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Apr 18, 2007 10:27 AM

Oringer's new Mexican place.

I know how much everyone here just loves Zagat, but info is info, and I just got this emailed to me:

Red hot in every way, Ken Oringer’s new taqueria, La Verdad, is lighting up Lansdowne Street, with foodies and Fenway fans alike crowding in amid shelves of premium tequila bottles and scattered pieces of Mexican folk art for the chance to dine at a fraction of the cost of Clio; its menu features an array of tacos and appetizers like grilled corn borrowed from sibling Toro, as well as heartier entrees.

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    1. re: MaineRed

      You posted on a Saturday, MaineRed, how am I supposed to keep up with that, considering my cosmopolitan lifestyle? :)

      So, are the fish tacos El Pelon-ish, or a completely different animal (or fish)?

    2. Pfffft, old news! Actually, I only got a "preview" glimpse as documented in the link MaineRed posted (we accidentally crashed a soft-opening night -- nobody asked us for an invitation!), got to try just tacos, but liked it a lot. The fish had a very light, crispy coating, gorgeous sauce on it, rather different from El Pelon's.

      As interesting to me is news from the same Zagat bulletin about Vlora, an Italian / Greek / Albanian place coming to the old subterranean Friends spot on Boylston St in the Back Bay. I really miss Cafe Apollonia!

      10 Replies
      1. re: MC Slim JB

        I'm intrigued by your description of the fish tacos, which sound much more like a proper San Diego fish taco than those lumpy, leaden things they serve at El Pelon. How was the slaw?

        1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

          Someday, I'm going to open a place called "San Felipe," and serve the fish tacos I had so often during college weekends in the Baja town of the same name.

          1. re: Bostonbob3

            Sorry to veer off topic here, but have you guys found any Diego style carne asada burritos in Boston?

          2. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

            Slaw? On all the tacos, there was scant more than a sauce (the key flavor contrast with the filling), some chopped herbs (lots of cilantro, for one). There were maybe a few shreds of cabbage on that pescado. They're pretty near naked. Two layers of good corn tortillas about 4" across.

            Anyone know what their official prices are?

            1. re: MC Slim JB

              What are the operating hours? I have a group of 10. TIA.

              1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                Yep - far better than El Pelon's version. Compared to the rest of tacos on the menu, the fish taco was probably the one with the least amount of sauce; the slaw and faintly spicy mayo-ish sauce was light and just enough for a textural contrast.

                1. re: limster

                  Terrific. I was so terribly disappointed by El Pelon's that I'd given up hope that there would ever be a good fish taco in Boston. That sounds exactly right, and I'm definitely off to try them as soon as possible. Anyone know if they have lunch hours?

                  Now if someone would just open a New Mexican restaurant...

                  1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                    Yes, they're open for lunch.
                    I hear you re N.M.

                    1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                      Try the fish taco at Cafe D in JP. Best around.

                1. The original comment has been removed
                  1. We loved the tortas - E was a bit disappointed that it wasn't the classic bolillo roll, but instead more like a cemita, slightly chewy and covered with sesame seeds (which I prefer). Delicious. It includes refried black beans, Oaxacan string cheese, molasses-glazed chipotles, avocado, mayo, and cilantro with either chicken milanesa, carne asada, carnitsa, chile relleno, or hamburgesa. 7.95. We tried the chicken and the the carne asada. Both were great, but the carne asada was our favorite. I could go for one now.

                  2. Got in before the game tonight, still able to get a table at around 6, barely. We ordered drinks and a plate of the chips and guacamole for my friend and, after reading about it here, the grilled corn for myself. Then began the troubles. After a time, over ten minutes, the manager (KO himself? Thin, dark hair?) came over to see why we were still waiting for anything to arrive. We explained that we had ordered drinks and apps, told him what they were, and he went straight to the bar and kitchen to presumably hurry things along. My margarita was excellent, easily one of the best I have ever had, but the glass of water I had also asked for never appeared. Well, it did, but 20 minutes or so later when I asked for it again. The chips were in fact wonderful, my friend, who works in the kitchen of an organic food store, was very impressed to find chips that were both tasty and seemingly devoid of grease, testing them by runing her fingers across and looking for the sheen that was never to be found. The guacamole was indeed lacking any kick, but it did have a vibrant fresh avacado flavor, a perfect treat to follow the first two warm days of the year. We both enjoyed them, and I finished my margarita, and we looked around, and we waited some more. And some more. Eventually my corn arrived, dropped off by someone from the kitchen, and I enjoyed while looking longingly at all the folks hoisting glasses of beer. Or even water. The manager stopped over again, and we quickly ordered some tacos, and beer, and water and realized that our waitress had not even been seen in the dining room for quite some time. The water arrived. Then my tacos (the fish taco is indeed wonderful). Then more of the waiting. At some point our waitress did reappear, and apologized, and left, and the manager was flagged down and again asked for a beer, and to his credit brought me two, comping them both, and then some more waiting. When it was almost time for the anthem to be played my friends dinner arrived, mine long gone, and we carried it in to the park.
                    Yes the food is very good, and the prices are as well. And yes, the place is very young and still trying to figure it all out. I believe that they will, and I will be back before my next game, a safe month away. My friend's late meal was comped also, and when problems were brought to anyone's attention they tried to solve them quickly and graciously. If that was Ken himself I have a great deal of respect for him, having managed restaurants myself many years ago, and seeing him there in the trenches, fielding questions, bussing tables, even taking orders and schlepping drinks when needed. If it was not Ken, then he has an excellent manager working for him and I am sure that he will have things running smoothly in a homestand or two.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: ChrisConcord

