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Birria Tatemada at Birrieria Zaragoza & Birrieria La Barca

Birria Tatemada at Birrieria Zaragoza & Birrieria La Barca
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  • Post #121 - August 22nd, 2012, 12:23 am
    Post #121 - August 22nd, 2012, 12:23 am Post #121 - August 22nd, 2012, 12:23 am
    the wimperoo wrote:Checked out the new spot for lunch today. Much, much bigger. Probably 15 or so tables, plus a big bar that seats 10+ people. Menu is the same. Food tasted just as delicious as the original location. Talked to Juan for a bit. He seemed very excited about the prospects of this location. I'm also quite excited as it's much closer to my work so I can get here more often.

    Also, cash only for now, but they do have an ATM in the restaurant.


    Agreed on all observations after a few visits to Melrose Park. Limited menu is seemingly identical, tortillas handmade, some of the best goat around. I would note that the default consome is cloudy and goat-based, where under Jonathan at Pulaski there was a purely vegetable option (which at least on two visits was the default) for vegetarians and a clean contrast to the assorted goat part platter. Service is awesome and the horchata was something special earlier this week.

    I've been the only person in the joint on my late lunchtime visits, perhaps a concern, especially when it's on a corner occupied by three other Mexican restaurants, including the surprisingly tasty El Pollo Giro mentioned by Vital Info, on which I'll post shortly.
  • Post #122 - October 3rd, 2012, 3:22 pm
    Post #122 - October 3rd, 2012, 3:22 pm Post #122 - October 3rd, 2012, 3:22 pm
    I've been about a once every other week visitor to the Melrose Park location for lunch since my first post. The food continues to be excellent. There's rarely more than one or two other diners there while I am. I haven't seen Juan recently, maybe now that this location is up and running he's not spending as much time here or it's just bad luck on my part. Service and food hasn't skipped a beat without him either way.
  • Post #123 - October 3rd, 2012, 3:39 pm
    Post #123 - October 3rd, 2012, 3:39 pm Post #123 - October 3rd, 2012, 3:39 pm
    the wimperoo wrote:I've been about a once every other week visitor to the Melrose Park location for lunch since my first post. The food continues to be excellent. There's rarely more than one or two other diners there while I am. I haven't seen Juan recently, maybe now that this location is up and running he's not spending as much time here or it's just bad luck on my part. Service and food hasn't skipped a beat without him either way.

    Juan is now running the kitchen at Masa Azul. I can't link to the news at the moment.

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #124 - October 3rd, 2012, 4:59 pm
    Post #124 - October 3rd, 2012, 4:59 pm Post #124 - October 3rd, 2012, 4:59 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    the wimperoo wrote:I've been about a once every other week visitor to the Melrose Park location for lunch since my first post. The food continues to be excellent. There's rarely more than one or two other diners there while I am. I haven't seen Juan recently, maybe now that this location is up and running he's not spending as much time here or it's just bad luck on my part. Service and food hasn't skipped a beat without him either way.

    Juan is now running the kitchen at Masa Azul. I can't link to the news at the moment.

    =R=

    Actually, Jonathan (son) is at Masa Azul. Juan (dad) is probably splitting his time between the locations.
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #125 - October 3rd, 2012, 9:55 pm
    Post #125 - October 3rd, 2012, 9:55 pm Post #125 - October 3rd, 2012, 9:55 pm
    boudreaulicious wrote:
    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    the wimperoo wrote:I've been about a once every other week visitor to the Melrose Park location for lunch since my first post. The food continues to be excellent. There's rarely more than one or two other diners there while I am. I haven't seen Juan recently, maybe now that this location is up and running he's not spending as much time here or it's just bad luck on my part. Service and food hasn't skipped a beat without him either way.

    Juan is now running the kitchen at Masa Azul. I can't link to the news at the moment.

    =R=

    Actually, Jonathan (son) is at Masa Azul. Juan (dad) is probably splitting his time between the locations.

    ...thanks, for the correction. :oops: It never goes well when I try to post from my phone.

