Mini-Review: Rustic Goat Birria Tacos at Birriería Nochistlán in Boyle Heights

Taco de Birria de Chivo. Photo by Jay Keyes.

The name of this restaurant refers to Nochistlán de Mejia in the Mexican state of Zacatecas, the town where chef-owner Javier Moreno learned how to make birria de chivo (aka goat birria) from his grandfather. This is a restaurant with no menus, as they only serve their birria, and there are only two options: you can have it wet in a bowl or dry in a taco.

The house’s spirited, mood-altering birria is rustic and gamey, yet not at all unpleasant. It is tender young goat braised until it reaches its purest, softest, meltiest form, and it stands up to condiments and a house-made tortilla in a way that other birrias can kind of fade into the background. Here, the garnishments harmonize with the birria rather than sing over it — and even once you spray your taco with a few squeezes of lime, add some onions and cilantro, and spoon on some of the lava-like salsa, you still are left with that delicate goat flavor that you’ll begin to look for in each bite. Birriería Nochistlán’s salsa, by the way, is one of the best I’ve had at any restaurant anywhere, and is purportedly made with Yahualica chiles de árbol, a potent árbol imported from the region around Zacatecas.

On an early Sunday morning, service from my waitress was attentive and efficient and my tacos, which were filling, were just $2 each, taxes included.

Food/Décor/Service: 4.0/1.6/3.8

Taco Scores: Taco de Birria de Chivo (90)

Jay Recommends: Taco de Birria de Chivo

Birriería Nochistlán3201 E 4th St, Los Angeles, CA 90063; Monday through Friday, from 8:00am-4:00pm and Saturday through Sunday from 8:00am-5:00pm; (323) 268-0319;

Condiments and Salsa. Photo by Jay Keyes.
Inside the Restaurant. Photo by Jay Keyes.
Birria Shop in Boyle Heights. Photo by Jay Keyes.

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