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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 #61 - December 2nd, 2009, 6:49 pm
    Post #61 - December 2nd, 2009, 6:49 pm Post #61 - December 2nd, 2009, 6:49 pm
    Santander wrote:
    ryanwc wrote:I've visited La Barca, but not Zaragoza. I'm considering birria for my birthday dinner, but I need a place where 10 people can sit together, and probably linger over dinner at least a little bit. Is Zaragoza big enough?

    Two of us will be kids aged 4 to 7, and they're not mine, so I haven't been able to indoctrinate them with a venturesome palate. Would Zaragoza have some bland chicken dish we can order for them?


    10 people would be a takeover of Zaragoza's current space; I'd only do this if you called them in advance and scheduled at a low volume time. There are no bland chicken dishes, only goat (and also no Dana, only Zuul), though they make a fantastic quesadilla. Also, the broth is vegetarian. A bowl of the broth and some fresh-made tortillas should please anyone, especially with a [rb] mol-ca-HAY-tay [/rb] full of fresh salsa. Happy birthday.
    Thanks. Sunday evening is unlikely to be a low-volume time. Sigh.
  • Post #62 - December 2nd, 2009, 6:54 pm
    Post #62 - December 2nd, 2009, 6:54 pm Post #62 - December 2nd, 2009, 6:54 pm
    ryanwc wrote:
    Santander wrote:
    ryanwc wrote:I've visited La Barca, but not Zaragoza. I'm considering birria for my birthday dinner, but I need a place where 10 people can sit together, and probably linger over dinner at least a little bit. Is Zaragoza big enough?

    Two of us will be kids aged 4 to 7, and they're not mine, so I haven't been able to indoctrinate them with a venturesome palate. Would Zaragoza have some bland chicken dish we can order for them?


    10 people would be a takeover of Zaragoza's current space; I'd only do this if you called them in advance and scheduled at a low volume time. There are no bland chicken dishes, only goat (and also no Dana, only Zuul), though they make a fantastic quesadilla. Also, the broth is vegetarian. A bowl of the broth and some fresh-made tortillas should please anyone, especially with a [rb] mol-ca-HAY-tay [/rb] full of fresh salsa. Happy birthday.
    Thanks. Sunday evening is unlikely to be a low-volume time. Sigh.


    It should actually be a no-volume time, since unless they've changed hours they close at 4 on weekends (and 7 on other nights). Good luck!
  • Post #63 - December 3rd, 2009, 2:09 am
    Post #63 - December 3rd, 2009, 2:09 am Post #63 - December 3rd, 2009, 2:09 am
    LTH,

    This is just general praise for Zaragoza's and LTH. It's my first post to LTH, inspired by the meal my wife and I had Sunday at Zaragoza's I decided to finally try and become a vocal part of the LTH community. I don't have anything new to add to the above posts. I wholeheartedly agree with all their praise and have had similar experiences on two occasions. Outside of Alinea this is the greatest overall dining experience I've had in Chicago. Perfectly executed food and the Zaragoza family could not be more friendly.

    Sunday was my second time visiting and I am very sorry it has taken me so long to find this place. In 10 years I've never seen my wife eat more than 1 forkfull of meat in one sitting. She had an entire plate of the birria and absolutely loved it.

    I also want to thank Gary for starting LTH and many thanks to the others who keep it going and make it such a valuable resource. This is an awesome website and Chicago is a much more enjoyable city to eat in because of it.
  • Post #64 - December 3rd, 2009, 9:23 am
    Post #64 - December 3rd, 2009, 9:23 am Post #64 - December 3rd, 2009, 9:23 am
    Welcome aboard, coal_b!

    I look forward to hearing more of your dining experiences.

    -Mary
    -Mary
  • Post #65 - December 5th, 2009, 2:04 pm
    Post #65 - December 5th, 2009, 2:04 pm Post #65 - December 5th, 2009, 2:04 pm
    I recently got to try Zaragoza's soup-style birria. Great stuff. I'm sure I'll order it again but their usual version is still tops for me. In return for the extra broth, you sacrifice much of the crispiness that makes birria tatemada so special. Still, there are days when you really want a bowl of soup. My advice: order their standard version on your first couple visits, then try the soup style.

    Image
  • Post #66 - December 5th, 2009, 6:27 pm
    Post #66 - December 5th, 2009, 6:27 pm Post #66 - December 5th, 2009, 6:27 pm
    Returning from Midway yesterday, we stopped at Zaragoza for a few pounds of Birria. What a treat to stop by, grab a few pounds and a few dozen tortillas, and get home to enjoy a great meal with little to no clean up (besides a short hose down to remove the consomme from my chin).

