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Oct 10, 2008 06:24 PM

SFV alert-Regional Mexican in No.Hollywood

I happened upon Don Huarache the other day heading towards home on Burbank Bl. when I saw the grand opening sign and "estilo D.F." ad.I walked in and talked with the chef, a recent arrival from just outside D.F.,to discover that we now have the first serious Mexican food restaurant in the Valley.Homemade chicharron prensado!!!!! That's right.

Don Huarache makes sopes, quesadillas preparadas(real quesadillas),and huaraches estilo D.F.(their specialty) to order with tinga de pollo(spicy chicken), tinga de res(spicy beef), chicharron prensado(pressed chicharron),hongos(mushrooms),picadillo,chorizo, queso y frijol(cheese and bean), and asada.Pambazos, tortas Mexicanas, tortas Cubanas,tacos, and cemitas.They have comida corrida(complete meals with rice, soup,agua fresca,tortillas,and a dessert.Don Huarache makes alambres and has an al a carte menu of classic dishes like bistec encebollado and camarones a la diabla.Breakfasts of real huevo ranchero and other egg classics are $4.25 a plate.On the weekends barbacoa de borrego with salsa borracha and homemade menudo.All of this wonderful food crafted by the gentleman from D.F. from scratch including the chicharron prensado(parts, fat, and chicharrones all pressed together), something I haven't even come across in East LA.

Don Huarache look as though it started out as a Starbuck's or the like, and made a left turn and plastered hand written menus all over the walls, as if to say, yeah, enough of this fresa %$#@, this is street food, man!But, they do serve expresso,coffee, and cappuccino and have some nice machines to deliver this service.How about a sundae?They do that too.An Icee?Right here.

I stopped today for a sope of chicharron prensado and another of tinga de res.The chicharron prensado was unreal, so balanced in flavor and just blended beautifully with the crema, lettuce, beans, and cheese.The tinga was spicy and oozing with complex tastes.I'm officially blown away.The agua de tamarindo was fresh and authentic, for a change.No instant powdered nonsense.

SFV Mexican food lover rejoice, we now have a true destination for authentic Mexican.Real food made by a chilango that aims for quality and sabor.Joana, a nice Guatemalteca was working today, made my sopes, but she assured me that "el morenito es el cocinero que cocina toda!"These people care about their food and know how to treat their customers.Next, the menudo, the barbacoa, and huevo ranchero that uses ranchero sauce, not the house salsa.Hooray!

Grand Opening
Menudo and expresso
Sopes estilo D.F.
Sope de chicharron prensado

Don Huarache
10719 Burbank Bl.(just east of Vineland
)North Hollywood,CA
Mon-Thurs 8-9
Friday-saturday 8-10
Sunday 9-6

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  1. Nice report. By "quesadillas preparadas(real quesadillas)" do you mean raw masa pressed out, filled, folded over into a sealed semi circle, then deep fried? Them's not that easy to find.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Professor Salt

      That's correct professor.Prepared with raw masa.They can be fried or cooked on a flat iron(a la plancha).I usually go to Breed St. on the weekends for this treat, but here it is, walking distance from my pad.I had my sopes today al la plancha, but I think they probably have a deep fryer handy, and could fry them.I will check soon, probably tomorrow.

    2. You are un-freaking-stoppable cabron! The handwritten menus are classic naco! Go on the weekend and report back on the borrego and menudo!

      2 Replies
      1. re: kare_raisu

        How about the Westfield Shopping Town tables, bought at swap meet?Nacissimo!

        Love it!!

      2. Went back today for huevo ranchero on my way out of town, and yes, it's a real ranchera sauce, not eggs with salsa.Had a taste of the barbacoa too, which was excellent.Authentic, delicious, and traditional huevo ranchero!!!!

        1. Well, is anybody getting this?The best Mexican restaurant in the San Fernando Valley has just upped the stakes.I finally did the obvious and had the huarache, which is the restaurants specialty.It was more like a snowshoe, gigantic!Well, I've had Haurache Azteca's huarache, and my favorite on Breed St., Nina's huarache with all her classic toppings, but Don Huarache reigns supreme.I haven't seen these type of huarache since my recent visits to D.F. and Guadalajara, in respect to their size and construction.And the flavor, a smear of stand alone refried black beans, cheese, grilled onions, the rare chicharron prensado,topped with grilled nopal, and garnished with lime and slices of radish, the chicharron prensado oozing its transcendent flavors onto the masa.

          Last night I was there with a friend who ordered the cemita poblana, which looked great although I was too distracted by my huarache to taste his cemita.The huarache is $5.50 and can easily be shared by 2 people.I took the leftover half home for my lunch today.

          This is the best huarache in Los Angeles.No me dudas! Intentalo! Where are my Valley MexHounds?Would love to hear your thoughts on this amazing restaurant right here in our own backyard.

          huarache de Don Huarache

          This is your huarache on crack!Any questions?

