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Tenoch - Medford square

Had a great meal at Tenoch, the new taqueria tonight. I got a carnitas torta which was busting at the seams and was a great balance of not dry meat, heavy handed amounts of queso fresco and chipotle mayo. My DC had a burrito with a mix of chicken and carnitas (she couldn't decide so they offered both). She said the carnitas would keep her coming back. We split chips and above-average pico.

The owner or manager chatted us up and was excited for the turnout so soon after opening. He said they were trying to be known for their tortas since most places around here are more burrito oriented.

Go check it out! The people are nice, food is great and prices are reasonable.

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  1. Enjoyed takeout on Saturday night. We ordered enchiladas - one steak with mole and the other carnitas with salsa verde. The mole was the star with hints of cinnamon and other spices giving it a subtle smoky sweetness. Each order had 2 enchiladas, rice, beans, and pico de gallo. My only complaint was the thin texture of the corn tortillas, which sort of dissolved in the sauce. We also ordered the house salad with housemade dressing. The dressing was a little sweet for my taste until I ate the pickled jalapeno garnish, which balanced it out. I was pleasantly surprised that the greens were all romaine, very fresh, and the tomato was good for this time of year. The place was busy and the staff was extremely friendly and a bit apologetic about the wait, which wasn't necessary because I waited only about 8 minutes.

    I'll definitely becomea regular and look forward to trying the torta and horchata next time.

    1. I'll second the carnitas torta. I had the tacos on a previous visit, and they were tasty.. but the torta? Mmm.. good sandwich. Not too big, but filling. That may be my go to order at this place..

      1. oh boy oh boy! we'll try to go tomorrow. THANKS much!

        1. marc, we went today so thanx again for this post! It was busy in there, I'm happy to report. Two owner/brothers; I spoke with A........ the one with the mustache. What a nice guy. Just brought his family up from Mexico to join his brother. Wife works there; brother in law is the Cielito Lindo (in Beverly) owner who used to be at Tango.All from Veracruz. . He plans to slowly expand the menu to include some regional specialties and says he wants the food to be authentic, "like your mother or aunt's." Fish tacos soon. He says to check their twitter/facebook pages for new menu items.

          I tasted the sauces and we ordered 2 tortas. Maybe it's just me but i never like the mole poblano anywhere in boston. it's always too sweet and too cinnamony (like this one.) But the salsa chile verde was excellent and picante. Best of all, the 2 Carnitas Tortas were terrific; one was the regular one and one was the special Campachenas(?) It had chorizo in addition to:
          very good carnitas (with flavor and not fatty), black bean puree, avocado, chipotle mayo, queso oaxacan, and pickled red onions(these were light and made such a flavor contribution to this torta.)Spicy, just spicy enough. All on a soft bun and pressed to melt the cheese. I have to say, one of the best sandwiches I've had. (But definitely wouldn't travel well because of all the juices of the carnitas.) At this stage, i would not recommend my usual go-to for Mexican tortas- carne asada. It sits in a steam table, little pieces of beef swimming in juices; not what you want from what is supposed to be char grilled beef. But maybe the carne asada will change as they settle in. If not ,I'll be wicked happy with the Carnitas delux model. They were out of their pork adobado torta when we got there; I bet that's really good.
          Eating there is easy and parking is usually easy on that street. This is the second storefront on the left as you enter Riverside from Medford Square, 1 block before Ebisuya Market and across the street.

          We're psyched. They've only just opened, so lots to work out, but no need to wait for that carnitas torta to improve; it's already great! So hustle yourselves over there for a muy sabrosa torta. And don't forget to have your happy stomach thank marc for being such a good CH!


          6 Replies
          1. re: opinionatedchef


            That sounds like an awesome meal. Will definitely get the chile verde soon and my wife will be happy to try a fish taco when they get em.

            1. re: opinionatedchef

              I was in there today for lunch.. pretty crowded. I was being repetitive and got the carnitas torta, which was delicious. They seemed to be selling a good many of them. One other customer got the red posole, which was a special for the day, and it looked good. Customer base was pretty diverse - I heard probably as much Spanish as English spoken while I waited in line..

              1. re: grant.cook

                Another carnitas torta fan here. No sign of posole yesterday (Sat.). Nice addition to the neighborhood.

                1. re: Aromatherapy

                  We probably passed each other.... it was my lunch.. and yes, the carnitas torta again..

              2. re: opinionatedchef

                As one opinionated chef to another, I so agree that mole poblano does not have to be sweet!!! The fact is every cook in Mexico makes mole differently, and by no means is sugar always prominent. I'm guessing people here assume because it contains chocolate, it also has to be sweetened. NOT SO -- it's the touch of bitterness that's essential. A little sweetness can add complexity, but imo, too much ruins it.

                I'm happy that this gem of mexican cuisine has caught on, but it seems something always gets lost in translation. This is especially true in places like the Boston area, where we lack a critical mass of mexican immigrants to keep the food real.