    You know that you have a good thing going when you can serve goat to your mother-in-law, tell her it is goat, and she smiles and takes another bite.
  • Post #67 - December 6th, 2009, 1:04 pm
    Post #67 - December 6th, 2009, 1:04 pm Post #67 - December 6th, 2009, 1:04 pm
    Zaragoza puts a smile on my face. Great food and incredibly warm and generous service. It was my first visit and I found all the praise to be well deserving. Loved the tender flavorful goat, and preferred to eat it without the accompaniments and tortillas, because I found they masked what was the focal point. That said, the hand made tortillas which are thicker than I'm accustomed to are fantastic...warm and soft with the right amount of chew, I couldn't stop eating them. Habanero sauce satisfied the chili-head in me, as the Bhut Jolokia salsa was unavailable...Jonathan told me in the future to call a week in advance and he could round up the peppers and whip some up (the peppers are grown in his grandfather's house).

    I absolutely loved my trip to Zaragoza and it was well worth putting up with Bears traffic on my way home.

    Large plate and Mexican Coke
    Image
  • Post #68 - December 6th, 2009, 9:50 pm
    Post #68 - December 6th, 2009, 9:50 pm Post #68 - December 6th, 2009, 9:50 pm
    Had another great meal here early this week. I'm hard-pressed to name another place where I feel so at home and among friends.
  • Post #69 - December 15th, 2009, 4:31 pm
    Post #69 - December 15th, 2009, 4:31 pm Post #69 - December 15th, 2009, 4:31 pm
    We had an another amazing time at Zaragoza's this weekend. I tried the soup-style and agree its great. Certainly missed the crispy bits and tortillas, but split a large plate with my wife so I didn't entirely miss out.

    The Zaragoza's are awesome. They really have it figured out.

    A couple of quesadillas are highly recommended. The cheese is so buttery. The salsa de molcajete is awesome. The oldest son John is a total character.
  • Post #70 - April 23rd, 2010, 8:02 pm
    Post #70 - April 23rd, 2010, 8:02 pm Post #70 - April 23rd, 2010, 8:02 pm
    I have never been to Birrieria Zaragoza.

    I briefly met the Zaragoza's at last year's GNR awards dinner held at Marie's, spent maybe 5 minutes talking with them, and walked away with a few of their business cards.

    In just those 5 minutes, I felt their enthusiasm, passion, and love for what they do. It prompted me to talk up their restaurant with my largely Hispanic staff, and a few other people I encountered shortly after the dinner. I had every intention of putting together an employee appreciation Saturday lunch together there....

    Life happens. I accepted a transfer to another property within my company before we made it to Zaragoza.

    A few days ago I ran into a delivery person I knew from my former position. He was so happy to see me because he wanted to thank me for the recommendation to visit Birrieria Zaragoza. He took his wife, whom he said has never cared for goat meat, (while he's always been a fan.) In his words, "the owner gave her a tiny taste at first, and then she was hooked. She wound up ordering her own bowl and finished it all.") He was almost tearing up when describing their experience at the restaurant. It made me feel really great for knowing about the place and also like a huge dumbass for not getting there yet myself.

    Hope to rectify that soon - with or without my former employees. -Lynn
  • Post #71 - May 17th, 2010, 12:42 pm
    Post #71 - May 17th, 2010, 12:42 pm Post #71 - May 17th, 2010, 12:42 pm
    Two friends and I got a Zipcar and made our inaugural visit to Birrieria Zaragoza yesterday - sure to be the first of many. We ate our way through the menu (although I confess we did not try the tripe sausage, liver, or other organs). Three plates of delicious goat and consume (next time, we'll try the soup-style, though they, like LTH suggested trying the traditional way first), three quesadillas, three different sodas, three coffees, one molcajete full of salsa that I am craving right now, and more tortillas than I can count.

    Everything was delicious, and Juan & co. could not have been more welcoming. We sat at the counter and were greeted with fist bumps, introductions, and a great menu run-down for first-timers. They asked how we heard about it (LTH, obvi), and were unsurprised. The counter seats gave us a great view of how they took care of their regulars (baby plate with tender meat for the 2-year-old who had been coming since he was born and had graduated from a taco to insisting on his very own plato, bowls of consume for the couple who liked the broth separate, etc.) We also got stories galore, a lesson in how to use a cleaver, a lengthy description of the effort that goes into the superb broth, and (the highlight for me) a chance to try my hand at making tortillas. The two gentlemen were not invited, so I assume that's something that only women get involved in?

