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Dec 21, 2006 10:37 PM

Picante brief report

Went for lunch as it was convenient and time was short.

guacamole: excellent flavor but small portion, and what's up with serving it on shredded lettuce? tasty warm corn chips (strips, not triangles) but a lot of pieces were too narrow to dip

green (tomatillo-cilantro) salsa: much improved, really delicious, spicier than it used to be

red salsa: vinegary, vaguely a mild Tabasco, not very good

habanero salsa: sweet, weird

fish tacos: downhill, the nice red cabbage salad has been replace by sweet mango salsa, making the tacos way too sweet, would not order again

tamales norteƱos (pork): new dish? very dry masa, dried-out chewy pork, no sign of the promised "rich, dark anchos chile sauce," would not order again

refried beans: much improved, really delicious

rice: very good, better than I remembered

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  1. The shredded lettuce under guacamole is one of the oldest tricks in the book. Supposedly it makes it look like a bigger portion; though it obviously didn't fool you, did it?

    1 Reply
    1. re: sarvey

      Given the quality I didn't think $4.25 was a ripoff, but I'd tell them to hold the lettuce next time.

    2. Agreed, the fish tacos have gone downhill and it comes with a weird creamy guac/avocado "salsa"/sauce now. What is that? S

      1. One of my favorate things at Picante is the refried beans - I assume there must be a good helping of lard. Very few other dishes consistently impress - sometimes the Manchamanteles, sometimes the carnitas. I feel bad saying it, but they seem to be drifting toward chain mexican quality. Would be very sad for Berkeley.

        7 Replies
        1. re: A Amore

          No lard, they're vegetarian. In the past I always found them boring.

          The menu's always been hit and miss.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                They're not, though. Only the black and pinto beans are. The rice, however, is vegetarian (they're, typically, made w/ chicken broth).

                1. re: MollyGee

                  How do you know the menu's wrong?

                  Given how great the refried beans taste, I could easily believe they're using lard, but it seems implausible that such a Berklified place would mislead vegetarian customers.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    Picante has a vegetarian menu that is seperate from the normal menu. On the vegetarian menu, only pinto beans and black beans are listed.

                    1. re: Morton the Mousse

                      When I looked the other day, refried beans were listed among the dishes that are vegan if you order them without cheese or crema.

                      Maybe they have both tasty and vegetarian versions?

        2. Eating here a lot lately. I'm settling on the Sopa Azteca as my favorite. The
          burrito's ok but coming in at about seven bucks, it's a bit nuts. I completely agree
          with the salsa assessment: the habanero is not what it used to be (in a bad way)
          and neither is the green (but in a good way).

          1. None of the food is as it was two to three years ago. Definitely downhill. I find the food from Las Palmas on College or Montero's, for example, much better now. Very disappointing. We used to go to Picante a lot.