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Restaurants & Bars 11

Barbacoa at Casa Maria, Oakland

ericf | Oct 7, 200412:28 AM

Stopped by this weekend to see about some barbacoa. The entrance at the corner of the parking lot leads into a surprisingly large space that looks set up to be a dancehall and restaurant at the same time. At 2 pm there were just a few tables occupied. I did not study the menu in detail, and English did not seem to be freely spoken, so I ended up with two barbacoa tacos, two suadero tacos, and a jamaica. Complimentary (?) chips were round tortilla chips from a bag, I guess, served with a medium to hot smooth tomato salsa. Tacos, at 1.50, were half again as large as most truck tacos, so in that sense weren't that expensive. Suadero was fine, chunked flank steak browned on a griddle; I think I prefer the well chopped well done version at El Gordo. Barbacoa tacos were nice; I started by eating some of the meat alone- good strong goat flavor thoroughly permeated with smoke flavor a decently salted. I have no particular experience with barbacoa, so can't say how good this was compared to others, but I liked it enough to get a pound to go ($12). That included limes, diced onion, chopped cilantro, and a creamy spicy chile sauce on the side. I couldn't tell if the sauce was mayo based or more like a ranch dressing. It was also kind of smoky. I don't know if I liked it or not.

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