Our Critics' Picks


Birrieria La Barca Jalisco

10817 Valley Mall
El Monte, CA 91731


  • Daily 8am-9pm
  • $$
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Beer/Wine
  • Takeout
  • Parking Lot Available
  • Reservations Accepted, Reservations Not Accepted
The regulars, knowing the drill, crane their heads to study the chalkboard listing the afternoon's specials, hoping beyond hope that today is the day for carne en su jugo, a concoction of broth, beans and grilled beef that may be on every menu in Guadalajara but is rarely seen in California. If you look down the long tables at Birrieria La Barca, you'll see that almost everybody is getting either molcajetes or the birria, seething mortars full of shrimp, or the birrieria's titular bowl of goat. Actually, La Barca's birria, a thick, brick-red broth concealing a payload of mild goat meat, is good but not quite as revelatory as some of the other birrias in town - its strong smack of cloves perhaps one-dimensional compared to the herbal complexity found in the very best examples; its wet, soft meatiness not quite as compelling as the crisp, charred edges sometimes found in the places that roast their goats in dry heat before moistening the meat with consommé. A shot of La Barca's birria-specific hot sauce, a thin, vinegary brew, balances the flavors and adds a mean chile punch. But the queso fundido is beyond great, a mass of cheese heated to the maximum stretching point and topped with a ladleful of crumbled sausage.See full review.

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