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Taqueria Jalisco, East Boston

With all of the places in Eastie calling out for some love, I have to give a big shout-out to Jalisco and the tremendous food they are dishing up there. We started with tacos -- cabeza, lengua, and adobada -- accompanied by really excellent salsas. The cabeza was out of this world -- deep meaty flavor with the perfect amount of fat. Even better when slathered with avocado / serano salsa and lime. Really outstanding.

One of our party had called ahead and asked the proprietress, Maria, to prepare Carne en su Jugo, a Jaliscan specialty which I'd never even heard of before. Literally "meat in its own juices" is a bowl of beef, beans and broth served with various toppings to dress it up, and a side of hot tortillas. Radishes, onions (raw and sauteed), bacon, cilantro, lime. You top your bowl as you wish, or make a little taco to dip in the bowl, or just mainline it right into a vein. We asked her what else was in the broth -- it couldn't just be beef, but she said it was. When I cornered her later in the kitchen, she admitted the beef was sauteed in the bacon drippings, which made sense. Still, the broth wasn't greasy at all, just richly flavorful and deep.

The place is small and clean, and the regulars were enjoying plates heaped with meats, rice and beans. Everything looked great and I'd go back for the tacos alone, but if enough of us order the Carne en su jugo, maybe she'd put it on the menu. Either way, it's totally worth a trip to East Boston for a taste.

Place link thinks it's 293 Bennington but it's actually 291. Find it. Stat.

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Rosticeria Jalisco
293 Bennington St, Boston, MA 02128

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    1. Even leaving the wonderful Carne en su jugo out of the equation, the tacos, and particularly the sauces are some of the best I've had in Boston. Truly on a higher level then anything else here.

      1. Last weekend, we started next door at El Buen Gusto with the roast rabbit & the 4 pupusas on the menu and then back to Jalisco for the wonderfully complex birria spiced w/clove and a big bowl of pozole. Not quite enough room for the Mazamorra Morada dessert at Rincon Limeno like last time.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Taralli

          That weekend-only birria is Not To Be Missed. Carne en su jugo goes on the list.

          1. re: Aromatherapy

            Aromatherapy, have you had the Taqueria Mexico Birria to compare (I am guessing you are the most likely of the "chow crew" to have had both but its directed at anyone)? Sounds like the Jalisco meat (res only right) is a bit nicer, whereas TM its more the broth (and I have had a bit of chivo thrown in there, on the tough side... once I thought there might be a touch of dried beef, but its still mainly carne de res). Worth the visit anyways, but definitely hoping to try the Jalisco version soon.

            1. re: itaunas

              Nope not me. Not something I tend to order to be honest but it came so well recommended, I had to try it. Be interested in your comparison. Yes, Jalisco is beef, but it would be worth trying to special order goat. Hmmm.

              1. re: Aromatherapy

                I did speak to Maria about birria de chivo, which she said is not out of the realm of possibility, but does require them to source goat which is not on their regular menu.

                I am also curious to try their birria as well as other versions around town. Like CESJ, there are so many different styles, and they all speak to me.

          2. re: Taralli

            A gem indeed. That birria is addictive, and the pozole--while not quite in the same class--is a very creditable chile-spiked version with lots of hominy and pork. Can't wait to try carne en su jugo.

            More photos are here:
            http://www.flickr.com/photos/84539512...

             
             
            1. re: NoNatto

              With yumyum's description & your photos, I can't wait to check this place out!

          3. Oh, boy. I had Mi Pueblito and Topacio as my next two places to try in Eastie, but I may need to add this one to the short list as well. Thanks for the report!

            1. yumyum, thanks for the excellent write-up and for your & Striperguy's lovely and lively company to boot.

              A few months ago, Striperguy took me on my maiden voyage to Taqueria Jalisco and I just had to ask if the possibility of traditional Jaliscan specialty dishes, like CESJ, might be a possibility. Maria was delighted with the request and simply asked for a couple of days heads-up, and so it was with great excitement that I phoned her recently to see if my day had come.

              The care TJ takes in its food is immediately evident in the trifecta of table salsas, that attack from every flavor angle - bright and tangy to the deep, earthy and chile-laden end of the spectrum.