    I really can't wait to go back.

    Less successful was our dessert follow-up at Pastel - the flan was very dense, one slice of cake was dry and tasteless, and my choice (the chocolate/caramel/pecan cake) was fine, but nothing special. Should we have gone with cookies instead?

    Image
  • Post #72 - May 17th, 2010, 2:36 pm
    Post #72 - May 17th, 2010, 2:36 pm Post #72 - May 17th, 2010, 2:36 pm
    Too bad about the flan and cake at Pastel. You are correct about the wisdom of choosing the cookies. I had some of the powdered sugar-coated ones and some of the flat, pecan-studded ones last night. They are the very best cookies in recent memory: fresh, buttery, optimally tender/crumbly, and generously nutty. Also note that pastel serves espresso, has sofas, and wi-fi! It surprised me that they also have a limited breakfast menu.
    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 #73 - July 21st, 2010, 12:52 am
    Post #73 - July 21st, 2010, 12:52 am Post #73 - July 21st, 2010, 12:52 am
    Introduced two more newbies to Zaragoza on Saturday (including my mother, whose siblings were shocked that she was going to eat goat tacos).

    It went smashingly, as anticipated, although I had meant to order one soup-style birria this time, and forgot about that in the thick of ordering. Everything was as delicious as remembered, and the family was even MORE accommodating than last time, if that's even possible (constant offers to refresh tortillas, broth, anything we needed). The molcajete salsa is simply incredible, and I wish I could take several containers of it home with me (and that they wouldn't spoil).

    Anyway, we had plenty of leftovers this time around, and I was the lucky keeper of them. Excellent goat quesadillas were had the next day, as well as my own impromptu soup-style birria (we got some extra broth to go). Goat nachos followed the day after - untraditional, but all I could do once I ran out of tortillas. And now the goat is all gone, and I'm hoping to head back next weekend....
  • Post #74 - August 6th, 2010, 5:42 pm
    Post #74 - August 6th, 2010, 5:42 pm Post #74 - August 6th, 2010, 5:42 pm
    Say what you want about Yelp, but Zaragoza is currently the top rated restaurant in Chicago, a hair above Alinea.

    My friend who joined me at Alinea last Sunday pointed this out in his Zaragoza blog post. He dined at Zaragoza the day before. Not sure what this says, but I had taken him and his wife to Zaragoza the week before. One week later, they went back for seconds. I doubt he'll be at Alinea again this weekend.

    So, top-rated Chicago restaurant. Just saying

    :twisted:

    Oh, I finally filled up my 10 stamp frequent dining goat card on my last visit. Jonathan said that these were ancient relics of the early days and they are not giving them out anymore. I was almost sorry to give mine away, but I was plenty happy to receive a free large plate. As always, terrifically nice people and great food.
  • Post #75 - August 6th, 2010, 7:12 pm
    Post #75 - August 6th, 2010, 7:12 pm Post #75 - August 6th, 2010, 7:12 pm
    gastro gnome wrote:Say what you want about Yelp, but Zaragoza is currently the top rated restaurant in Chicago, a hair above Alinea.

    That's AMAZINGLY AWESOME!!!

    Seriously, I truly think Birrieria Zaragoza is, in many ways, Chicago's best restaurant. The combination of focus, commitment to quality, true hospitality and flat-out deliciousness is almost unequaled (certainly for a restaurant in this price range). I can't wait for the next big step in BZ's evolution.
  • Post #76 - August 14th, 2010, 8:31 am
    Post #76 - August 14th, 2010, 8:31 am Post #76 - August 14th, 2010, 8:31 am
    Rene G wrote:Seriously, I truly think Birrieria Zaragoza is, in many ways, Chicago's best restaurant.
    The last few months I've found myself mentioning/recommending/praising Zaragoza even more than usual. It had been a few months and I simply missed the place so talked about them more.

    My appreciation of Zaragoza grows with each visit.

    A few pictures from yesterdays lunch. 8.13.10

    Image

    Image

    Image

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #77 - August 14th, 2010, 1:33 pm
    Post #77 - August 14th, 2010, 1:33 pm Post #77 - August 14th, 2010, 1:33 pm
    G Wiv wrote:My appreciation of Zaragoza grows with each visit.