                1. re: denisb

                  That last sentence- very excellent point. Although I actually am not compulsive about "authentically traditional". If a chef takes a few liberties, i don't get upset,but pleeeese let them make it delicious!

              3. They're posting occasional specials on their Facebook page. Apparently the tamales sell out early.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Aromatherapy

                  good that you mentioned that. they did tell us that they hoped to have a DAILY special. just sayin'. And whenever we've called about the daily special in mid-late aftnoon, it's been sold out.

                2. They're serving a few Mexican beers now.

                  1. Friend of mine knows the owners. I don't. He tells me these guys wanted to start small n steady but got a lot of press right away that challenged their ability to get up to speed gracefully. I suggest giving them a little time to work out kinks. From what I gather really hard working restaurant hands who are trying to do something. I'm heading there next week for sure.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: yumyum

                      So true, yumyum. One can forgive alot when the people concerned are so nice.

                      1. re: yumyum

                        I haven't seen any kinks (although as a parent, I did give my obligatory "changing table in the bathroom" comment).. my wife and I had takeout torta's this weekend, and yes, very very delicious..

                      2. The torta bread here is all wrong.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Prav

                          Agreed. While my wife's torta was piping hot ,my torta was cold to the touch in the middle and salty as heck (the carnitas and chorizo number). Chips and salsa were both average.

                        2. Decided to visit for lunch today and boy, was I happy that I did.
                          I had the Torta Campechana. Telera bread, carnitas, chorizo, chipotle mayo, beans, onions, tomatoes, avocado, Oaxaca cheese. I have no experience with Tortas at all, rarely have a sandwich but this was REALLY REALLY delicious! Carnitas was tender and tasty, Chorizo was mexican, the pickled onion and the cheese was there in a good amount. The Chipotle Mayo had a really good kick from the chipotle. Not sure what the tomato was doing in this company.. No idea if this is authentic or not but I really don't care, it was excellent!


                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Ferrari328

                            I had this Torta today for lunch and thought it was really delicious too. It was one of the better tortas that I've had in a while. If I'm near Medford Sq. this coming Friday I'll definitely stop in again.

                          2. Went back to try the Plato Mexicano with Carnitas and Salsa Verde. Everything was nice and well cooked, the Salsa Verde was bit sparse but they happily topped that up. The Salsa Verde was nice and tart and not very spicy. I got here early and when I left shortly after noon, people was streaming in. I might have to follow them on Facebook since they had some interesting specials this week.


                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Ferrari328

                              aha, some interesting specials, eh? if you do a facebook, might you post those specials here?

                              I really like the pork chili verde at Anna's Taqueria,Davis Sq.(though I haven't had it for awhile now);

                              i wonder how T's dish compares(and no, i'm not talking about comparing apples w/ apples, i know!).....

                              1. re: opinionatedchef

                                Funny, I used to go there to for the pork chili verde plate but haven't been back for years. I would say that both are very similar. Good pork in both places. I put a link to the facebook page in my blog and I think the specials ends tomorrow.

                            2. Saw on their Facebook page that the specials for this week was Taco placero (chicharron, carnitas, pico de gallo), Pozole rojo, Pollo con mole poblano (chicken with mole sauce, rice, and tortillas). For some reason I can see this on my timeline but not on theirs! Since I love a good Pozole off I went. What wasn't mentioned was that the specials are only served after 5:00PM so no Pozole.
                              Instead I opted for two Tostadas, one with Chorizo and one with Marinated Grilled Chicken. The Chicken one with Salsa Rojo and the Chorizo one with Salsa Verde. Both were excellent apart from that both the Chicken and the Chorizo was cold.


                              5 Replies
                              1. re: Ferrari328

                                p.s. i do recommend this as one of the restnts you want to call before going, if you're going with something specific in mind.

                                1. re: opinionatedchef

                                  tried it; i thought that it was on the same level as El Pelon, which I like.

                                  The owner is a nice guy, and i hope that they broaden their menu.

                                  1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                                    i had excellent fish there on thursdays. the only negative about Tenoch is that the kitchen is not adequate. they will have to move if they want to prepare more ambitious fare.

                                    1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                                      great to hear but plse describe the dish?! thanks much. agree 100% about the kitchen (it's supposedly in the back or downstrs iirc.)

                                      1. re: opinionatedchef

                                        it was a fried fish with a green sauce; I think that it was a tomatillo sauce that was not spicy, i was on the phone and not concentrating. But i remember it was delicious.

                                        It was prepared in back; you can see the kitchen - what little there is of it - behind the counter.

                                        I told them that there space was what was interfering with their food prep; I hope that they move to a better space. So much mexican food is done so poorly in Boston in fine kitchens and these guys are doing a great job in very limited space.

                              2. Went back for lunch today. I really like the food here and also the people. Today I had the Plato Mexicano but this time with Chicken, Refried Beans and Mole sauce. The Refried Beans was really nice as was the Mole, even if they (unexpected) charged 50 cents extra for the Mole. It was worth it, really nice flavor.


