What you learn in the Chowhound game is to take your recommendations wherever you can get them. Students are a good source. Lillian Hsu had a student who once brought in some stunning homemade cheese empanadas, made by her mom. So when the same student dropped by and told Lillian that her parents were opening up a little Veracruz restaurant, Lillian hurried down. What she found was a Veracruz wonder, at a small place called El Rincón Jaracho.
Lamb barbacoa is truly excellent, and comes literally falling off the bone. Their waitress instructed them to add the lamb meat to the red soup, along with diced onions, cilantro, and a few squeezes of lime. What they got was tender meat, with a few choice bits of fat, soaking up the beautiful flavors of the soup. Mole casero is also excellent—rich, flavorful, but not overpowering on tender chicken, with a bit of spicy guacamole.
The Guanabana agua fresca gets high marks, too—it gives El Ojo de Agua’s licuados a run for their money.
El Rincón Jarocho [East Bay]
3851 International Boulevard, Oakland