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #126 - January 21st, 2013, 7:25 pm
    Post #126 - January 21st, 2013, 7:25 pm Post #126 - January 21st, 2013, 7:25 pm
    the wimperoo wrote:I've been about a once every other week visitor to the Melrose Park location for lunch since my first post.
    According to Norma Zaragoza, a reliable source, the Melrose Park location of Zaragoza is closed as of yesterday 1.20.13. The Pulaski location remains open, terrific and busy as ever.

    Norma Zaragoza
    Image
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #127 - January 21st, 2013, 8:44 pm
    Post #127 - January 21st, 2013, 8:44 pm Post #127 - January 21st, 2013, 8:44 pm
    That's very disappointing to hear. I went a couple of weeks ago and there was no mention of it. The food was as excellent as always. I'm going to miss this option as the Pulaski location is just too far to go on lunch.
  • Post #128 - January 31st, 2013, 2:05 pm
    Post #128 - January 31st, 2013, 2:05 pm Post #128 - January 31st, 2013, 2:05 pm
    Visited Pulaski location with five of my co-workers for lunch on a Groupon. Three were newbies to goat, a few a little afraid to venture into unknown goat territory. You never saw such a bunch of satisfied customers! One guy just kept shaking his head as he ate, obviously in goat heaven.

    Norma was just as gracious as ever, and got us all to go with the large, bone-in platter. The fire-roasted chile de arbol salsa was excellent, not to mention the homemade torillas and cinnamon coffee. We cannot wait to return!

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    .
  • Post #129 - January 31st, 2013, 2:40 pm
    Post #129 - January 31st, 2013, 2:40 pm Post #129 - January 31st, 2013, 2:40 pm
    I know it was mentioned earlier, but can anyone elaborate on where Birrieria Zaragoza sources it's meat from? I desperately want to make a trip out there but we are committed to eating only locally sourced meats (sustainable, organic if it fits, etc). I will be immensely disappointed if this is not the case here...
  • Post #130 - January 31st, 2013, 7:46 pm
    Post #130 - January 31st, 2013, 7:46 pm Post #130 - January 31st, 2013, 7:46 pm
    Well, if you believe the interwebs (and what the Zaragozas tell their customers in person): "the goats come from Indiana where they are free range and grass-fed." Source: http://chicagoist.com/2011/04/01/consider_the_goat.php
  • Post #131 - January 31st, 2013, 8:22 pm
    Post #131 - January 31st, 2013, 8:22 pm Post #131 - January 31st, 2013, 8:22 pm
    I hope they get it from Nature's Acres.
  • Post #132 - April 7th, 2013, 5:20 pm
    Post #132 - April 7th, 2013, 5:20 pm Post #132 - April 7th, 2013, 5:20 pm
    I went to Birrieria Zaragoza for lunch today, and oh my god, that is some excellent birria. Normally, I am not big on "seeing the kitchen", but it was pretty neat to watch the guy back there pull out big hunks of goat meat to chop up. He did a good job too getting out the bones (normally with birria, you end up having to pull out some bones from your taco). The birria (ordered carnaza(?), bone-in) was excellent, but those tortillas were just fantastic. Straight from the griddle too. They were great on topping me off each time I got down to my last tortilla. Really friendly, and great service too. It is a wonder that this tiny place (which was full) doesn't have a never ending line out the door. I think I would line up for the tortillas alone.