                                  1. Two tacos Adobo Pork for lunch today. Double wrapped as they should be! This was really tasty with some cilantro, onion and a slice of avocado on top. Squeeze some lime over the top and it was ready to go. Good amount of pork. No idea what the green salsa was.


                                    1. I had the Quesadilla with Carne Asada for lunch today and it was OK. Got to try two of the hot sauces as well. The green one with avocado was nice but the red one was FIERCELY hot, beware, and I like hot.


                                      1. Finally made it here tonight and enjoyed it a lot; they may now be my favorite Mexican in the area. Knew we were on the right track when we saw the obvious cinnamon in the excellent horchatas, and y'all were right about how friendly the people are.

                                        Had the Torta Campechana and the enchiladas: they let me mix the order to try both carnitas verde and chicken mole. Loved the torta, liked the verde, and really enjoyed the mole. The side of guac we got as insurance turned out to be unnecessary (but still good).

                                        They were out of flan so we'll have to go back; such hardship. Will probably investigate the specials next time, assuming we can choose what to skip from this visit. Maybe we'll just have to bring friends.

                                        1. I wasn't going to post since I just had a couple Tostadas but they looked so good I went ahead anyway! And a few things have changed on the menu as well.
                                          Left one is Chorizo, really nice, not to spicy but a nice flavor. The right one is with Adobo (Pork Guaillo). The Adobo filling was only available as a Taco special but have now been added to the fillings section. I was going to ask for this as a special today but obviously didn't need to. Amazing how things work out! Adobo also has its own Torta as Torta Adobada and the Torta Campechana has moved from the specials to the menu board as well. I still think the Plato Mexicano with Chicken and Mole is the best deal especially with the refried beans. The fish plate is gone from the specials.


                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: Ferrari328

                                            i strongly recommend the mole sauce;

                                            i think that the sauces are as good as Angela's and the meat prep better. Their biggest problem; an inadequate kitchen; they need to move.

                                          2. Took my sister (visiting from L.A.) there yesterday. She loved it, saying that while there are plenty of low-end taco shops and high-end Mexican places back home, there are few places that do simple food that well.

                                            The place was busy the entire time we were there. One of the owners told us they'll be doing weekend specials soon and expanding the torta menu.

                                            1. Figured that I stop by for a couple of Tostadas but they had Pozole Roja as a special and available at lunch so that got me excited! Might be on next week, check their Facebook page.
                                              Out comes a big bowl topped with a good chunk of sliced Avocado, Finely chopped and sliced radishes and a wedge of lime. Chips out of a bag was piled around the bowl. I suggested that they make their own chips. The Pozole was spicy and really tasty.
                                              Took another picture further into the bowl, unfortunately didn't capture the redness of the broth from the chilies but the soup was loaded with pork and hominy and did I say it was spicy?


                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: Ferrari328

                                                I was there today too! The adobo pork was delicious. I'm wondering if we were there at the same time- did I ask you what you were eating and how it was? (There was a man there enjoying the pozole and I asked him...) wanted to get the pozole but my DC vetoed it in order to try other things..next time!

                                                1. re: cubbie

                                                  PS we tried the Torta Campechana based on your blog pictures and descriptions and devoured it!

                                                  1. re: cubbie

                                                    That was me. Pozole was excellent.

                                                2. Just wanted something light for lunch today so I stopped by Tenoch in Medford thinking maybe a Tostada again but..
                                                  They had Tacos de Cuerito on the menu and this was something I had never tried. They were described as thinly sliced pork skin and I imagined something crispy but this is what I got, strips of soft boiled pork skin. Hard to describe the taste, little bit salty and there was other spices involved as well and it turned out to be pretty tasty. $2 gets you a big container of Guacamole.


                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: Ferrari328

                                                    Last night when I called to ask their specials,the chef told me about these Pork Skin tacos ("a real Mexican thing"). I haven't ever seen them before in Boston but they're big in Mexico. Chef also sad it's lkely they will do their fab Rajas (along w/ a creamy Poblano soup) the wk following Thanksgiving. Oh boooy! i'm getting some for the frzr!

                                                  2. Since it finally warmed up (70+ today) I decided to pay a visit to their new food truck that's visiting Burlington on Mondays and Tuesdays with a different location on Thursdays. The bright red truck was hard to miss. $7 including tax for the tortas and $2 for the sodas. The owner was there taking the orders and expediting. I had the Torta Tenoch and it was good as always. There was a park across the street with picnic tables that quickly filled up with office workers.


                                                    1. I made plans to meet a friend here yesterday, was so excited to finally be going....

                                                      I wrote down all of the exciting dishes posted here...

                                                      And when we arrived in Medford, half the town was without power, ugh!

                                                      Because of time constraints, we had a burger at Salvatore's... meh!

                                                      The good news is, I had no idea how close this little place is from my house in Woburn. Going back some Saturday soon.

                                                      Anyone have any idea of how to beat the crowds on a weekend?



                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: mcel215

                                                        Never had much trouble getting a seat...just get there on the early side if you want a tamale

                                                        1. re: grant.cook

                                                          The tamales are outstanding by the way, the mole sauce is about the best I've had