Dominican Delight

Ask anyone I know, and they’ll tell you that as much as I love to eat at high end places, I truly love the holes in the wall. The mom-and-pop-pinch-you-in-the-cheek sort of place where you know the owner is in the kitchen every day. In particular, as I wrote last week, I like taquerias — a LOT. Now I’m guilty as much as the next guy in getting a burrito instead of the tacos every once in awhile because sometimes, I like a more hefty meal (hey, I’m a hefty guy). And so it is that years ago I fell in love with the “restaurant location of death” at 805 West Peace Street in Raleigh. I can’t keep track of the names of the different Mexican restaurants at that location — Taqueria Mi Mexico, Taqueria La Zacatecana, and now, Brisas de Acapulco. Although the place has been called Brisas de Acapulco for several years now, I had given up on this place when the prior owners tried too hard to fancify the place, and sacrificed flavor and authenticity. When I saw a discussion on ChowHound that the place was new and improved, I had to give this old friend another chance. I’m glad I did.

Folks, Brisas de Acapulco is under new ownership, and in addition to standard taqueria fare, they make Dominican food. For lunch today, I had Comida Criolla, a Dominican chicken stew served with rice, beans and roasted yellow plantains. The owners were somewhat skeptical when I ordered this special of the day, but they came out at least 4 times during my meal to check on what I thought of the food. It was damn good was what I thought. When they knew I actually was serious about my eating (it’s only at the Latino and Caribbean restaurants where people question my eating abilities), they told me I needed to come back for their Pescado con Coco — a whole fish cooked in coconut milk. Just tell me when, and I’m there.

A couple of other points: the chips and salsa are very good, but not completely memorable. But this is the only place I know where they serve a bottomless glass of horchata. That alone would make this a place to go regularly, but the solid food makes it a true destination.

Brisas de Acalpulco
805 W Peace Street
Raleigh, NC 27605


10 Responses to Dominican Delight

  1. ROSA says:

    Hi varmint I just saw your comment about Brisas De Acapulco. I am glad you like their food. Actually the owners of the restaurant are my brothers They are having a hard time to make this work. They are working very hard to make their dreams come true. I also saw the comments on chows and I am very happy to know that my brothers are doing so well. I want to thank you for your comments. I live in NY and this is the only way I could see how my brothers are doing.


    Rosa Gomez

  2. VaNC says:

    Stopped by A the other night for takeout after a meeting I had at Times Bar turned out to be a drinking and no eating affair.. Had been meaning to check this place out after seeing the remarks on CHound. I asked the guy behind the counter what to get and he pointed me to the chicken stew also. Even mostly cold, eaten from a styrofoam container while watching TV at my house later, it was REALLY GOOD.

    Like you, I would love to try the fish. Maybe I will pile the kids in the car and head over there Friday night. Hey…..throw the little Varmints in the car and we’ll have a party!

  3. DoubleA says:

    As a fairly recent Los Angeles, transplant, I can vouch for the caliber of BA. After exhausting most of the taqueria options around Raleigh, including all of the usual suspects people like to reccomend, this was the place that finally measured up. The owners are very personable and the food is great. Worth a trip.

  4. ROSA says:

    Bad News. I heard that they are going to sell Brisa de Acapulco . They are going to try for 2 moths and if they don’t get the support that they need they are going back to NY. It is a shame. Brisa was just getting better and the health department score went up.

    Permalink | Edit | Thanks for posting!

    Permalink | Edit | Thanks for posting!

  5. Varmint says:

    That is unfortunate, Rosa. That location has had troubles making a go of it, and it will ultimately take a savvy restaurateur to succeed. The layout of the restaurant is a big concern, so I believe whoever takes it over will need to spend some money on reconfiguring the space.

    Moreover, it appears that the last several owners of this space, including your brothers, have been undercapitalized. That’s a recipe for failure in any business.

    Just another lesson that good food isn’t always the determining factor.

  6. Lawgalheel says:

    I’m disappointed to hear that they will sell the restaurant. I just ate there tonight with a few other friends, and it was amazing. For a starter, we split an order of empanadas, which were much better than the empanadas that I had at another local institution last week. For my entree, I had the whole tilapia in coconut milk, and it was heavenly. Varmint, you should definitely go back and try it. The salsa served before the meal was so good, we almost filled up on that alone.

    We were also served complimentary plantains and sausages. We asked how the owner made the sausages, and he listed off a litany of herbs and peppers. He told us that they will sell the sausage by the pound.

    It was not busy at all for a Friday night, which is a shame. I sincerely hope other people give this place, which is now known as Las Cascadas, a try.

  7. Varmint says:

    Well, it’s still there, so we shall see. But every time I drive by, it’s not very crowded. Actually, it’s empty. I’ll hit it again in the next week, as it’s never too late to support good places.

  8. FuzzyT says:

    They’ve got the most appealing looking soup menu. And we’re finally getting some proper fall weather. So last night I phoned in a carryout order for their Sopa de Camarones.

    On picking up the order, things we’re looking a good bit more active. A couple of carryout customers arrived just after I did and there were a number of tables seated. Word seems to be getting out and the vibe behind the counter was definitely more upbeat. We talked for a while and I was treated to some samples of the sausage. Delicious stuff. Complex blend of spices, used with some subtlety. Nicely browned with a crispy exterior. He described a number of different varieties that he makes. These are on offer prepared in entree form, to cook at home, and prepared as a party platter. Can’t wait to go back for an entree portion and to get a sampling to try at home on the grill.

    The soup was delicious. Translucent amber broth, heavily loaded with shrimp, fish, mussels, octopus, and more.

  9. Varmint says:

    Well, as Rosa said above, they’re giving it a try for two months. I’ll try to get over there for lunch today. Others who support this type of place should do the same.

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