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Jul 14, 2005 08:52 AM

Report: Oaxacena #2 in New Brunswick

  • c

Went last night w/my chowhound-best friend after reading about this spot in Siestema's Ethnic Eats, he highly touts the various moles, but we only saw two kinds on the menu. We were definitely the only non-Mexicans there, not that it matters. Our server spoke English only when she felt like it, but no big as my spanish is fine, but still, i didn't want to feel like i was condescending to her to speak in spanish if she knew English, oh well. anyway...
She brought us chips and three kinds of salsa and immediately asked us to place our order, even tho we'd only been seated about, literally, 30sec. The salsas were terrific and really hot, and we both have pretty good spicy-tolerance! Pico de gallo, a tomatillo, and another which was chipotle-based. Of all, the Pico was the hottest!

We started with a tamale de pollo. The highlight of this was the red sauce that was sort of steamed onto the masa. The chicken itself was hard to find, mostly bone and fat. But the sauce (and this would set a trend for the meal) was the best.

We ordered the goat mole oaxacena and a mixed grill of pork, beef, and nopales. The goat was far and away superior to the parrillada, which was appallingly awful. The mole was definitely different than the poblano i've had and/or made. The notes in this sauce were more about the poblano peppers than the nuts/chocolate of Mole Poblano. The goat was fantastic, reminded me a little of pulled pork. It was moist, some fat needed to be removed, but on the whole, it was terrific!

The mixed grill was just bad. Greasy as could be and the pork was basically all fat, i didn't even try it but my friend did and didn't like it. The beef was very thinly sliced (perhaps pounded?), almost like beef jerky. I took only one taste and was put off by the grease factor. The nopale, cactus paddle, was ok, actually tasted more like meat than veg, but that might've just been its proximity to the steak...

I probably wouldn't go back, unless it was just for the goat. I'd be afraid to try the Pollo Mole, as I fear it'd be mostly bone and skin/fat... But that mole on the goat, wow...

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  1. This may be too far away from you but I love this place in West Long Branch called La Sierra Oaxaca Mexican Restaurant. The place is a little rough but we thought the food was great and much more interesting than Acapulquenos. My husband, as always, ordered a chicken burrito. I usually find burritos boring but it had a great smoky flavor and some interesting cheeses- I kept asking for bites. The first time we went I had delicious tacos- goat, carne asada and carnitas/pork- that came with pickled peppers and onion on the side. The green sauce for chips was fresh and really good. The second time I got the poblano mole. Another table had ordered a whole fried red snapper that I coveted. I will definitely go back and would be interested to hear if anyone else likes this place

    5 Replies
    1. re: taste test

      Thanks -- just curious about the mole (a Oaxacan specialty). What was it like?

      1. re: squid-kun

        I should say that I'm not a mole' expert but I thought it was smoky and complex as I'd expect a good mole to be. The tacos/meats are the best I've had in NJ and the burrito had a sour cream/queso fresca topping that I thought was a nice touch.

        Less authentic (American owner/cook) but really delicious is 10th Avenue Burrito in Belmar. I just went there today and had the fabulous fish tacos. It's counter service and can get crowded but is worth the wait.

        1. re: taste test

          That's helpful -- thanks. I'm no mole expert either. But I'd love to learn more about 'em! Nice tip from Belmar, too.

        2. re: squid-kun

          not sure if you were asking me or taste test...
          this mole was more poblano chile in flavor. Poblano mole, on the other hand, highlights the almond and chocolat, while the chiles themselves are more of an undertone. This Oaxacan mole was more one-note than the Poblano. I liked it and liked that it was different, but i think that I prefer the Poblano, ultimately. Not, however, the cloyingly sweet and over-chocolatey kind that you can get at, say, Tortugas Mexican Village in Princeton.

        3. re: taste test

          Do you have an address and/or phone number for La Sierra Oaxaca Mexican Restaurant? It sounds great and I would like to try it.