Otaez Mexicatessen, Oakland CA
August was stuck at school for Open House, so Zach went out to dinner with his little brother Will. Coincidentally, August took herself to a Mexican restaurant close to her campus, and Zach and Will found Otaez Mexicatessen on Internatinal Blvd. Zach and Will, though, had the better experience.
Strips of carne asada were perfectly cooked for this torta. Will says it was tender enough that he could bite through without pulling out the strips. The lettuce was crisp, and the tomato and avocado were ripe and fresh, and because of the freshness there was no veggie juice soaking into the bread. The bread was soft on the inside with a firm crust, giving but heavy enough to maintain the sandwich. Zach and Will didn’t expect to find scratch-made french fries because A) it’s a Mexican restaurant, and B) few restaurants make fries from scratch; according to Will, “If you like In-N-Out’s french fries, you should definitely give this mexicatessen a shot because they tasted fresher and more flavorful.”
A sope is like a thick tostada, and this one came piled with stewed chicken, made with onions, peppers, and chile. Topped with fresh lettuce, mozzarella, and grated cotija cheese, this must be eaten with a knife and fork. The tostada-like shell was crispy and crunchy on the outside, with a somewhat chewy and tender center. The sides of tangy sour cream and fresh, rich guacamole were excellent.
Both sweet and spicy with nice heat and a smooth, rich texture, the mole was delicious. Tender white and dark meat chicken was great for pairing with the mole, and the thick tortillas that came with were ideal for pinching mouthfuls. The savory rice and beans, like the tortillas, were scratch-made and tasty. Will even made a mini burrito with the mole and the sides of rice and beans.
The “golden taco,” or taco dorado, is fried for a crispy shell. However, it wasn’t at all greasy. Flavor-packed steak, fresh veggies, and two kinds of cheese (mozzarella and cotija) filled it. This is everything you could want in a steak taco, and Zach wants to return specifically for these.
Crispy, tender, gooey are the strongest adjectives for the chile relleno. The pepper was mildly spicy, not overpowering the combination of textures. Gooey cheese gushed from the tender pepper with a crispy fried exterior. The sauce was thick, whereas most restaurants’ sauces are watery, so it was great to have some substance that didn’t soak through the pepper.
To finish the dinner, Zach and Will got fried ice cream for dessert. It was a scoop the size of a women’s softball lightly coated and deep fried, then placed over a scratch-made deep fried tortilla. The strawberries were sweet, fresh, and ripe. Huge, simple, delicious and inexpensive, this was one impressive postre.
For very fair priced, authentic, and sumptuous Mexican food in an unexpected place, come to Otaez Mexicatessen. Based on the boys’ experience and this writeup, August can’t wait for her own opportunity to try the comida sabrosa.
Posted on April 11, 2013, in Restaurants and tagged avocado, cheese, chicken, chile, fried, ice cream, mexican, oakland, relleno, sope, steak, taco, torta, tortilla. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.