    Only quibbles (which are minor) are that I thought the plato grande wasn't all that grande (I debated ordering another, but then thought about trying Los Gallos) and it seemed a little excessive to charge $3.75 for a single person for the molcajete salsa (was good though). Minor things like these don't really matter though when you serve food this good.
    www.justnoms.com
    Rate the Food, Not the Restaurant
    @justnoms_com
  • Post #133 - February 9th, 2014, 9:19 pm
    Post #133 - February 9th, 2014, 9:19 pm Post #133 - February 9th, 2014, 9:19 pm
    FINALLY made it into Birrieria Zaragoza today, and it was a wonderful experience all around. My wife and I each has quesadilla and the large plate of birria. The flavor of the goat was outstanding, and the hand-made tortillas complimented it well. Once the meat was gone, I used tortillas to sop of the remaining juices on the plate. The Zaragoza family was incredibly warm and friendly. One of the sons was our waiter, and he guided us through the menu and told us the whole 2-day process of making their goat. The owner's wife Norma stopped by to chat while we were eating and we ended up chatting with her for about half an hour, about the food, introduced us to her family that was working (a son, a daugher, & a nephew). When we said we were from the North Side she gave us the name and address of her son Jonathan's restaurant, Masa Azul (I already knew a son from Zaragoza was the chef there) & doted about him like any mother who's proud of her son would. When we were complimenting the fire roasted salsa, she told us about the special type of chiles de arbol they use that they get from Mexico, and then gave us a pint container full of these special peppers to take home! I just love when you get to experience the warmth and pride of a family serving their awesome food. Can't wait to go back! A true Chicago gem and the definition of a GNR.
  • Post #134 - December 6th, 2014, 2:31 pm
    Post #134 - December 6th, 2014, 2:31 pm Post #134 - December 6th, 2014, 2:31 pm
    A friend recently had an event at Zaragoza and we who were in attendance had a great meal cooked by Jonathan, Juan, Norma and the entire Zaragoza crew . . .

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    Vuelve a La Vida (Shrimp & Octopus in Cocktail Sauce)
    I just loved this dish - bright flavors, a touch of heat and taut, fresh seafood.


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    Taco de Lengua en Salsa Verde (Beef Tongue in Tomatillo Salsa)
    Unctuous, tender and rich with that delicious tomatillo salsa countering the richness perfectly. Oh . . . and an amazing house-made tortilla.


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    Tamales de Birria (Birria Tamales)
    The signature Zaragoza item tucked into an exceptionally moist and flavorful tamal.


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    Pozole Rojo (Guajillo, Pork Shoulder, Hominy, Carnitas)
    I loved the complexity and depth of flavor here. In my experience, pozole is a bit more subtle than this but I liked this version more than any other I can remember having.


    Image
    Tres Leches
    Great execution here, as the cake took on just enough of the leches to carry their flavor without being soggy. The flavors were wonderful. An exceptional take on a dessert that, for me, is more often than not disappointing.

    I don't think any of these items are available on their regular menu, though I got the feeling some might be offered as specials from time to time. And clearly, if you've got a group of 20 or so that you want to feed exceptionally well, Zaragoza would be a perfect spot to book for a private party. Next, I need to get back for a big plate of birria!

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #135 - December 6th, 2014, 7:14 pm
    Post #135 - December 6th, 2014, 7:14 pm Post #135 - December 6th, 2014, 7:14 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:Tamales de Birria (Birria Tamales)
    =R=


    Thanks for the translation, Ron. I was about to head over to google translator.
    :P

    I would have loved to be a good friend of whoever hosted. These are the types of spots I love having group dinners / parties at. I'm guessing the Z's enjoyed having you guys and also enjoyed all the prep to show off their chops.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #136 - December 6th, 2014, 11:21 pm
    Post #136 - December 6th, 2014, 11:21 pm Post #136 - December 6th, 2014, 11:21 pm
    seebee wrote:
    ronnie_suburban wrote:Tamales de Birria (Birria Tamales)
    =R=


    Thanks for the translation, Ron. I was about to head over to google translator.
    :P

    I would have loved to be a good friend of whoever hosted. These are the types of spots I love having group dinners / parties at. I'm guessing the Z's enjoyed having you guys and also enjoyed all the prep to show off their chops.

    LOL @ myself. I just took that right off the menu that was handed out at our meal but I probably could have skipped the translation on that one. :lol:

    I was in a hurry to post those pics and I hope I didn't downplay just how terrific a meal it was . . . one of the best I've had this year. I could have eaten 3 more bowls of that pozole.

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #137 - February 6th, 2015, 2:06 pm
    Post #137 - February 6th, 2015, 2:06 pm Post #137 - February 6th, 2015, 2:06 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:A friend recently had an event at Zaragoza and we who were in attendance had a great meal cooked by Jonathan, Juan, Norma and the entire Zaragoza crew . . .

    I don't think any of these items are available on their regular menu, though I got the feeling some might be offered as specials from time to time. And clearly, if you've got a group of 20 or so that you want to feed exceptionally well, Zaragoza would be a perfect spot to book for a private party. Next, I need to get back for a big plate of birria!

