Is It Any Good?

A restaurant that doesn’t feel very new, but…its generally okay…in Pasadena.

Seco on Urbanspoon
Seco New American on Foodio54

To this day, I have no idea what Cafe 140 was, or what it served. All I know is that one day it was there, and the next thing I know, Seco New American is in it’s place.

Now, the Pasadena Commons are a place I wind up frequenting…a lot (you might remember the similarly late and lamented Pasadena Cheese Store and their two locations). Anyway, now Seco is the big boy on the block. Time to see what it’s all about.

Well, walking in, and…it’s clear that it has a nice atmosphere. Well appointed, well laid out. Just a touch cozy, by which I mean small and a bit tight (not necessarily a compliment). Still, I was able to find my way to the bar and have myself some lunch.

And what’s this? House Made Potato Chips…with every meal? I can get to like this. I can get to like this quite a lot. Let me see what’s on the men–


Heart’s broken just a little bit. Seco says New American on the outside, but inside…it’s pretty much Pizzas, Burgers and Tacos.

Okay, fine it’s a little more complex and well-prepared than that, but it’s Pizzas, Burgers and Tacos…with a healthy splash of Oysters thrown in.

Wait a minute. Smith Brothers. Ohhhh, that explains everything.

Smith Brothers is the Company behind such Pasadena favorites as the Arroyo Chop House (which we love) and the Parkway Grill (which I still haven’t visited yet).

Okay. Things become clearer now. Truth be told, the Smith Brothers hit it out of the park with Arroyo, so…maybe I should go easier on Seco New American.

Fine. I overall liked my meal. I guess I was just expecting something…a bit more distinct on the menu. Something that sets Seco apart from the rest. What I had was very good, and…more to the point, I was able to relax and kick back at the bar.

I don’t know, you eat semi-professionally. You write about food professionally, and you see a fancy-pants places, and you want to see what they’ve got. So ultimately, Seco is a nice place. It’s even a fun place. Is it a place I got out of my way to get? Ehhh, probably not. But it is a definite step up from the nearby Souplantation.


WHAT SHOULD I GET?: Well, enjoy the House Made Potato Chips. They were great, and like the evil Hushpuppies of old, they will fill you up.

I also got a Pizza Carne, which is a meat heavy Pizza with all manner of meats, capicola, red onion and mozzarella. The Pizza was fine. You know. I’m sitting there, eating it. It’s not blowing my socks off or anything, but I’m enjoying it well enough.

I also loaded up on their Two Street Tacos, which weren’t bad. No one at Kogi BBQ, or Cacao Mexicatessen or even Petty Cash Taqueria is sweating bullets over this dish, but they were a nice distraction. Liked them better than the pizza.

Still, the Chips? Damn good. Still thinking about them now. Wonderful touch.


IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: Nothing really surprising. This section of the review is usually to alert first timers to something odd or unexpected that may slip past, but there’s nothing to worry about here.


PARKING: Direct but complex. There is a Parking Structure hugged up right to the Pasadena Commons (aka, the Shopping Complex where Seco New American resides). It looks big, but it isn’t, and fills up remarkably quick during the day. They validate, so that should be your first option. Past that, there is a neighboring Shopping Area with Parking Meters directly behind it. It means crossing a busy street, but if you can’t find parking otherwise…


Seco New American
140 S Lake Ave #101
Pasadena, CA 91101

Tel: (626) 449-9900

Daily: 11:30 am-10:00 pm