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Picante brief report

Robert Lauriston Dec 21, 2006 10:37 PM

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. s
    sarvey RE: Robert Lauriston Dec 21, 2006 10:45 PM

    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
      Robert Lauriston RE: sarvey Dec 22, 2006 12:56 AM

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

    2. m
      ML8000 RE: Robert Lauriston Dec 21, 2006 11:48 PM

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

      1. a
        A Amore RE: Robert Lauriston Dec 22, 2006 01:48 PM

        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
          Robert Lauriston RE: A Amore Dec 22, 2006 03:25 PM

          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
            MollyGee RE: Robert Lauriston Dec 23, 2006 06:25 AM

            Nope. There's lard in the refrieds.

            1. re: MollyGee
              Robert Lauriston RE: MollyGee Dec 23, 2006 03:30 PM

              The menu says they're vegetarian.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston
                MollyGee RE: Robert Lauriston Dec 24, 2006 06:31 AM

                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
                  Robert Lauriston RE: MollyGee Dec 24, 2006 03:30 PM

                  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
                    Morton the Mousse RE: Robert Lauriston Dec 25, 2006 05:08 PM

                    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
                      Robert Lauriston RE: Morton the Mousse Dec 25, 2006 05:37 PM

                      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. Chuckles the Clone RE: Robert Lauriston Dec 25, 2006 01:58 AM

          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. l
            lintygmom RE: Robert Lauriston Dec 26, 2006 05:32 PM

            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.

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