                      I too swung by last night and ordered from the takeout window.

                      At about 6:30 there was no line so I figured what the heck. Two tacos please, one fish and one shrimp (with Governor sauce?), ~2.50 a piece. As I stood to the side and waited, several others ordered some burritos. I looked into the kitchen and saw the bar manager (who is a holdover from the Tiki Room) sort of glaring at the kitchen crew, seemingly waiting for orders. The system seems to be a bit suspect at this point. I ordered to go and paid, but didn't get a number or anything. So I just hung around looking for a two taco order and was prepared to pounce if it looked like mine.

                      Others would order from the take out window and state their location inside the restaurant to the left, and I'm not sure the girl at the counter was really noting that in the order or just trying to remember it.

                      After about 15 minutes, the burritos (ordered after me) came out. Hmm, getting precariously close to first pitch. A minute or two after that, my tacos came out. Way too long for "take-out".

                      My suggestions would be to get a number system in place and seperate the dining room orders from the take-out orders. There's no way two tacos should take 25 minutes at the takeout window when there's no line (they're about 4 bites a piece).

                      I'm sure they'll figure it out. Too bad they couldn't have opened in the offseason to iron out some of the logistics of operating this sort of multi-faceted venture.

                      1. re: ChrisConcord

                        We must have been sitting next to you last night b/c we had the same experience...
                        i was just going to post a similar experience...
                        Went to La Verdad last night for a quick bite before the Sox game. This was my second experience...and im not sure I’ll be back anytime soon...

                        First experience was decent. A nice option to the burger joints on Landsdowne. Great tequila selection. Reasonable prices. I shared the signature grilled corn with mayonesa and cotija cheese, an order of guacamole and several tacos....everything was fresh and seasoned nicely. Guacamole was ok -- just mashed up avocado that needs a little umph. The carnitas and pescado tacos were also very good, with a close second for the shrimp taco in governor’s sauce.

                        Second visit was a disaster. Walked into the restaurant at 6:10 (it was busy, but not insanely so)...we sat down and ordered 2 beers, a specialty drink and some guacamole...20 minutes later only one beer and the wrong drink shows food, no waitress to be found. We locate the manager who sort of apologies and says he will locate our drinks etc....another 10 minutes pass and still no food or drink...finally, we get the tacos -- but 2 of the 4 we ordered were incorrect and still no guacamole! We explain to the waitress again what we want and 5 minutes later another set of tacos comes out....but of course they are incorrect. And still no guacamole!!!!!

                        I understand that it takes time to work out the kinks in a new restaurant but this was beyond belief. We watched as the wait staff milled about aimlessly....we could not tell if the bottleneck was in the kitchen or at the was clear though that no one was hustling or really cared about the customer. The manager didn’t come over again to check on anyone (most of the people around us had experienced the same problems) – in fact, Im not sure what the heck he was doing

                        The staff does not seem to have a clue what is on the menu or even at the bar – It is clear that our waitress didn’t understand what we were ordering. On my Saturday visit, the bartender asked another bartender if they had sangria -- and asked literally right in front of the vat of red wine and fruit.

                        I know it’s difficult to find good help but I’m a little surprised Mr. Oringer doesn’t have higher standards for management staff that understands how to treat customers. I wasn’t looking for freebies or special treatment – but a manager who could come in and take control of a situation to make the customer feel good – simply by executing it properly and getting it right. I have also had the same type of experience at Toro - inattentive wait staff, screwed up orders with little apology