SW Houston Chow - Trudi's Birria de Chivo
I thought this place was going out of business a couple of months ago but it’s just that they have very limited hours. It’s located in a one-time Bambolino’s drive-thru pizza-by-the-slice location at the corner of Bissonnet and Beechnut. Other tenants have included a hamburger/hot dog stand and another Mexican drive-thru taqueria that didn’t last. One of the tenants put up a deck and Trudi’s sets out tables with umbrellas when they’re open – there’s no neon ‘Open’ sign. Banners hanging on the side of the building and deck railing are the only identification.
I’ve seen people standing in line at 6:45am and I’ve seen cars parked every which way, like cowboys flocking to the chuck wagon, when they’re open and with their limited hours, I anticipated they must serve something very special and I was not disappointed. All they serve is birria de chivo – goat stew, I guess is a good translation. I got a Plato Chico, small plate, and got 3 cups of the stew, close to 2 cups of it meat, for $6. I also got a small cup of fiery, smokey and strangely nutty tasting salsa and a small cup of salsa fresca (pico de gallo) and some lime wedges, but no tortillas. The man gave me a small sample, after being sure I understood it was cabrito, and I knew I was in for a treat.
The stew is rich with meat, minced onions that were still a little crunchy, cilantro (not enough for my taste) and other spices and is very savory and satisfying. I couldn’t wait to warm up some tortillas. One of the attractions of goat meat is supposed to be that it is leaner than beef but they do not trim their meat closely and there’s a significant amount of visible fat in the dish and the broth is fatty.
The top item on the crude, hand-lettered menu on a torn piece of cardboard taped to the window is 25 lbs of birria – they make it in quantity and they sell it in quantity. There is also a platillo grande, consome vasos chico and grande (cups of soup) and tacos.
They’re open only Fri-Sat-Sun-Mon from 7am until they run out. I was there about noon on MLK day and they man said he had about 30 # left to sell. He speaks good enough English to communicate but his female helper apparently speaks none.
I think this is a real find. I could hardly force myself to stop eating but decided I needed to save some for later when I’ll go to the trouble to warm up some tortillas.
My second visit was quite a different story. The place was busy with most of the customers being families with small children to my surprise. Most appeared to hve been eating tacos; there were bowls of the salsa fresca and lime wedges on the tables. One lady was selling CDs out of a suitcase. Two young teens flanked the window where I had ordered before and as I approached one stepped in front of me and demanded to know what I wanted. I told him I wanted to order a Platillo Chico; he turned around and conveyed this to the person in the window 2 feet away. Turns out, this the wait-staff. There were 4 or 5 people inside helping out. Okay, so Trudi's whole family wants to get in on the action, that's fine with me.
I got a lot less product on this visit, slightly less than 2 cups over all, about half of it just broth. It also included some meat with the texture and taste of liver and some other organ parts. I'm wondering if I lucked out on the first visit to be there on a day when business was slow and the guy had lots of product to move. This serving had more cilantro and onion in it but wasn't as good as the previous (I had just finished off the last of the previous the night before).
I think I'll try to go on slow days.
Some corrections to the first post: the top item on the menu is one kilo of birria for $25. Tortillas are 10 for a buck as best as I could make out. I'd assume they're complimentary if you order the tacos.
Another place I've tried is Ostioneria la Michoacana, just west of Fondren, 2 blocks from Sharpstown Hi. A big sign in the window proclaims Barbacoa de Borrego. It's served as barbacoa, consome and tacos and translated as goat (I thought borrego was lamb???)
I've just had the consome so far, on the lunch buffet. The lunch buffet is a good bargain at $5.99 and everything I've had has been good; it seems to always include the consome de borrego or caldo de mariscos -- and the borrego is better. There is also a barbacoa de borrego house special plate for $6.99.