Birria de chivo @ Los Rosales in SF?
Returning from lunch in the Mission on Tuesday, I noticed Los Rosales and a sign promoting birria de chivo estilo Michoacan. I think this is a new occupant of this space. Has anyone tried the birria or anything else here?
301 S Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA 94103
Just had a delicious lunch here, it's definitely worth adding into the rotation.
Based on just this one visit, I think the restaurant's specialty is braised meats. I had pork ribs, which were succulent, richly flavorful, and bathed in a deliciously complex and somewhat thick red sauce that bears no relation to SusanC's ranchero sauce. The ribs themselves looked like the orphaned small end of a rack of ribs, with fairly thin ribs and uneven lengths, which provided a nice variety to the experience of picking off the meat. Rice and beans were each tasty, though the rice might have had a hint of chicken stock powder--I didn't eat more than a few bites so I couldn't say for certain.
Large hand-made tortillas were abundant and delicious, and come back in a second life as fresh-fried tortilla chips with great crunch, if not enough salt.
My friend's chilaquiles was good but not as good as I was hoping, based on the chips--these chips are so thick that the first 10 bites were probably amazing, but as they absorb sauce their texture didn't go from crisp to soggy so much as it got hung up in the no-man's land of crisp-soggy. Strangely, I'd rather have soggy chips than half-soggy. The default salsa for the chilaquiles was green, but they improved when I used my ration to sop up some of my left over red sauce from the pork ribs.
Birria comes two ways, either the traditional soup form, or in a "taco form." The taco style birria (no consommé), which seemed like it was grilled and then braised, was delicious. A nice pile of birria meat was accompanied by more of the rice, beans, a sprinkling of all the traditional birria veggies & herbs, and plenty of those great tortillas to pull it all together. The menu also offers consommé on its own for close to $4.
With a bottomless supply of chips and salsa, both beer and juice or coffee for all, this came out just shy of $20 per person. I'm sure better renditions of these dishes can be found elsewhere in the bay area for less, but I felt like this restaurant was remarkably consistent from dish to dish and that the complexity and quality was very high. The abuelitas in the kitchen were definitely cooking with love.
"Bienvenidos a la casa de la birria":
Thus reads a mural painted on one wall of this place, which has been on my radar and 'to try' list for a while now. (Thanks for the nudges, Melanie and poulet). Now that I am happily unemployed I finally have time to start working through the list, and since I had errands this morning that took me right past Los Rosales, it went to the top of the list.
Got there around 11 a.m. not sure if I would have breakfast or lunch (both available at that hour). Alas, the birria is Saturday, Sunday and Monday only. Other 'weekend' (which includes Mondays at Los Rosales) offerings include pozole and menudo.
I was happy to see albondigas on the menu, and cosido de res, along with all the standard antojitos: enchiladas, tacos, several types of quesadillas, etc. There was a flatboard advertising the specials of the day (in Spanish) as mole, chicken salad, and pork chops. Apparently the day before the special had been costillas in salsa verde.
The friendly server quickly brought chips and nice salsa verde with some heat. She was somewhat shy (less so when I switched to Spanish, though language won't be a barrier here) but very friendly and accomodating as poulet noted.
The albondigas were tempting, of course, but it seemed a bit too hot out for soup, so I decided on breakfast, and asked for huevos rancheros and orange juice. Server told me they were out of orange juice but asked if I wanted to try a jugo de zanahoria. Sure. I then watched as she juiced the carrots one by one and brought me a large glass. Yumm. Orange juice would be a good choice here when they have oranges. Other drink options included a watermelon agua fresca, Mexican coke, Jarritos, Sidral, wine, and Mexican beer.
The huevos came out shortly after. They were served with three delicious and fresh house-made tortillas; when I scarfed those up I was asked if I wanted more...
The huevos themselves were just the other side of cooked perfectly (a bit less runny than I prefer), served on another one of those great tortillas that had been pan fried until crispy, and topped with a tomato based sauce. Rice, beans and house-made guacamole came on the side. There was a bit of cheese on the huevos, but not enough to interfere with the eggs.
The sauce on the eggs was tomato based and definitely thinner than I like, and there were large chunks of celery and and yellow pepper, which I am not a fan of. Bottom line: these weren't bad, but certainly not of the superior level of the huevos rancheros at Pastores on Mission.
However, the rice was very good, and the beans were excellent: smoky and delicious. The guacamole was also very good, just ripe avocado, cilantro and a bit of lime and seasoning.
Total for my early lunch with tax and tip was around $14. The juice was several dollars and the huevos were $7.50. I am still not hungry hours later.
I will be back, on a weekend, to try the birria. And, of course I have to check out the albondigas too, and that mole special..Yes, I'd say the place definitely has promise.
Oh, and now that I have time on my hand, I am experimenting with photos, so here (I hope) are my first attempts to show a food photo on CH! I hope the hounds will forgive the poor quality and keep in mind that I am just practicing with the camera... :-)
I believe this location used to be called New Central Restaurant which was known for their birria. I had the birria at New Central about 15 years ago and remember it to be outstanding. Went back today and I think I ordered wrong as had three tacos - carnitas, lengua and asada and while they were good, might have enjoyed taco truck just the same. I saw the birria and wished that I had ordered differently. Nevertheless, I would go back and just order differently, the service was great and could not have been more accomodating and the salsa that was served with the chips was very refreshing with a good bit of heat.
re: Melanie Wong
re: Melanie Wong
I've had Birria (soup, as I believe Los Rosales also has a dry birria plate) three times at Los Rosales. The first two times I found it very good as sfojam has described. The third time it tasted like water with goat meat.
My favorite place for birria (which I like even better than when it's good at Los Rosales) is Chavita's, at 26th & Mission. Los Rosales, although a hole-in-the-wall seems to be a nice, if a bit plain, family restaurant. Chavita's, OTOH, is a total dive. In my mind, it's the type of place where real macho dudes go for a bowl of menudo after a night of drinking.
The lime wedges you'll get will be in all different shapes and the onions and cilantro won't be evenly cut, but they have the best birria ever. Thick and smoky, flavored with spices (I've seen a few pieces of cloves floating around) and stuffed with tender goat. To die for. I've had two different types of salsa here; the dark red one is not for the faint of heart. The only part I was not impressed with was the handmade tortillas, which had a flat taste and consistency (the tortillas are much better at Los Rosales IMO)
Chavita's Mexican Restaurant
3006 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110