    Made my first trip last weekend after reading about it for a long time. I was their only customer shortly after opening on Sunday morning. The goat was perfect, broth somehow both mysterious and familiar. Fresh roasted tomato salsa was still steaming as I was brought the molcajete. Everyone was extremely accommodating...no one gave me any trouble for my extremely rusty high-school Spanish. I'll be back, and I'll be taking friends.
  • Post #78 - August 15th, 2010, 12:43 am
    Post #78 - August 15th, 2010, 12:43 am Post #78 - August 15th, 2010, 12:43 am
    this is a outstanding meal
    the flavors are great :mrgreen:
    philw bbq cbj for kcbs &M.I.M. carolina pit masters
  • Post #79 - October 17th, 2010, 3:08 pm
    Post #79 - October 17th, 2010, 3:08 pm Post #79 - October 17th, 2010, 3:08 pm
    Jonathan gave us a sample of the flank today, and I think I've found my favorite cut: finally, something worthy of the phrase "melt-in-your-mouth." This stuff's even better than the meat served directly on the bone.

    Everything, from the tortillas to the molcajete, was excellent, per the usual. Love this place.
  • Post #80 - December 17th, 2010, 3:12 pm
    Post #80 - December 17th, 2010, 3:12 pm Post #80 - December 17th, 2010, 3:12 pm
    Was at Zaragoza for lunch today and was told that they are being written up in Food Network Magazine next month...is it too much to hope that a downtown location comes of this?

    ETA: The goat was fantastic, as always.
  • Post #81 - February 6th, 2011, 11:36 am
    Post #81 - February 6th, 2011, 11:36 am Post #81 - February 6th, 2011, 11:36 am
    It took too long, but I finally got to Zaragoza yesterday, and it more than lived up to the praise here. Yes, it's all about the wonderul goat and consome, but even the simple cheese quesadilla transported me to the Bazaar Sabado in Mexico City, which might be the only other place where I've had one so fresh and so perfectly-made. With a few dollops of Zaragoza's roasted tomato and chile salsa, the quesadilla alone was worth the trip from my NW side home.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #82 - April 4th, 2011, 10:59 pm
    Post #82 - April 4th, 2011, 10:59 pm Post #82 - April 4th, 2011, 10:59 pm
    Exciting news from the land of Birria Tatemada today.

    A friend and I spent a wonderful afternoon outlasting all the Monday lunch customers enjoying two large plates and the company of Jonathan. Yes, the birria was still delicious, but that is not news. (Actually, it's the sucker punch of flavor when I take a tiny spoonful of the consomme that gets me every time. Sure the crispy bark and melting meat is reason enough to love this place, but to pack so much flavor into the consomme? Kudos).

    The news I had not yet seen reported here is that the restaurant now also owns the corner space which they use for overflow seating when they are busy (typically on the weekends). I saw room and tables for another 25-30 customers. This space has more of a restaurant feel rather than the counter seating and cramped quarters of the diner space (which I personally love). The space isn't finished yet, but it's not as if it's a secret. Jonathan says they regularly pile people on weekends. I also saw what looked like a bar towards the front and Jonathan reminded me that Zaragoza is BYO at any time during their working hours. He said a group of visitors from Wisconsin rolled in with a dozen or more beers to taste with the birria to try to find the perfect pair. They settled on a milk stout (which surprised me), but Jonathan often goes with a Negro Modelo.

    In other news, there are apparently plans for a second location in the works. Jonathan said he didn't know where yet before I could even get the question out.

    Also, Jonathan will be dishing from a food truck in Evanston around the time of Cinqo de Mayo (special, one time holiday specific offering). Birria will be a part of what they offer, but not entirely. He said he is strongly considering their birria as part of a riff on the torta ahogada. You can get more info by following them on Twitter: @zargozachicago. I realized before heding in there today that I was already too late to get the goat sausages Jonathan made up for the Butcher & Larder case over the weekend. In short, follow these guys on Twitter!

    Last up, I always love bringing new people to BZ just to see how their eyes pop out of their heads with the flavor and the welcome. My dining companion just kind of hugged herself and kept repeating: "I'm a lucky girl."

