Friday, July 13, 2012

El Hidalguense

Before returning to Mexico City, I knew that I wanted some distinctly regional Mexican food soon after arrival. What better place than El Hidalguense, in Colonia Roma Sur, not far west of the Mercado Medellín, at Calle Campeche #155?

It was only recently that I'd seen a passing mention of it on's Mexico Forum. Then some Googling turned up a few more references to it, notably a glowing article in El Economista. That, plus a very positive response in an email from our friend, "Mija" Lesley Tellez was enough to convince me to eat there.

We made plans to meet friends and have a late breakfast there. It was a short walk from their house.

I was expecting a drab hole-in-the wall, but what I found was an attractive restaurant with two levels of dining rooms, and perky waitresses clad in "Scottish" uniforms. There are some attractive displays of food along a long counter.

Dining room
Aguas frescas
The menu runs to three glossy panels, but the centerpiece is barbacoa de carnero (young lamb). For the more adventurous there are some intriguing items not on the carta of your favorite Restaurante VIP's. Chinicuiles (gusanos de chile), escamoles (ant eggs), criadillas ("lamb's fries" or to speak plainly, testicles.); pancita roja o blanca (lamb's innards seasoned variously and stuffed into a paunch. More variants on the montalayo theme.)
We stayed firmly in the non-innards part of the menu. Sr. Paco and I started with bowls of rich consomé de barbacoa. It was perhaps the best I've  had anywhere. He and I split a 1/4 kilo of barbacoa. It was tasty but somewhat fatty. The presentation was very attractively rustic.
The charred penca de maguey holds the barbacoa
Señora Luz María had a Mixiote de Pollo, (highly seasoned chicken wrapped in parchment and baked.) and she offered me a taste of the sauce. It was sabrosa pero o, picante!

Mixiote de pollo
I had a Mixiote de Setas (they spell setas with a "Z" but I won't.)
This was a wonderful, balanced dish without being excessively picante.

That reminds me to mention the three wonderful salsas. I tried the rich, smoky dark one and the verde. I enjoyed them both. I think the salsa amarilla is the most picante.

Sra. Cuevas was avoiding spices, and had a Plato Hidalguense. This was queso panela, avocado, tomato slices, a beautiful ensalada de nopales, accompanied by branches of papaloquelite.

All was accompanied by excellent tortillas de maíz azul hechas a mano.

El Hidalguense is definitely worth further visits in order to try its regional specialties.

There's a story behind how all the hard work is done, and it's explained in the El Economista article. (In Spanish.)

Owner, Moíses


Food: ****1/2

Service: **** 1/2

Price: $-$$ (Our average was $131 pesos per person, and that included  2 cervezas, 1 agua mineral, a pulque curado con tunas-click for picture, 2 cafes de olla, and the tip. Your cuenta may vary, especially if you order escamoles or chinicuiles.)

Noise level: moderately loud.

Rest Rooms: we didn't use the facilities.

HOURS: (pay careful attention!) Only Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Open major holidays.

Tel: 55 640538
Cel: (045) 775 752 5606


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John Calypso said...

"Noise level: moderately loud."
Interesting critique category - very apropos for Mexico ;-)
It looks like a winner - thanks

Senzer23 said...

It all looks delicious, but disappointed not to see any pictures of the waitresses :)

DonCuevas said...

They were prim but attractive. Later in the day, we went to dinner at Sobrino's on Álvaro Obregon, where the hostess is stunning. Then after, coffee at Cafe de Carlo around the corner on Orizaba, where we were attended by two very cute waitresses.

I don't usually take pictures of staff unless I am well known to them.

Saludos, Don Cuevas 

DonCuevas said...

I probably should have written, "Noise level normal."

Saludos, Don Cuevas 

Soul Vole said...

I'm really very pleased that you enjoyed it. Man, I'm due for a return visit, especially after reading this.

DonCuevas said...

Bienvenidos, Soul Vole. Gracias por tu comentario.

(Soul Vole is a regular on the Mexico Forum)

Saludos, Don Cuevas 

Pelú Ubud said...

Thank you Don Cuevas, will consider going there next time we go to "El D.F."
I've even told my family about your find, since living so far away from Mexico City, we crave barbacoa like crazy, and good barbacoa even more, I know that Pachuca has lots of it, but it is far away, and this restaurant truly nails it for us.
My sister is in Oaxaca right now and upon her return, she will be this sunday in "El D.F." and I told her about this place, I will probably get a nice kilo of barbacoa as my reward.

DonCuevas said...

Pelú, somehow I missed your comment until now. Sorry.

We have had good barbacoa in Oaxaca, a couple of times a family's barbacoa street stand on Sundays only, on Calle Aldama, Colonia Jalatlaco, just a little south of Hotel Casa Arnel.

Another time at the Friday tianguis at Parque El Llano.

I liked all of it. I might get some barbacoa de borrego today at Javier y Lety's, across from Costco, in Morelia.

Saludos, Don Cuevas