    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    seebee wrote:I would have loved to be a good friend of whoever hosted. These are the types of spots I love having group dinners / parties at. I'm guessing the Z's enjoyed having you guys and also enjoyed all the prep to show off their chops.

    I was in a hurry to post those pics and I hope I didn't downplay just how terrific a meal it was . . . one of the best I've had this year. I could have eaten 3 more bowls of that pozole.

    I went to a similar special dinner last autumn and would like to echo what Ronnie said. Truly one of the best meals I've had in a long time, from the starter of carne apache through dessert. The pastor-style tripe was remarkably delicious and should be required eating for those who usually shy away from stomach lining. And that pozole was simply the best I've had.

    Image

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    Someone should consider setting up a dinner...
  • Post #138 - September 14th, 2015, 11:39 am
    Post #138 - September 14th, 2015, 11:39 am Post #138 - September 14th, 2015, 11:39 am
    Had another excellent lunch Saturday at Zaragoza. My friend and I got "the usual" - 2 large, bone-in plates with salsa de molcajete - spicy - and (Mexican) Coke. Delicious. They've been gradually revamping the interior and the latest change is the signage over the counter for the menu has been upgraded to some very nice looking white on black versions. There were also a number of notices posted announcing that beginning Sep 16 they will be open later (6-10 PM) for dinner with a slightly expanded menu. The notices had a picture of some delicious looking (red) pozole that my friend and I will be heading back to sample. While we've never had a parking problem I could see it might be different in the evenings so take note that they've arranged for parking on 49th & Pulaski. John was present and gracious as always. I ordered a plate to go for Mrs. Kman and the care with which it was packaged could be a lesson to any restaurant that makes its food available for take-out. Great food, great service, great people and still so reasonably priced - Zaragoza continues to be one of my favorite places in Chicago.
    Objects in mirror appear to be losing.
  • Post #139 - September 14th, 2015, 12:28 pm
    Post #139 - September 14th, 2015, 12:28 pm Post #139 - September 14th, 2015, 12:28 pm
    Kman wrote: There were also a number of notices posted announcing that beginning Sep 16 they will be open later (6-10 PM) for dinner with a slightly expanded menu.


    This is great, welcome news!
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #140 - September 14th, 2015, 12:31 pm
    Post #140 - September 14th, 2015, 12:31 pm Post #140 - September 14th, 2015, 12:31 pm
    I concur totally with this report based on a separate recent LTH outing. The expanded hours and dedicated parking make the place even more accessible, and the goat and consome are as good as ever (though I think they missed the "surtido" instruction). Quesadillas also don't get any better than Zaragoza's.
  • Post #141 - September 14th, 2015, 3:00 pm
    Post #141 - September 14th, 2015, 3:00 pm Post #141 - September 14th, 2015, 3:00 pm
    That pozole, if it's the same recipe that Jonathan makes his from, is THE BOMB. Very excited.
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #142 - October 23rd, 2015, 12:46 pm
    Post #142 - October 23rd, 2015, 12:46 pm Post #142 - October 23rd, 2015, 12:46 pm
    I just had lunch at Zaragoza yesterday, and it was absolutely perfect. Maybe the best it's ever been, and it's always great. The goat was perfectly cooked so it was both soft and crispy at the same time. So much depth of flavor in the spice marinade and the consume. And the made-to-order tortillas, as always, were great.

    IMG_5725.jpg


    I think this is probably the best restaurant in Chicago, or at the last my favorite. I can't think of any place that does what it sets out do as perfectly as Zaragoza does. And the ambience is so friendly and cozy.

    We also got coffee and a piece of flan. Maybe I was just in a good mood, but this was some of the best flan I've had. It was of the very dense, less jiggly variety:

    flan.jpg


    And while eating the Birria yesterday I couldn't help think about the fad of Korean/Mexican fusion, and how much more natural a Chinese / Mexican fusion seems to me. In this case, braised bone-in spicy meat topped with cilantro as a starting point. Can you imagine how good Zaragoza's Birria would be with Chinese hand-pulled noodles, and maybe some szchechuan peppercorns?

