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Feb 29, 2008 11:03 AM

Menuderia Don Vicente SD

I have been healed. Don Vicente's cocineras do not mess around; their bowls of menudo are truly blessed.

This restaurant is a shining example of a theory I believe in regarding the ability to taste the feminine touch in food. For this I love them.

My favorite taqueria up in Fallbrook - Las Brisas serves up a 180 degree different tripe soup. Theirs is everything a masculine taqueria menudo should be - in its aggresive, hearty. ersatz-caffeine eye opening style.

In contrast, the menuderia's soup is delicate, nuanced, and gentle. There is not a hint of poorly cleaned tripe aroma - which I call out to be the reason for the gauchupine adversity. If you are willing to give Menudo a chance - I implore you that this is the place to do so and if you need a friend to provide support - I'm so there. :^)

Another reason why I love this place: when they bring out your accoutrements while you wait, in one of the mini molcajetes is a minimalmist sparerib swimming in a verdent tomatillo sauce. A mexicana amuse-bouche. They give you a handmade tortilla to address this. According to my friend EN, this would be following the tradition in Mexico of offering little bites - antojitos - such as a sope gratis [free] before meal, in place of the american tortilla chips we are used to.

Did I mention their handmade tortillas, that are fresh masa based? Yep, some of the best I have had in San Diego and certainly rival those had at Imperial ave. Farmers Market.

The menudo - I had their red version - comes with proper nixtamal - pozole corn. They do not cheat with the canned giant hominy. Their nixtamal is pleasantly mini and they have reconsituted it.

I sensed a slight tomato element in with the light chile broth - which lend a wonderful umami element to it all. You get a pata bone with marrow included to provide its quintessantal richness.

I think I found San Diego's best Menudo - but you will just have to go there your self to form your own opinion.

Menuderia Don Vicente
2637 Highland Ave.
National City
Daily 8am - 8pm.

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  1. The place is crazy on Sunday Morning. There is a line out the door and I suddenly felt like I was the original house of pancakes for the Sunday morning rush. Luckily, being a single diner - I was quickly sat at a two top.

    There was almost a constast rush of the waiters and waitresses out of the kitchen with bowls of soup, hot tortillas, cafe and drinks.

    I had the pozole verde and a coffee.

    As I waited I enjoyed seeing the familes all having breakfast together - some looking as if they had just come from Sunday Mass.

    The coffee and accoutrements arrived and I was once again impressed by the costillita - this does warrent a main dish ordering of.

    Following this, the steaming soup came in all of its rendolent meadow green color and herbal aroma.

    The tortillas were extremely warm - so good! I love the chew and thickness of proper tortillas that are hand made. Some of the people in the room were just salting them and eating them straight.

    Next up I am going to try the blanco menudo.

    This place is quickly becoming a favorite! ;^)

    6 Replies
    1. re: kare_raisu

      I think almost every place is quickly becoming your favorite ;-D

      Do they do red and white pozole too? And are there soups other than menudo and/or pozole? I like a good caldo de res every now and then.

      1. re: DiningDiva

        Don Pedro's at 3rd & Davidson in Chula Vista has the most delectable caldo AND menudo. Not everything they have is wonderful but their soups are. Also tacos de cabeza. Trust me, DD & Alex.

        1. re: P Macias

          tacos de cabeza....mmm!....I am so there!

        2. re: DiningDiva

          I know! :^) What can I say - I've got the snout of a xoloitzcuintle for good Mexican eats!

          1. re: DiningDiva

            No white or red pozole - only the green strangely! They do have a beef birria, amazing costillitas, flautas, & tostadas.

            We should Chowdown there if anyone is up for it. Totally chow-worthy.

            1. re: kare_raisu

              Absolutely, count me in.
              I am numero uno on this list! Just say when. I don't even have to wait for a crowd.

        3. Do any of these serve menudo during the week? I had posted once before in search of a weekday menudo destination...I'm headed to the kitchen to start a batch of my homemade until then...

          3 Replies
          1. re: LisaSD

            Everyday you can get blanco or rojo at Vicente! Yes, finally someone who like menudo.... ;)

            1. re: kare_raisu

              Heck, I like EVERYTHING you post about Alex! You da man!

              1. re: LisaSD

                That makes me so happy to hear, Lisa! :)
                You will like Vicentes! I promise. It may not be as good as your homemade menudo but its the best version I have had. Truly Trancendent!

          2. I finally had the Menudo Blanco - the white brothed version of the caldo para crudos popular in the states of Sinaloa and Sonora.