    Aren't we all.
  • Post #83 - April 21st, 2011, 7:42 pm
    Post #83 - April 21st, 2011, 7:42 pm Post #83 - April 21st, 2011, 7:42 pm
    great meal today@zaragoza's :mrgreen:
    had the bowl & some snacks before the goat. :mrgreen:
    philw bbq cbj for kcbs &M.I.M. carolina pit masters
  • Post #84 - April 21st, 2011, 9:35 pm
    Post #84 - April 21st, 2011, 9:35 pm Post #84 - April 21st, 2011, 9:35 pm
    Tomorrow (Friday 22 April) is your last chance this year to sample Norma's great capirotada, a bread pudding she makes only on Fridays during Lent (it might be a good idea to call to make sure it's available).

    Image

    Image

    For more information on capirotada and other especiales de Cuaresma, see Mike Sula's article and blog from last week.

    Oh, they have goat too . . .

    Image
  • Post #85 - April 21st, 2011, 11:05 pm
    Post #85 - April 21st, 2011, 11:05 pm Post #85 - April 21st, 2011, 11:05 pm
    Rene G wrote:Tomorrow (Friday 22 April) is your last chance this year to sample Norma's great capirotada, a bread pudding she makes only on Fridays during Lent (it might be a good idea to call to make sure it's available).

    According to their Twitter, Zaragoza's will be closed tomorrow.
  • Post #86 - April 21st, 2011, 11:17 pm
    Post #86 - April 21st, 2011, 11:17 pm Post #86 - April 21st, 2011, 11:17 pm
    No detail too small at Zaragoza, they fan dry the cilantro so it cuts clean, crisp and retains texture.

    Field of Greens

    Image
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #87 - April 21st, 2011, 11:37 pm
    Post #87 - April 21st, 2011, 11:37 pm Post #87 - April 21st, 2011, 11:37 pm
    kl1191 wrote:
    Rene G wrote:Tomorrow (Friday 22 April) is your last chance this year to sample Norma's great capirotada, a bread pudding she makes only on Fridays during Lent (it might be a good idea to call to make sure it's available).

    According to their Twitter, Zaragoza's will be closed tomorrow.

    Oops, sorry. Thanks for pointing that out. I guess it will have to be something to look forward to next year. It's really good stuff.

    G Wiv wrote:No detail too small at Zaragoza, they fan dry the cilantro so it cuts clean, crisp and retains texture.

    I noticed that being done in the kitchen of Los Gallos #2 (4252 S Archer) also.
  • Post #88 - April 22nd, 2011, 10:51 am
    Post #88 - April 22nd, 2011, 10:51 am Post #88 - April 22nd, 2011, 10:51 am
    So, I made my maiden visit to BZ a few weeks ago. I got a small plate "to go." The experience was great, the people running the place went completely above and beyond, everything was packaged expertly, down to the tiny tin foil packet which contained two dried peppers. There was lime, a container for broth, a container for salsa, the goat was sep, so the crispy bits stayed crispy, it was all packed like someone actually gave a crap. They gave me a gratis quesadilla with salsa on those tortillas while I waited.

    The food completely underwhelmed me. I surely ate it all, but I think I might have been charged for a big plate, or the "to go" version of the chico plate was that much more than the eat in price.

    The spirit of the ppl working there will have me back much sooner than later for an "eat in" trial or two, tho. Great folks, couldn't be nicer, and there is no doubt they care about their product.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #89 - April 27th, 2011, 6:03 pm
    Post #89 - April 27th, 2011, 6:03 pm Post #89 - April 27th, 2011, 6:03 pm
    My wife and I finally made our maiden voyage to Zaragoza. Man was it great! Before we get to the food just want to say that all the things written about how nice these folks are is so true. We sat at the counter around 2:45 and got the royal treatment. Jonathan must have been working next door and when the ladies saw a couple of gringo's someone got him. As we were looking at the menu he popped in the front door and just started charming us with perfect english. He set us up with a couple of quesadilla's and 2 plates of the amazing chivo with different cuts the way he likes it! After alot of discussion he told us how he wants to do a restaurant with all regional traditional dishes. He plans on spending several months backpacking around Mexico researching dishes for his project. For those who want the bread pudding good news! He said it is to popular to take off the special board. His father came in and talked for a while as well and the amount of pride and knowledge they show is really amazing.

    We will be back sooner than later!
    Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans?...........Louis Armstrong
  • Post #90 - April 27th, 2011, 11:55 pm
    Post #90 - April 27th, 2011, 11:55 pm Post #90 - April 27th, 2011, 11:55 pm
    jhawk1 wrote: As we were looking at the menu he popped in the front door and just started charming us with perfect english.

    Um, probably because he is a born and bred American.

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