    I forgot to ask about expanded hours and menu additions, but the sign outside still says they close at 7pm and the menu is unchanged (birria, birria taco, qeusadillas, salsa de molcajete, consume, etc).
  • Post #143 - November 10th, 2015, 2:36 pm
    Post #143 - November 10th, 2015, 2:36 pm Post #143 - November 10th, 2015, 2:36 pm
    For years, Birrieria Zaragoza has been on my must-try list, and the stars finally aligned last weekend. This thread thoroughly documents how fantastic the restaurant is, and I can only repeat the praises for the spectacular food and the phenomenally helpful, gracious staff. We loved everything about the experience, and will return soon.
  • Post #144 - November 29th, 2015, 6:59 am
    Post #144 - November 29th, 2015, 6:59 am Post #144 - November 29th, 2015, 6:59 am
    isaac wrote:I just had lunch at Zaragoza yesterday, and it was absolutely perfect.

    Perfect aptly describes lunch at Zaragoza, absolutely perfect!

    John, Johnathan and family at their warmhearted interactive best, tender goat with incredible depth of flavor and a new to me best bite of the day, La Aldilla aka Love Handle, a tender crisp bit from the lower rib section.

    My nephew Scott, an inquisitive eater with a wide range who lives in Los Angles, smiled the entire meal.

    La Aldilla at Zaragoza.

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    Zaragoza, Count Me a FAN!
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #145 - January 29th, 2016, 2:22 pm
    Post #145 - January 29th, 2016, 2:22 pm Post #145 - January 29th, 2016, 2:22 pm
    Can it be, seven years and twelve dozen posts without mention of Zaragoza's great machito? (I'm not sure "I can't wait to get back to try the machito" counts.) The one a few months ago was the best I've had. The rest of the meal wasn't too shabby either. Note that big, beautiful bone, practically bursting with marrow.

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    I realized the crisp exterior is key for my machito enjoyment. From now on, I'll be sure to order my machito "extra crispy, please."

    And can it be that nobody has mentioned Birrieria Zaragoza was honored earlier this month with a Jean Banchet Award? Well deserved.
  • Post #146 - February 5th, 2016, 5:26 pm
    Post #146 - February 5th, 2016, 5:26 pm Post #146 - February 5th, 2016, 5:26 pm
    Agree that Zaragoza is the tops, but having followed the link to the Jean Banchet awards, I feel a bit of a cringe coming on :oops: about the category: "Best Ethnic Restaurant." Another designation please! To my mind, Zaragoza is the Best Restaurant Based On a Signature Dish.
    Man : I can't understand how a poet like you can eat that stuff.
    T. S. Eliot: Ah, but you're not a poet.
  • Post #147 - October 13th, 2016, 11:19 am
    Post #147 - October 13th, 2016, 11:19 am Post #147 - October 13th, 2016, 11:19 am
    Very nice piece by Sula about Staff Meal at Zaragoza . . .

    "John-Juan does not care" about the cost of the staff meals, Jonathan says. "He loves good food, and he likes taking care of his people."

    Birrieria Zaragoza does staff meal as well as it does goat

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #148 - November 1st, 2016, 3:42 pm
    Post #148 - November 1st, 2016, 3:42 pm Post #148 - November 1st, 2016, 3:42 pm
    More than inspired by the Sula-piece I linked to above, I had lunch at Zaragoza last week that was, in word, amazing . . .

    We started with . . .
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    Fire-Roasted Tomato Salsa - Spicy
    (accompanying quesadilla not pictured)

    Followed by assorted plates of birria . . .
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    Last but not least . . .
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    Taco, glorious taco

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #149 - November 2nd, 2016, 1:28 am
    Post #149 - November 2nd, 2016, 1:28 am Post #149 - November 2nd, 2016, 1:28 am
    Image
  • Post #150 - January 2nd, 2018, 2:12 pm
    Post #150 - January 2nd, 2018, 2:12 pm Post #150 - January 2nd, 2018, 2:12 pm
    Sadly, I hadn't been to Zaragoza since the short tenured Melrose Park location had closed up nearly 5 years ago. Thankfully, the drought ended last Friday. Bone-in plate and tortillas were as magical as I remembered. Now that I live a mere 20-30 minutes away, I'm hopeful there won't be as long of a time period between visits.

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