a month.

Sazon means “seasoning” in Spanish, which is apparent in many of the dishes, such as the Sazon Chicken, covered in Mole sauce, and the ever-popular Barbacoa Plate consisting of spicy chunks of marinated pork, cooked in a barbeque/chile sauce, served with black beans, white rice, cabbage and tortillas.

Quishuis takes pride in making fresh fruit juices (agua frescas) daily and creates interesting combinations such as pineapple/spinach and mango/carrot. I had a strawberry agua fresca, which tasted exactly like  a fresh strawberry.

The empanadas make great starters and have a fairly light, crust with tasty fillings. I enjoyed the spinach and mashed potatoes empanada, served on a bed of cabbage and crema, the Hispanic version of sour cream, though thinner consistency), along with red and green dipping sauces.

My dining companion had the Pescado Tropical and was impressed by the artful presentation  - a coconut breaded white pollack fish, served on a bed of spinach mashed potatoes, surrounded by a green sauce drizzled with crema.  The fish was moist and balanced nicely with the vegetables and sauce.         

I ordered the Calabacitas con Queso (vegetarian plate), with tons of seasonal vegetables including Mexican and Italian squash, carrots, onions, eggplant, bell peppers and chayote, topped with a sprinkling of cheese and served with pinto beans, red rice and corn tortillas.

I think this dish could have used more flavor, maybe with grilled veggies or a sauce, but it was delicious combining everything into a tortilla and eating it like a fajita. Note, there are many vegetarian and vegan options on the menu.

I got a kick out of how Quishuis likes to sneak vegetables into everything she cooks, including her desserts. Who would’ve guessed that the Mole sauce drizzled over the Capirotada (bread pudding) is made with onions and tomatoes! While it was good, the star dessert at Sazon is the flan, which is creamy and custardy, dense and delicious. Each silky bite melts in your mouth with the perfect amount of sweetness. The best part of eating dessert was not feeling guilty, since I ate such a healthy meal beforehand.

, 12406 Washington Blvd.,  90066, 310-390-9501

Hours: Sunday 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Mon-Thu 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Fri & Sat 11 a.m.-10 p.m. or until the party ends.

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