Last Wednesday I went to El Jacal for lunch for the first time. Since then I have had the pleasure of returning several more times. To put this place to a real test I brought my usual group for Sunday morning breakfast. As I expected all four of us were very pleased.
Mexican style floor tile, arches, and heavy wood tables with tile centers add to the feel that the owner has some pride. The Chairs are comfortable and Tables are spaced nicely.
They first bring a menu and next a very large serving of fresh made chips and two little bowls of salsa Red and Green. Try both because the quality and taste of these crunchy chips with that salsa will put you at ease that you are about to have a meal that will be the Real-deal. Yes, the salsa is Hot.
The corn tortillas are fresh made in the kitchen. More on the thick side than thin and if you use them to make tacos from the food on your plate they will hold your food together very well.
The Breakfast menu includes T-Bone Steak $8.99, Machaca or Chorizo con Huevos $5.99, Chilaqulies con Huevos $4.99, Huevos Rancheros $3.99 and many more.
I had Chorizo con Huevos. The Chorizo is a very high quality. The eggs were a little dryer than I expected but then I realized that was because there was no excess oil from the Chorizo only little chunks of meat scrambled into the eggs. A very good flavor
Our table also ordered Machaca con Huevos. The shredded beef was lean, tender and mixed with some tomato, bell peppers & onion along with the egg. My wife finished every bite and then did not eat again until dinner.
Soups, Cocido $6.00, Albondigas $6.00, Caldo 7 Mares $10.99 (very large bowl & impressive presentation with those crab legs falling over the side), Birria $7.99, and more.
Sunday Morning I had Menudo.(Sat & Sun.only) $5.99. Excellent! Tender melt-in-your-mouth meat and firm corn. The broth was very tasty.. Comes with tortillas and all the condiments.
Today I went back to try the Birria (Goat) soup. The best I have ever had! Many large lean chunks in a very rich deep red broth. A nudge with a spoon and the chunks fall into spoon size bites. The soup comes with a side dish full of cut limes, chopped onion and celontro. I could nor resist making it into Birria tacos. IMO The best in L.A. Try it.
El Jacal, however, is really known as a seafood Restaurant. Many Shrimp meals at $9.99 including Camarones A La Diabla (Shrimp in a very Hot sauce), Grilled shrimp, Fried breaded shrimp, Shrimp in a sour cream sauce, in a garlic sauce, and more. Also fish and octopus.
On my first visit last week I tried Camarones A La Diabla. This was my introduction to the quality and care that this chef puts into sauces and broths. This broth looked too Hot to eat. The rich deep crimson looked as if the Devil himself was going to be inside. On my first spoonful I had to catch my breath. This was so Good. After several more spoons I was really into it. Then those shrimp. Very fresh and equally hot and tasty. I would say almost an endorphin rush feel no pain.
I had to add a shrimp taco just to see what that was like. Two good size grilled shrimp (no batter) in a large tortilla with cabbage $2.00. Two of these and a beer would be just fine.
There is so much more to this menu Appetizers, several salads, burritos, tacos, or tostadas made with asada, carnitas, chicken, or shrimp. The menu goes on.
Drinks The coffee is a good quality and I noticed a hint of cinnamon mixed into it. I never had that before and I was surprised how much I liked it. I have had a cold and with the rainy weather that coffee was just what the doctor ordered. I drank three cups my first visit. The Mexican Hot Coco was perfect with a great blend of cinnamon. I also had a Coke (Mex.). There is a very good selection of Beers offered.
I have gone in a few times during off hours and there is always several tables full of people. On Sunday morning all 64 seats were full. Several people waited outside but not for long and then several more people would come. Yet they moved the people in and out just fine.
Even on Sunday when they were busy the service was pretty good. I would like to see more water refills however. OTOH, maybe I just drink more water at this place than most people do I just keep eating that salsa.
El Jacal (my new second home)
13414 Ramona Blvd
Baldwin Park, CA 91706-3902
Open 7 days, 8am to 9pm.
Several blocks East of the 605