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Aug 19, 2006 07:06 AM

Las Brasas in San Jose?

So in another thread on the General Topics board about what would a hound eat for a last meal, "jrsmoltz" replies:

I know it's 3,000 miles away, but I would have to have a supreme burrito with carnitas con nopales from Las Brasas in San Jose, CA.

I have never had a better burrito and probably never will. I was very lucky to live three blocks away from them for three years.


Those are some compelling words and that carnitas w/ nopales sounds so good right now. Did a search on CH and there were only a few posts that merely mentioned this place among many. No juicy details.

So what's the latest on Las Brasas? Sounds like the poster hasn't eaten there in a while. I'd also like to know what else might be good. Thanks!

Las Brasas
763 E. Julian
San Jose
(408) 971-9669

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  1. When I lived a block away, it was a sunday tradition for me to walk over and get a burrito to watch football with. I started off with the regular ones because the supremes are $7.50 and I didn't have the highest paying job (let’s hear it for AmeriCorps!). but once I got the big one I never went back to the regular. They make the supreme with two regular burrito tortillas, and fresh avocado slices, crema, and the works. Something about the way they marinate the meats there, they just have so much flavor. My usual was the carnitas con nopales, which was always perfectly spiced, although there was some variation on the level of 'picante' each time -sometimes it was really spicy, sometimes just spicy. A close second would be the al pastor. One supreme was always enough for two meals for me and I'm 6'1, 235.

    Las Brasas is also known for their weekend tacos. on Friday and Saturday nights they set up a bbq area outside. the star of those shows would have to be the saudero tacos which is some specialty cut of beef that they only cook on fri and sat nights (and they won't put it in a burrito, I've asked). They have been voted best tacos in San Jose quite a few times.

    If you go, and I strongly recommend that you do, be careful to go during their operating hours. They are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays and for siesta 3:00-5:00. It’s a family run place and they have been known to shut down unexpectedly for a week or more for vacation or something else. In May, a friend of mine really scared me by saying that he went by and he thought they had closed down. Out of curiosity I gave them a call on a Friday night a few weeks later and they were open and I could hear all the people there. So they must have been renovating or on vacation when he went by. Call ahead to make sure they’re open.

    I’m heading back to SJ in about a week and can’t wait to get one of those burritos.

    3 Replies
    1. re: jrsmoltz

      Awesome! Thanks so much for responding. Let us know if the burrito lives up to your memories...

      1. re: Carb Lover

        Okay, let me start off by saying that this is not the post I was hoping to report back with.

        First the good news. I flew in on Saturday night and went straight to Las Brasas. Since it was saturday after 8:00 I knew that there would only be outdoor cooking and that I wouldn't get a burrito. I ordered one al pastor and two Saudero tacos. They lived up to my memories. Their saudero tacos have to be some of the most flavorful and tender beef I've had in some time. And the al pastor was stellar as usual. Plus the tacos have dropped from $2.50 to $2.

        Now for the bad news. On the door it listed their hours. In my previous post I said they were closed on Mon and Tue and for siesta. Well, now they're closed a little more. Their new operating hours are Thursday through Sunday, 5 to 11. No more Sunday morning football burritos.

        I didn't go back on Sunday, so some friends and I arrived at 5:30 on Thursday to find the place still closed. Very disappointed we tried to decide what to do. I walked around to the back of the restaurant and saw a few people. The closest one to me was a boy about ten years old who asked if he could help me. So I inquired as to why they weren't open. He told me they didn't have any meat and that they would be open tomorrow (Fri). Strange answer, but not worth thinking too much about; it was from a ten year old.

        I had a wedding in Berkeley on Friday evening and a wedding party in a park on Saturday afternoon. We started heading back to San Jose at about 5:30 and made arrangements to meet friends at Las Brasas. They called from the restaurant to let us know that we wouldn't be getting any burritos that day either (and that they would be finished with their tacos before we got back). So we ended up taking some more time getting back to town and ate elsewhere.

        When my friend asked when they actually served burritos he was given different answers from different employees. One (who he said was new) told him that they served them on Thurs and Sun evenings. Another who has been working there for years (and is most likely a family member) told him that they haven't been serving them for months.

        This led to wild speculation on the state of the restaurant. First of all, none of my friends has seen "Mama" for a long time. The Matron of the house, the woman who usually made the amazing burritos that I wrote about has been absent. So some speculation: Is she ill or worse? Have the family members who are running the restaurant been forced to cut back hours and menu items because of other commitments or financial problems? Will we ever taste those spectacular burritos again?

        One friend summed it up best when he said, "We were lucky to live next to them when we did."

        I will go back the next time I'm in the Bay area. The tacos are still great and I can still hold on to a shred of hope that the burritos will be back.

        1. re: jrsmoltz

          Oh, how sad! I'm glad you at least got tacos, but no burrito sounds very sad...

          Thanks for reporting back on the current instability of the place. Perhaps they have new ownership. I wish they were open for lunch, as I rarely am in that area for dinner. I'll keep it on my radar though and will report back if/when I go.

    2. I've been to las brasas. Very authentic place and location. You can imagine your in Mex. When I was there, one of the kids was hosing down a dog in the driveway, classic. I've been on the taco nights. It's cool they cook outside and you sit out there. As I recall, the tacos were a little pricey (my favorite taqeurias are under $2 per)