El Jarro Mexican Cafe
3563 Mt Diablo Blvd, Lafayette, CA 94549
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02/12/2008Provided by Citysearch -
This is authentic Mexican food that conjures a reaction no less fantastic than Meg Ryan's ""When Harry Met Sally"" scene-stealer. El Jarro is an undeniable jewel of the East Bay. Not only is the food flavorful, fresh, exciting and colorful, but the welcoming jewel-toned ambience of this tiny restaurant makes you feel cozy and at home instantly. This is a 'locals' kind of place-- a place that turns would be one-timers into regulars after only a bite.
When you try this place-- and you have to try it. You can't miss the carnitas in any dish. It?s not your usual fatty, grizzly carnitas-- as cliche as it may sound; the meat is so tender that it melts in your mouth. Don't believe it? Try a carnitas taco for only $3. A heaping mound of the juicy stuff is served on a grill-warmed corn tortilla with some fresh guacamole, cilantro and a hint of onion and lime-- perfection. One taco, with a side of El Jarro's made-to-order chips and salsa would satisfy a diner looking for a filling-yet-light dinner. Oh, yes-- and I did say the chips are made-to-order? They come piping hot, not greasy at all, with a hint of salt and some of the freshest and best salsa this Mexican food lover has had (~$2.25, with free refills). The tomatoes in the salsa are pureed and taste like the summer's sweetest pick. The salsa is simple, yet has some kick. From the taste of it: tomatoes, onion, cilantro and spicy fresh jalapeno...plus some sort of delicious Oaxacan voodoo that makes you want to drink the stuff. The guacamole is equally fresh, and regulars debate if the chef also makes it to order. Other favorites include the selection of nine tortas (Mexican sandwiches ~$8-9), and larger plates like the taco salad, and fresh seafood dishes (~$10). For dessert, don't miss the flan mixed with creme brulee (~$3).
For a casual date that won't break the bank, or for a just-plain-great meal any night of the week-- this place hits a home run. (Next to Postino. Indoor and outdoor seating is available.)