              Trio of table salsas:

              http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2426/3...

              As yumyum mentions above, the cabeza was a particular standout in all its buttery glory; the lengua so tender the fine chop totally unnecessary; adobada perhaps a little timid in flavor, but it ate just fine when perked up with some heat.

              Tacos (L to R: adobada, cabeza, lengua

              )

              http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2437/3...

              I've had maybe only a half-dozen or so versions of CESJ, but thought Taqueria Jalisco's rendition was excellent and prepared with great care. The broth gave off an enticing aroma, and was rich and potent in beef flavor, but amazingly light and well-balanced at the same time. Indeed it's a bowl of balance, the yin and yang of crisp, raw combined with buttery-soft cooked onions, tender steak and beans with crunchy bacon as counterpoint, cut by bright radish and cilantro, all wrapped up in a homey and comforting beef broth.

              'Naked' CESJ:

              http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3487/3...

              'Dressed':

              http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3505/3...

              It's important to note that carne en su jugo is not on the menu, but I'm confident that if you call a few days in advance of your visit, they will oblige with the request, and who knows, maybe with enough requests it will find its way onto the printed rotation.

              Taqueria Jalisco
              291 Bennington St. East
              East Boston
              617.567.6367

              -Nab

              PS. I would be remiss if I didn't point you to my friend's comprehensive examination of CESJ, which is an excellent analysis of the finer points worthy of consideration:

              http://www.lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic....

              2 Replies
              1. re: Nab

                As another friend of the CESJ scholar Nab mentions, I feel compelled to urge people not to skip over that link. It's a stunning work.

                Looking forward to hitting Jalisco myself! I've heard such dire proclamations about Boston's Mexican scene, it's heartening to hear about a place like this.

                1. re: Nab

                  I have to say, her table salsas are amongst the best I have ever had anywhere, ever, period.

                2. Hey, did any of you folks who have been there happen to note the hours? Can't seem to find them online anywhere.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Dmnkly

                    Dom, I'm looking at a takeout menu right now, and there are no hours posted, but my recollection from the conversation I had with Maria was they were closing at 10pm on weeknights, though that does seem a tad early and I could very well be wrong. Worth a phone call, for sure.

                  2. Mmmm, cattle head broth. This is my favorite CH Boston thread in a while! I am going to drop CESJ in conversation every chance I get. Nothing better than learning about something I've never even heard of before! Can't wait to try.

                    http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                    1. Must have gone on a bad day. After lecturing in Boston travelled from the Longwood area to have a late lunch, based on this review. It was a weekday, so that some of the specials, expecially the birria, were unavailable. My DP and I shared the taco special, and had the shrimp dish that the person in the next table was eating, by pointing at it. Waitress sweet and quick. One of the three tacos unedible- basically meat gristle. The lengua somewhat boring, compared to many others I have had in Mexico. The avocado based salsa not bad, the other two one dimensional.

                      Shrimp inedible. Strong iodine odor and flavor, and I thought it would be hotter, given the red color. This aspect was my fault- should have asked. Since we basically didn't eat, had a few pupusas next door, which were magnificent, and stopped by Maria's pastry shop on the way back for an out of this world lobster claw.

                      May need to try again for dinner on a weekend. After the reviews, Jalisco a true let down.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: aadesmd

                        I bet the head lady wasn't there, so sorry, that's a drag.

                        Heck, Rincon Limeno nearby is also awesome.

                        1. re: StriperGuy

                          I think you are right. There was an early 20's guy doing the cooking. I could eat at Rincon Limeno every night. One of my favorites anywhere.

                        2. re: aadesmd

                          I think it's probably important to note that the lengua is a very simple prep, by design. This is not lengua guisado stewed with onions & spices. Nor is it marinated & grilled over a wood flame. It is totally unadorned by other spices or external flavouring, but is meaty & tender and, probably most importantly, a good vehicle for the excellent salsas.

                        3. Quick note abut the T!! for August -

                          The Blue Line is being worked on - Still simple as could be!o Get off at Airport, cross over the tracks to the Inbound side, and exit there. (Google map the walking directions - abt 7 minutes - if that! - to Day Square! Rincon Limeno and Taqueria Jalisco)