El Carnicero
 Cleveland, Ohio        Date of Visit  08/20/16      

This might be cheating a little. El Carnicero is nearly identical to Momocho, except it opens earlier. Our initial experience at Momocho was extraordinary, turns out it has been impossible to rearrange the exact confluence of events that made it so, but they are still always a delicious experience. Similarly menued and lucha-dorian(?), we are quickly escorted to a table, met by a gracious and efficient young server who doesn’t even bat an eye at our ridiculous order. A peculiar beer blend (I was introduced to at Momocho), a flight of guacs, taquitos, tamales, a couple sides and a take home dessert. The dessert had a lot of company in the bag.



That's A Lotta Stuff In A Beer, Very Interesting

The beer is called a michelada-style cerveza. Last time I had it with a standard Tacate brew, this time with a much darker Modelo. Both are tasty and turn which might be a refreshing adult treat into something more of a meal/grenade of flavors. Imagine a beer fashioned after Thai food, it literally gut punches every taste, salty, sweet, spicy, tart, and funky as it is amped up with lime juice, salt, worcestershire sauce and hot sauce. In a beer. Pull the pin.

In all honesty, the guac has lost a degree of luster for me. I don’t know if it’s fewer additions vs. straight quac, just less novel, different kitchen…who knows? We did the goat cheese, tomato & chile poblano; the smoked trout, bacon & chile poblano; and the pickled corn, crab & chile chipotle. Every now and then you would get a nice bite of tangy chevre or smoky fish/pig belly but too many dips seemed hard to distinguish from the last. Still excellent green goop, just a less consistent Wow.

I Think The Hot Sauce Might Be My Favorite Part Of Guac Flight

When You Get A Plop Of Goat Cheese, It's Really Nice

Smoke From Trout & Bacon

Crab & Corn Didn't Do Much

The tamales were the chorizo version with creamy cheese sauce, spinach, hominy, radish and the arty looking but delicious salsas divorciadas. I also added a fried egg. The down side…the egg was overdone for me…the edges were crispy brown, and the yolk was nearly completely set. Beside that the tangy green and rich red sauces were wonderfully adversarial and complimentary together and worked well with the rest of the dish. The Mexican style sausage had a fair rich and greasy bite, I still prefer mine a little deeper and fiery, but this does pack flavor.

The steamed masa lumps themselves were serious. Dense like an adobe brick and studded with seasoning, it was the most formidable version I’ve ever had…sort of like masa tortilla…sometimes they are too much for my Gringo palate…but the seasoning made these much more accessible for me. Overall, I would certainly try other things…but wouldn’t be adverse to ordering this again at some point.


The Plate Was Gorgeous With Chorizo & Two Sauces

The Tamale Were Serious & Dense



Steph had the tacquitos, their brisket option. The beef is rich and the beefiness pushes through the deep coffee and ancho pepper braising liquid. Mexican pot roast on roids. The five soft corn tortillas also arrived with aromatic chile rajitas, bright and citrusy salsa verde machaca and a cup of their straight up guacamole tradicional. The beef and the green salsa are spectacular. Everything else is tasty.


The Brisket Is Spectacular

The Brussels sprouts are served with the interesting combo of bacon, chipotle chile and coconut vinegar. Sauteed to just brown crispy edges on leaves, what really stood out was the vinegar…lightly pungent against the intense green of the sprouts and the smoke of the bacon. Not a lot of noticeable coconut from the vinegar…Yaa! Even more interesting and for us, delicious was their esquite, achiote creamed corn. Kinda like street corn but in a bowl instead of on the cob. Starchier than the sweet corn Ohioans line up for at local stalls, the kernels were relaxing in a thick yellow concoction which was more rich than spicy (not sure why I thought it would be spicy) with hints of citrus and spice which were wonderful with the corn. We’ll do that again. The horchata was just like the version we had carried home from Momocho, cinnamon and coconut flavored rice with a berry compote and some sweet crunchy bits. Can’t really do wrong there, even with the coconut. I doubt Momocho will ever live up to our first visit, but it has always been innovative and tasty…El Carnicero is a twin.

Sprouts With Interesting Vinegar

Achiote Corn Is Great

Rice Pudding Is A Steph Favorite



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