            I posted some pictures here:

            4 Replies
            1. re: kare_raisu

              Alex, I noted that someone had recommended you to try Dona Maria's Pozoleria at 1660 Broadway in Chula Vista. I tried it today. Fairly new. Yet another Tiajuana restauranteur opens in Chula Vista. Very clean place too. I was the only gavacha in the place and the waiter spoke to me in Spanish and gave me the Spanish menu version. . There were 3 couples, 2 BIG young guys with a huge bowl of steaming something, and two families with small babies. After the waiter took my order he brought out 3 molcajetes, two with separate red sauces and one with chopped onion and lime wedges, along with a basket of crisp fried tortillas. Sort of a make your own tostado. I tried a bite just to taste the salsas which were not too spicy but very tasty. I had a taste for menudo con patas but they're only served on weekends. The sign says "Pancita, Estillo del Guerrero", Alex, check it out. Of course pozole , in three sizes, is served every day but I saw Number #14 was three enchiladas with mole sauce, quote "not sweet,not hot".That piqued my interest and I wanted to taste Guerrero style mole. YUM, honey! It WAS not hot nor sweet but rather just hot enough and just sweet enough, black and thick and the meat that wasn't specified on the menu turned out to be very tender shredded beef, almost as good as pork. The dish was topped with lettuce, tomato slices, avocado slices and fresh cheese. Very filling.
              Written on a blackboard in the corner was Hoy Sesos. I had noticed one of the pozole dishes was served with "meats". Whatever, I'm up for it.
              The appetizer list included chicharonnes and pickled pigs feet. I saw some on another table as I was leaving. Alright! I will be back. Most likely on the weekend for menudo. We don't have to go down to TJ to eat anymore, CV has the goods.

              1. re: P Macias

                Hey Pat - great write up!
                The Guerrerean Mole sounds divine.

                I think this post may have been buried too soon:

                1. re: kare_raisu

                  I haven't been current with the posts. How did I ever miss this one? Buried, is right. I really like the place and go often. As far as Don Vicente's goes, I go there pretty often too. As you say, it is addictive. Costillas amuse bouche? Nothing doing, I order the whole plate, the grande. Oink. And you are right about the staff, they're darling. I'm so glad half of TJ is now cooking in the south bay and I don't have to drive 10 miles for a great meal.
                  Still haven't heard if you have tried El Negro Durazo. If not, why not? I'd like your assessment.

                  1. re: P Macias

                    What have you had at DV so far Pat? I have seen negro durazno - what should i get there?

            2. Alex, I finally got a chance to head down to Nat City and have the menudo you recommended. I had the Blanco and it was everything you said it would be! (I took my own Chile Tepin in a baggie to spice it up Just Right!). I loved, loved, loved the hand made's been years since I had any like that. Thank you so much for the rec...I am a fan.

              I imagine it is a zoo on the weekends there!

              4 Replies
              1. re: LisaSD

                Awesomeness! You are the first chowhound to visit and you even brought the tepin! Don Vicentes is truly my favorite restaurant at the moment. The servers are super sweet - especially Lidia from Oaxaca and the young guy.

                What did you think of the costillita amuse bouche? I think the arbol-tomato salsa is killer. Horchata is rustic and house made as is the Jamaica.

                They are going to start serving Chilaquiles for breakfast soon.
                I turned my friends from my History of Mexico class onto the place and we've been back at least twice a week. We crave it...its become an addiction...

                It made my day to hear you enjoyed yourself! Ay, you are making me hungry for DVs!

                1. re: kare_raisu

                  I've been so busy that I haven't had a chance to catch up on the boards. So much going on!

                  To answer your question, I was not expecting to love the costillitas like I did and poured out the sauce on my little plate so I could dip every bite of tortilla into it - so delicious. (I really wanted to just put the little dish up to my lips and drink the was THAT good! ha ha!)

                  I had the Jamaica and thought it was the perfect accompaniment to my meal. If they make Chilaquiles, then I will be there even more often. Have you ever tried the Chilaquiles at Jimmy Carter's on 5th Avenue? I think you'd like them. I also like them at Whole Foods food bar...those are made with chicken.

                  1. re: LisaSD

                    That costillita sauce is very tasty!

                    They make the aguas frescas in house - I need to check out the Jamaica - I always get the horchata.

                    No, I havent had chilaquiles outside of Cocina or my home in SD. I'll try these out.

                    The menuderia is seving their breakfasts as of last week. It worth noting that I found out the cooks are from Sinaloa - so you may want to check out the machaca too!

                    1. re: kare_raisu

                      I tried the chilaquiles rojos for breakfast - really good. Their red sauce is tomato based with a pleasant chile de arbol backround. I asked for a huevo estrellado for my egg topping and it was awesome with the refritos.

              2. Btw - you can ask for 'puro pancita' option here if you dont want nixtamal in the soup.