Taqueria Reynoso – my new Fruitvale favorite - tacos campechano, tacos dorado de barbacoa, and the best bare-bones burrito
This is an odd little sit-down place near the corner of Fruitvale and Foothill – the décor is nearly nonexistent, the door’s always wide open, propped open by a tamale cart, so I’m nearly as cold as if I were waiting outside a taco truck. Music can be unbearably loud, depending on who’s controlling the jukebox. And yet, I keep coming back – even odder, I keep coming back for things I don’t ordinarily order.
I’m normally a cabeza/lengua/carnitas taco girl. I haven’t had the carnitas here – mostly because the space on the menu where I assume carnitas are supposed to be has been whited out (when I asked why after dinner last night, the waitress exclaimed, oh, we have carnitas! So I haven’t had a chance to try them yet.) The lengua and cabeza are unremarkable, and the green salsa that accompanies the two isn’t picante enough to really add much interest.
What I do love:
Tacos carne asada – I’m not sure why I usually don’t order carne asada – maybe I had a few boring ones in the past and gave up on them. This asada has bits of beef that are fried hard, so that they hit a magical texture between jerky and bacon. Delicious.
Tacos campechano – a combination of chorizo and the above magic asada. On good days, there's an extra sprinkling of crispy bits on top, so good I'll pick the fallen bits off the plate with my fingers. I don’t remember seeing campechano elsewhere, or maybe I just never noticed before.
Tacos dorado de barbacoa – I’m quite certain that this one isn’t available at the trucks. The tortillas are a bit larger than those for the regular tacos, and they’re fried so that the outer layer is crisp, and the inner stays tender. The barbacoa is velvety soft, a lovely contrast to the bi-textured tortillas.
Regular burrito al pastor – each individual component is carefully cooked and seasoned – the rice is fluffy and firm, the beans tender and flavorful (but not mushy), the al pastor savory with the stain of chorizo fat. Because each component is so good, I prefer the regular over the super here – with the super, all the extra components drowned out the simple, perfect execution that makes this burrito so remarkable.
Also good – chilaquiles, a generous pile of egg and fried tortilla soaked in spicy red sauce.
When we left last night, we heard the telltale slap-slap-slap of fresh pupusas being formed – turns out, they make pupusas too. I’ll have to try those soon.
Prices are on par with the trucks ($1.25/taco, except the dorado, which is $1.75)
Thanks. The burrito al pastor regular sounds like Taqueria Cancun in S.F., i.e., better with rice but not the extras like guac, creme, etc. Haven't found this combo in the East Bay. Will have to check it out.
Thanks for reporting on the barbacoa hard tacos. I've heard of goat, sheep, and beef barbacoa--do you happen to know which it is at Reynoso?
I've only tried a few things here because the torta ahogada is so delicious. A carnitas torta with beans and onions on slightly stale bread smothered in a blend of sauces--a hot thin red sauce and another one that's very limey. Their carnitas is the bomb.
re: Constant Velocity
Finally got to try the carnitas - yep, they are pretty great, and that torta is fantastic sandwich.
Tried the pupusas - the dough is leaner than most, so the bean pupusa felt overly dry. The cheese pupusa was pretty good, but pupusas are just not their thing, and with Tamales Mi Lupita's superior pupusas just across the street, there's no reason to get them at Raynoso.
I stopped there tonight to get a campechano burrito. There's something oddly comforting about eating a tortilla that's turned bright orange by being soaked in chorizo oil. Very delicious. I'm going to try to carnitas torta next time around.
Reynoso has my favorite al pastor in the bay area alongside El Farolito. I'll have to do a side by side comparison sometime soon. I noticed tonight that Reynoso has an al pastor spit similar to chicken shawerma or gyros. Apparently, that's how al pastor should be done. Do other taquerias make their al pastor this way? I never paid attention before.