Thursday, May 21, 2015

Jose Pistola's Review

A while back, a few of us stopped by Jose Pistola's for some drinks and tacos. It's located near the Avenue of the Arts area and has several floors and dim lighting. Noting that there was quite a bit of pork belly on the menu, I didn't exactly restrain myself. So, I ordered every darn item that contained my favorite ingredient. But first, let's start with a drink. And I do apologize for the dimly-lit phone pics!

Pear Mojito [$8.50] [$7.73]

I was on a mojito kick at the time and while I appreciated that this wasn't overly sweet, the mint essence was particularly weak and the drink as a whole tasted a bit watered down. While the menu listed this at $8.50, I was charged a bit less - HH prices perhaps?

Short Rib Nachos [$13]
Mexican cheese blend, crema, tomato, refried pinto beans, cilantro, pickled jalapeno, onion 

We started off with some short rib nachos to share - a bed of crispy homemade nachos, with a hefty portion of short ribs, pickled onions, jalapenos, cotija, and crema on top. Nice.

Tortilla Soup [$6]
Pasilla chicken broth, pulled chicken, avocado, crema, queso fresco

The GF was feeling some tortilla soup, which was surprisingly served table side. It featured a dark pasilla chicken broth with great depth. Texture came in the form of crunchy tortilla strips, with moist pulled chicken accented by the pasilla. The creaminess of the avocado and crema helped to provide even more richness to each bite.

Pork Belly Sopes [$8]
Beans, crema, cilantro, onion, salsa borracha 

I did promise pork belly so here's the first dish. I'm typically not a sopes fan because I find them a bit dry. The thick fried masa discs were surprisingly moist, but still a bit heavy and needed more acid to brighten them up. The thick slabs of pork belly were nice and gluttonous though. While the pickled onions, the drunken salsa, radish, and ciltanro helped to provide some balance, the dish ate a bit on the leaden side. 

Pork Belly Tamale [$6]
Tomatillo sauce

As a special, the pork belly tamale was on offer. So I got that too. The masa was a bit thick here as well - so much so that I could barely detect the pork belly from the masa! The tomatillo sauce helped to provide some brightness to each bite along with the pickled red onions. 

Pork Belly Tacos [$9]
Beans, crema, cilantro, onion, salsa borracha 

On the other hand, the pork belly tacos redeemed Jose Pistola's. Crisp, thick slabs of pork belly melted in your mouth and were balanced by the sharpness of the radish and the brightness of that drunken salsa and cilantro. Now this is how pork belly should be served!

Overall, Jose Pistola's is a decent bet near the theater district - service was especially good. Do try the pork belly tacos and get the short rib nachos. If you've got a hankering for soup, don't hesitate to try the tortilla soup.

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