Thursday, January 22, 2009

El Parian

El Parian offers the most spartan of menus: birria, carne asada, and carnitas, in orders full and half, in tacos or burritos. A long, dimly-lit space, divided by arches, with streaked yellow walls, its Pico-Union location resembles convincingly the taco halls of Mexico, complete with picnic tables and benches. Hailed for their Jalisco style Birria, roasted goat stewed in a chilied broth, El Parian also serves a mean carne asada, sweet, garlicky strips, nearly blackened.

The restaurant appears to be the refuge of men, often unaccompanied, each to a table, quiet, intent, imbibing cold cervezas and giantic rounds of meat, occasionally consulting a folded copy of Hoy or Novedades. The sole females work the register or pat the thick, hand-built tortillas, whilst el cocinero rips into giantic sides of meat with glistening cleavers, unleashing a staccato like soundtrack, the ambience of simple toil and blunt purpose. How wonderful.

The burritos con todo may be a bit overstuffed with rice, though a "solo carne" version is offered. Phone orders are welcome and a parking lot is located in the rear off Toberman.

El Parian
1528 W. Pico Blvd.

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