I had about half an hour today to walk from my office to our HQ near Oakland's Chinatown...and that was also my lunch hour, with meetings the rest of the day. As I headed up Webster, I remembered that Chowhound Michelle had told me a new taqueria was going to be opening up on 17th near Webster...
Sure enough, I found Lupillo's, open now on 17th between Harrison and Webster. The menu is fairly basic but has a few items beyond standard taco fare, with tacos de pollo, carne asado, al pastor, carnitas, and lengua, along with grilled shrimp, shrimp ala diabla and al mojo, flautas, tortas, burritos, a chimicanga and enchiladas.
I placed my counter order fo one each of the tacos al pastor, carnitas and lengua. Tacos are $1.95 each. Sadly, no Jarritos or Senorial in the drink case; they had standard US sodas, two fruit juices, and horchata. I settled for a diet coke. (not a big horchata fan).
Although they have a steam table set up, they weren't using it, everything was freshly made. My tacos came quickly: each was on two tasty grilled tortillas and had a nice portion of meat, topped with cilantro, chopped sweet onion, and a generous amount of a salsa verde with a nice kick, with a garnish of lime and sliced radishes, and some decent, but not housemade, chips. There were containers of a thin but spicy red salsa on the tables.
The pastor and carnitas were both quite good. Some of the better pastor I've had in a while actually, nice and moist and flavorful. The tongue had a bit less taste, and I'm not sure if it was really tongue, could have been cabeza. Not bad, just not quite as good as the other two.
Service was very friendly. They have a number of tables for those that want to eat in.
I left happy: FINALLY, a decent place for Mexican food within four blocks of my office! (at the Kaiser Center). It almost seems like a miracle: even though it is a taco place that would just be considered average by the standards of the Fruitvale taco trucks, taqueria pickings in that neck of the woods are pretty slim. I can't imagine ever getting the carnitas at Aztlan again (though I might get a Senorial there and take it with the tacos back to my office, at least till I get to know the guys at Lupillos well enough to convince them they need to add it to the soda case :-))And why *anyone* would chose Happy Burrito over this place...
I was there early (abou 11:30) and only for about 15 or 20 minutes, but they weren't getting much business. I'd really like to see it more crowded so I can get my taco fix without getting on BART. I did of course go back to the office and immediately talk it up to my coworkers. But most of them aren't hounds. So, I hope some other hounds check it out and let us know what they think. I plan to go back soon to try more of the menu!
333 17th Street (near Webster)