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Jul 20, 2013 10:55 AM

Molcajete in Oakland - any hound reports?

EastBayExpress had a good article on Molcajete in Oakland, this place needs more press it seems, I've not heard much about it:

family-run restaurant
chancla-slipper-shaped tortilla $6.5
molotes tinga - 3 masa turnovers $6.5
cochinita pibil - pork stew wrapped inside banana leaf $12.5
enmoladas - chicken enchiladas in mole poblano

Any hound reports?

1734 Webster St, Oakland
Sun 10-4
Mon 11-4
Tue-Fri 11-9
Sat 10-4
reservations accepted; credit cards too

EastBayExpress article:

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  1. These are the hours from their Facebook page:

    Mon: 11:00-3:00
    Tue-Thu: 11:00-3:00, 5:30-9:30
    Fri: 11:00-3:00, 5:30-10:00
    Sat: 5:30-10:00

    1. the fried fish in the tacos was light, airy, fresh and not salty but that was about 1 1/2 years ago in its early days. Relying on Luke Tsai's very positive review in the East Bay Express, they have items I don't remember seeing on the menu and have matured significantly since I was there.


      1. went today for "corn snacks" with Ch-ers grayelf and escargot3 and partner, and we split a good variety of dishes: Chancla, veggie empanadas, Molotes de tinga, chilaquiles in tomatillo sauce, and fish tacos.

        the molotes and empanadas appeared to be the same vessel - little pouches of fried masa, SO much better than regular empanadas, in my opinion, which i always find too dry. the chicken tinga (green sauce) was very flavorful, very tender, and was our favorite of the two. the veggie empanadas (red sauce) were nice and cheesy though, and also very good. we ordered the carne asada on the aside for the chancla (sort of like a huarache but smaller) as one of us is a veg. the meat was a bit underseasoned but salsa helped; however, there were a few grisly bits, and though i like chewy meat, there were pieces that were just too hard. and the chancla itself really was small - all the portions are smallish, which is fine if you're sharing a lot of them, as we did. the chilaquiles were great - crunchy yet tender tortillas, egg cooked perfectly (despite what the pic looks like), with a good bowl of pureed black beans on the side. the fish tacos were very small and we let them sit a bit too long so they were cold when we got to them. but it seemed like they had been fried in advance as they were not as crispy as we would have liked, tho the fish was very fresh. (fuzzy pic of these. we were doing a food crawl, and had fish tacos later on at Cholita Linda - that's all we had there - and they were much crunchier, and the perfect size, but i found the breading a bit too thick. and as escargot3 has mentioned elsewhere re Cholita Linda - no hot sauce in sight! and we'd forgotten to bring our own.)

        the quality of the food at Molcajete was mostly very high - everything tasted fresh, with distinct, unmuddled flavors. i'd like it even more if they served beer. grayelf was pleased with her agua de jamaica - not too sweet.

        all in all, maybe not a destination place, but if i were in the area and craving very good Mexican, i'd go back.

        2 Replies
        1. re: mariacarmen

          and for comparison's sake, a pic of Cholita Linda's fish tacos.

          1. re: mariacarmen

            The chilaquiles in tomatillo sauce was the highlight for me. I'll definitely be returning for that.

          2. No reports of the signature molcajete? There's a restaurant of the same name in RWC, which I had written off because it looks like a generic margerita joint, but the molcajete was great. I now look for the dish on any mexican menu.

            8 Replies
            1. re: bbulkow

              shows you how much I know. i'd never heard of a dish called molcajete - only the mortar and pestle. So it's a kind of meaty stew?

              1. re: mariacarmen

                No, not stew, the meats are grilled then assembled together. Here's a description of one version, http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9018...

                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  oh wow, that looks really good! i'll have to try that if I go back. Thanks Melanie.

                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                    The restaurant in RWC that specializes is called Margarita's, and here's what they say about Molcajete . It is super tasty, especially those onions, and the "pre-grilled" taste like MW said. i think we got "combination".

                    From their menu:


                    Traditional dish from southern mexico that is cooked with nopal, homemade salsa, small mexican cebollitas and a slice of panela cheese served in a steaming hot stone molcajete bowl. Rice and beans served on the side

                    Chicken breast $13.95
                    Carne Asada $13.95
                    Camarones $15.95
                    Combination $16.95
                    Chicken, steak and shrimp

                  2. re: mariacarmen

                    Molcajete as a dish seems to be virtually any combination of stuff mixed up and served in a hot molcajete. It's kind of a composed casserole. One place I went in Guadalajara had a dozen kinds including vegetarian and pescatarian. The one at Molcajete contains "Chicken, Steak, Chorizo, Shrimp, grilled nopales (cactus), grilled onios, pico de gallo and cheese."

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                        We were after the "corn snacks" as maria noted, with several destinations to come in the afternoon. The molcajete here looks like a surf and turf and definitely an entrée. The food generally appears to be a bit elevated. I'd return.

                    1. re: bbulkow

                      I had the molcajete a couple of weeks ago and thought it was delicious. It was huge. Next time I'll just get some guacamole/chips and split it with my wife. It gets better every layer you go down. Grilled meats, shrimp and onions on top, then a layer of nopales, cheese, beans, and rice at the bottom. Rice got carmelized like dol sot bibimbap. I would order again in a heartbeat....as long as i had someone to help me eat it.

                      Loved their tortas too!