Nice and noisy dinner in Temescal last night.
The portions are big and the atmosphere is casual enough it would be ideal for chowhounding if you are sharing a few botanas, antojitos, ensaladas, sopas, antradas and sides among yourselves. Drink choices are great. More than a dozen cocteles especiales (margarita paradiso, caipirinha, sangrita y tequila...), cerveza (Sol, Tecate, Negra modelo...), 33 tequila choices (divided into plata, reposado and anejo), mezcal (Del maguey chichicapa, Don amada blaco...), wines by the glass and non-alcoholic (hibiscus iced tea, Mexican coca cola, tamarind mineral water...)
4 of us had -
Margarita especial (no pitcher offered)
Sopes de picadillo - crispy sopes topped with mixture of Niman Ranch beef and pork, almonds, raisins, and fried plantains topped with queso & crema 9.95 (What a start to a meal)
Carnitas - tender Niman Ranch pork rubbed with Mexican oregano and slow-roasted with grilled scallions, fresh lime, radishes and totillas served with arroz verde and mashed pinto beans 17.25
Enchiladas con mole negro - enchiladas stuffed with Hoffman gamebirds chicken and cheese topped with a Oaxacan black mole and served with sweet potato puree and sauteed broccolini with chile 16.25
Chiles rellenos con pipian verde mole - roasted poblano chiles stuffed with butternut squash, cheese, thyme & green garlic in Oaxacan style mole made with toasted pumpkin seed served with pureed black beans and housemade tortillas 16.75
Carne asada con chimichurri - thinly sliced grilled Niman Ranch beef topped with a sauce of parsley, arbol chiles, garlic red wine vinegar and olive oil served with sauteed broccolini & fried fingerling potatoes tossed in chorizo 18.25
We didn't get to try their postres or dessert bedidas especiales, as we had to be at Berkeley Repertory Theatre at 8.
I would have gone for flan de rosas - vanilla custard flan scented with rosewater and served with a Mexican wedding cookie 6.95
Local ingredients, organic, healthy, well-prepared and delicious. Too Berkeleyfied? All I know is that I enjoyed the meal, and it was absolutely delicious. What a lively crowd, and a wonderful good-natured guy running the place. Tom Schnetz the owner and head chef (the Tomas part of the restaurant name) said he prefers a "location with some grit and soul". I guess he has mixed feelings about Pizzaiolo (I like Pizzaiolo a lot) having moved in next door. The neck and neck competition can't hurt, though? The team is opening another restaurant in downtown Oakland in a few months, and it will be called Flora. Location? Across from the Fox Theatre. A much needed addition to the downtown Oakland scene. Tom will then be managing 3 restaurants. I wish them luck.