The Carne Asada Queen is Dead
Long live the queen.
But she's not dead.She's right behind the register where I go to pay after having the worst meal[and the only bad meal I've ever had at Los Comales...formerly known as Graciellas]
I'm not real into sides.Give me a really good main and I'm good.Give me a bunch of good sides and a poor main and I'm grouchy.
I come to Graciella's for Carne Asada,formerly the best in town and the only thing I order on my visits to Los Comales.
I arrive to a half full house on Friday night.Seat myself and bask in the aroma of grilling Nortena style meats.A good 9 seconds pass before a happy slip of a lass approaches for my order.I ask for a cup of queso,she sprints to the queso fountain and returns within 20 or so seconds with a nice bouillon bowl of the good stuff.Strictly Tex Mex style which I love.It's extra melt with chopped chiles and little else.Creamy,cheesy and right at delicious.
I order the Carne Asada and within a minute am presented with a platter of rice,beans,salad and a shriveled,grayish lump of meat.
The good part:The rice,normally a throw away is good,perfectly cooked and actually seasoned a bit.The Refrieds are REAL good.Porky and creamy with lard, they've been robo couped smooth which is one of the many ways I enjoy Pintos.
The Salad with Guacamole is about what you'd expect.The avocado is fresh if unseasoned and the salad is the typical affair of iceberg and tomato.
The bad, which sadly is what I came for:The carne asada is pitiful.The rapidity of it's arrival screams pre cook and that is definitely the case.I can see sandbagging chow in an ultra busy kitchen.It's the only way to survive the shift when you're staring down the barrel of a 200 cover night.
Los Comales is doing nowhere near the level of business to require precooking the carne.The room is half full at prime time:8pm and the beef is dry,gray and devoid of flavor.
I have a pressing engagement so I resist the urge to send the leathery mass back for a re-cook and tack into this steer's sorry hide.
It's bad.The worst carne asada I've had in recent memory.
I chat with Graciella briefly on the way out the door.She's been the queen of carne for 18 years on 7th street but her reign is looking mighty shaky right now.
I need a really good version this week to get this one out of my memory.
What's your favorite carne asada in Austin.