          1 Reply
          1. re: streetgourmetla

            I'm getting it...can't wait to try this place next week. I love sopes.

          2. I stopped by there this afternoon. I wanted to try a variety of things, so I got a cemita de asada, a quesadilla, and a taco al pastor. Yes I was hungry.

            The cemita was very good. I hadn't eaten one before, so I really don't have anything to compare it to. To be honest I hadn't even heard of them until an episode of Diners Drive Ins and Dives. The asada was tasty; it also had cheese, avocado slices, sliced onions, and what I think was some chipotle pepper in a sauce. Very unusual flavors. Will definitely get one again.

            The quesadilla was clearly not with a tortilla. The masa was oblong shaped, thicker and a bit grainier than a corn tortilla. Not deep fried, which is fine. It was also very good, although I prefer a greasier cheese on my quesadillas. Just a personal thing.

            The taco al pastor was a disappointment, imo. The meat was dry, although flavorful. I still think the al pastor at El Jerezano is the one to beat.

            I've never been to DF, so I'm not qualified to make any comments as to the authenticity of the style of food. It was very good, and it's definitely on my list of places to go to. For me though, there are other Mexican places that I like better.

            3 Replies
            1. re: fjrsean

              fjrsean, thanks for reporting back.Wow, where to begin?Well, for starters I'm in a fabulous mood, just had a quesadilla de huitlacoche at Nina's in BH, and a taco arroz con huevo,guiso de chicharron, and chorizo.And, I'm glad you liked the place over all.

              You did extremely well for your first cemita, you're starting at the top, as far as what's available here in LA.What you described is a definitive cemita, chipotle, quesillo, aguacate, cebolla, you just missed the classic version with a milanesa.Try that next time, asada isn't the most interesting expression of the cemita.

              The quesadilla was clearly not a tortilla?..............................that's good.What you described is an American version of a quesadilla widely available at places like El Torito, Jerry's Deli, Denny's,taco Bell, El Coyote, and the room service menu at the Holiday Inn.It's kind of like saying that Domino's deep dish Chicago style was alot better than Gino's East.But, that's not anyone's fault, real quesadillas are not served in Mexican-American restaurants, or Denny's.The quesadilla you had from DH is the real deal, like it or not.It's what you would find in Mexico City, or Guadalajara,etc.The Mexican quesadilla is made with raw masa, oblong, and cooked on a comal or fried.The fillings are the bas eof the flavor, and the Mexican cheese you had is typical.They will not put Monterrey Jack on your quesadilla if you ask for it in Mexico.Your personal thing is Mexican American in respect to quesadillas, but please, give them a chance and you may abandon the insipid American comfort version to the more profound flavors of a quesadilla preparada.

              I wouldn't go to DH for tacos either, but what you said made a lot of sense.Great flavor, but dry.Great flavor because the cook is chingon and makes his marinade from scratch, dry, because he doesn't have a spit to slow roast.The tacos, burritos, and fajitas here are about making money for the non-adventuous customer, and you don't need to order these items.

              You want the huarache, which will do you just fine the next time you're hungry.Have the sopes, and get used to the quesadillas, have the huevos rancheros, no they won't be covered in salsa, gloppy cheese, nor sour cream and an olive.They will have ranchera sauce.Try the pambazo, and have some more cemitas since you are already up to speed there.Oh, and two words, chicharron prensado.Weekends, menudo and barbacoa de borrego.

              And, perhaps a brief prohibition from gloppy cheese Mex-American joints to cleanse.I do hope you understand here that I'm just trying to help a fellow hound:)

              There is no better Mexican restaurant serving authentic Mexican in the SFV, period.There is no better authentic huarache in LA.The chef is a recent arrival from D.F., a chilango.What more could you ask for?And, I say without hesitation that his flavor and technique are truly authentic.

              Keep comin' please, I would love to see this gem around for a while, for purely selfish reasons.Anyways, I do appreciate your honest review and feedback on this spot.

              1. re: streetgourmetla

                Let me clarify my "clearly not a tortilla" comment: It didn't look like the packaged tortillas that I buy at Vallarta. I've eaten at Gino's East, so I get the analogy. :) As far as eating "Mexican American" food, what can I say, I'm a gabacho :) but I'm always open to trying new styles, otherwise I wouldn't have gone there in the first place. Oh, and the Westfield tables was classic.

                As an aside, it reminds me of the first time I ate at a Mexican restaurant in Mexico. I remember thinking, "this isn't what I'm used to" LOL

                Again, I never said it wasn't authentic. The place is definitely on my rotation, and next time I'll get the cemita milanesa. I honestly can't stand pork rinds though, so I'll be passing on the chicharron prensado.

                1. re: fjrsean

                  Cool,fjrsean.Yes the Westfield tables kill me.You'd be surprized by chicharron prensado, it's nothing like pork rinds.