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Apr 15, 2007 10:00 AM

praise for el taqueria carrizal in allston

i encourage you to check out taqueria carrizal if you're ever in allston and are craving good, inexpensive and authentic mexican/central american fare.

my husband drove by el taqueria carrizal and suggested it for dinner last night. we're originally from california and have found it difficult to find mexican food here that's similar to what we're used to. so we've been in search of a restaurant that would fill our craving.

we were hopeful when we walked in. the manager greeted us in limited english with a thick spanish accent; at the front, was a jukebox with spanish songs; in the back, hoisted on the wall was a flat screen tv with a german (and later a mexican) soccer match going on. the restaurant was clean, modest and casual.

while we looked over the menu (first line in spanish, with translation in english on the second line), the chips and salsa came out. both were homemade. no canned salsa from this establishment--it was a cause for celebration.

hubby got the carrizal plate (marinated grilled beef, marinated chicken, rice and refried beans) and i got the chile relleno. he found the beef and chicken to be absolutely delicious, though the rice and beans were just decent. the chile relleno was massive. unfortunately, it was stuffed with beef (i'm used to it stuffed with cheese unless noted otherwise). with the language difference, it took a few tries before we were able to communicate that i don't eat beef and it's standard for their chile rellenos to be stuffed with beef. they were super friendly and accomodating, even though we couldn't communicate so well. the manager suggested alternatives and i settled on the chicken a la plancha (grilled chicken), which was excellent. the marinated chicken was incredibly moist and grilled to perfection. the salad was ok (iceburg lettuce, avocado and tomato slices, radishes).

i poured some bottle habanero sauce on the chicken when the manager passed by. he noticed that i really enjoy hot sauce so he brought out some of their salsa picante, secret recipe that they wouldn't divulge. there was a slight smokiness which makes us think they used chipotles. it was great salsa that rivals what i'm used to eating in la.

overall, we enjoyed the food (main entree was the highlight; the salad, rice and beans were ok). it was authentic stuff--too bad they don't serve alcohol. the staff was super friendly and helpful depsite the language difference. oh! another thing, it's not just mexican food--they also do guatemalan and salvadorean food. check it out if you're in allston, wanting casual, inexpensive but good food.

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  1. Address and phone would be great.

    6 Replies
    1. re: StriperGuy

      This place is brand new - it's replaced Sabor Latino, in Union Square (254 Brighton Ave). I pass it on the bus every day, and noticed the new signage last week. Googling doesn't yield a phone number yet.

        1. re: Joanie

          Like a month ago or so. It seemed to always by depressingly empty and cold-looking when I passed by, so no big surprise there.

          1. re: Joanie

            8-9 months ago, yeah - I was dismayed, especially because they were on my short list for the Dining around Allston project this week!

            1. re: Allstonian

              Haha, 1 month, 8 or 9 months, something like that.

              1. re: Luther

                Time flies! They were reviewed here on CH in late September of last year, and in the Globe in mid-July, so it's definitely more than a month.

                I can't tell how much of a change there's been, other than new name/new signage - the passing glimpse from the bus looks pretty much the same, and I don't actually walk past there very often.

      1. I ate there the other day, and while the meat and vegetables were high quality, the meat was quite flavorful and moist and the veggies were fresh and "lively", the beans were "out of a can" (like open the can and pour) and the rice was "out of the box" (though to be fair, I've had much better rice out of the box).

        The tacos were quite excellent though! My search for a taqueria with tacos like I used to get growing up in SoCal continues, but these definitely hit the spot in satisfying my craving, which is saying something.

        The burrito supremo wasn't amazing, it was filled with the same rice and beans as served on the side which was a huge distractor. The size was good and of course the meat used was excellent.

        The service as you said was excellent, I actually ordered mine to go (had to get back and watch more of the weekend's MLS games) and the young lady at the counter served me some chips and salsa while I wait. Not the greatest chips (and definitely not home made) but the gesture was quite nice.

        So all in all, I'd say the El Taqueria Carrizal experience was good. Get the taco's but ignore the sides. I will definitely go back when I crave a quick taco without having to bother looking for a new taqueria to try, and I will probably order something else off the menu to see how that goes.