Birria, I Just Ate at a Place with Birria*

birria.jpgWhen I grabbed my newspaper this morning, I was pissed, because once again, the carrier failed to double bag it, and as it slid across my driveway, lots of tears in the bag resulted in the rain turning the N&O into a soggy mess. But still, knowing it was Wednesday, I pulled the wet sections apart, went to the Life section, and started reading. As y’all know, I now look forward to Wednesday’s food section. After reading a wonderful article about a traditional French method of cooking mussels, I went to Greg Cox’s section on new restaurant openings. Greg gets all the best tips, and he certainly had one for me today.

Muy Pronto Fonda y Birrieria Jalisco opened just last Friday in the Paddington Square complex off of Wake Forest Road near the Sam’s Club. They’re so new that they apologized for not having their English menu ready. Frankly, I didn’t know what a birrieria was, but I do now — they serve birria, silly. Oh, what’s birria? It’s heaven on a rainy day, that’s what. It’s an aromatic stew made with chunks of goat (yes, tender, flavorful cabrito), with a rich broth of dried peppers and tomatoes. This, folks, is the bomb. Served with a plate of onions, cilantro, lime and radishes, you put some of the tender meat in a freshly made corn tortilla, add the sides, wrap it up, and dip it in the stew. Then follow up with a spoonful or two more of that deep red broth. Repeat. Several times more. Birria is a bit pricey for lunch, with a bowl running you nearly 10 bucks, but on a day like today, it was more than worth it.

Muy Pronto Fonda y Birrieria Jalisco is owned by the same folks who own the Los Tres Magueyes establishments across the area, but they wanted to do something “different.” They’ve certainly accomplished that, featuring fresh made tortillas for the birria and tacos. They also make everything else from scratch, including their chorizo and excellent horchata. Their carnitas are amazingly unctuous, with just an edge of crispy exterior. Tacos are sizeable and tasty.

Fortunately, this place is only a couple of blocks away from Los Cuates, my favorite Raleigh taqueria, so I’ll be able to hit both places now. And maybe they’ll have the gringo menu ready so I can order even more new things.

Muy Pronto Fonda y Birrieria Jalisco
1600 Ronald Drive

*Apologies to Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim for the awful West Side Story-influenced headline


8 Responses to Birria, I Just Ate at a Place with Birria*

  1. Joe says:

    “How do you solve a problem like Birri-a?” [ducks head and runs]

  2. Tyler says:

    Dean, I think Paddington Square is the strip center where the Super Walmart is….not Sam’s Club.

  3. Great tip Dean. Can’t wait to check it out.

  4. Varmint says:

    You’re right, Tyler. It was a WalMart.

  5. Ducker says:

    Here in Honduras Birria is something quite different….Birria here are Cervezas (beer)
    then again…im sure the birria you had would go along quite well with some of our birrias….hmmmm food.

  6. FuzzyT says:

    I’ve eaten there twice now. Good experiences both times, both with the food and the friendly staff.

    Went solo the first visit and tried the Posole stew. I’ve had this dish before, but always with a clear broth, pork chunks and the posole kernels (as it’s served in New Mexico). Birrieria Jalisco’s version featured big pieces of pork on the bone, the posole and a rich red broth infused with chili. Very flavorful. Like the Birria, this was served with a tray of additions, though a slightly different list: onion, lettuce, radishes and crispy tortillas.

    For the second trip, I took the wife who had a small Posole and a carne asada taco. She really loved the Posole, and why not, it’s delicious. The taco was very generously filled with a rich and tasty beef, onion and cliantro. IIRC, a platter with four of these ran about $6.50. That’s a very filling meal and pretty great deal considering the way these were sized. I had the Birria. Wow, what a treat. Huge flavor. The cabrito is pretty powerful stuff, and it’s a flavor I enjoy. It was nicely balanced by the strong pungency of the chili broth/sauce. The thickness of the broth really was such that it was more of sauce. Paired with the soft tortillas and other additions, it made for a marvelous meal. If you’re shy about having the goat, try the Posole instead. But, really, don’t be shy.

    The remainder of the menu is extensive: other soups and stews, meat platters, rice dishes, tortas and tacos. I can see that it will take quite a while to work through their offering, but know I’ll enjoy doing so. Two visits in and I can already seeing this becoming a favorite neighborhood spot.

  7. Scott says:

    I’m fresh to Raleigh from Southern California (actually, spent 5 months in DC before coming down to Raleigh). I need to thank you for this article. I’ve been searching for good/legit Mexican food since I left Cali. Specifically good Birria. I owe you one, this place is awesome, actually have eaten there two days in a row. You are the man!

  8. Varmint says:

    Glad you liked it, Scott. The place is a family favorite.

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