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Tacos al Carbón, south Santa Rosa’s newest taquería

Ricardo Ibarra
Written by Ricardo Ibarra

Yes they’re tacos, but they’re not grilled over charcoal. One would think that when walking into Tacos al Carbón (carbón for charcoal) the new taquería on Sebastopol Road you would find smoked and grilled meats, but no. “It’s just the name,” said co-owner Moisés Ramírez in the street best known for its large amount of Latino businesses.

Despite the deception behind the name, the tacos at Tacos al Carbón don’t disappoint. The magic behind the delicacy lays in its preparation and sauce seasoning, Ramírez said. They preserve a street-like quality with a plus of being in an indoor restaurant setting without the remorse of having to share your taco with a whimpering sidewalk dog awaiting for you to drop your taco meat.

“While we don’t grill them over charcoal, we put a lot of flavor in the tacos,” said Ramírez, who along with his business partner Jorge Rodríguez opened the restaurant in June.

As one of the waitresses placed a plate with two Labrador tacos on the table —which according to Ramirez it is one of their most sold specialties— each bite verified what he had briefly mentioned before we started talking: “The best ingredient is infused in our salsas, it’s what gives them the extra touch.”

Tacos Labrador en Tacos al Carbón. Ricardo Ibarra / La Prensa Sonoma

The Labrador tacos are made Oaxacan style with double tortilla, layered with grilled cheese, onions, cilantro, salsa and topped with meat, accompanied with beans, guacamole and onions with toasted chilies.

While the Labrador tacos are the most requested dish, Ramírez said, an order of the authentic tacos al Carbón have a unique flavor. They have a unique taste, with a tortilla passed over an enchilada-style sauce, stuffed with roasted meat, sprinkled with fresh cheese, sliced avocado and accompanied with pickled purple onions.

Tacos Al Carbón. Ricardo Ibarra / La Prensa Sonoma

Ramírez arrived to California in 2011 from his hometown in Oaxaca, with no culinary experience. “I barely knew how to make eggs,” he said. But since his first job as a dishwasher, he has aspired to learn everything he can related to the food industry in Northern California.

“It was my dream. I always saw myself having my own restaurant and I wanted to do something in this country. It took me a while, but we are achieving it,” said Ramirez, who began his days as a worker in Mi Pueblo in Novato and then in San Anselmo.

Ramírez said it was one of his cousin who guided him during his breaks at Mi Pueblo. One of his hobbies has been to improve on his salsa-making recipes that he was taught to make. After a few months he was making more than eggs.

Moisés Ramírez muestra uno de sus platillos en su restaurante recién abierto Tacos al Carbón. Ricardo Ibarra / La Prensa Sonoma

But it took more than 10 years for his culinary skills to be made into a business. Around 2012 he partnered with Cuauhtémoc Magaña with whom he managed Mi Tierra in Sebastopol Road and Stony Point, until the business was sold and they had to leave.

In 2016, he joined Rodríguez for the first time to renovate Taquería Cancún, also located on Sebastopol Road in the shopping center next to Dutton Avenue.

“We opened this place with both of our savings. We did not seek any support from banks. Our motto has been: put the effort in the food, flavor, and customer service so that clients leave satisfied and come back for more,” Ramírez said.

Tacos al Carbón is located at 500 Sebastopol Road almost corner with Dutton, next to Frozen Art Ice Cream shop. Besides tacos the menu includes Filete al Carbón, which is a grilled fish with shrimp, mushrooms and a special sauce. La Tampiqueña, which is a steak with shrimp, vegetables and an enchilada. Aguachile, and much more. For more information call 707-843-5966.

[Versión en español]

Noticias y eventos desde la región vinícola del norte de California para la comunidad latina.

Posted by La Prensa Sonoma on Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Reach La Prensa Sonoma’s Editor Ricardo Ibarra at 707-526-8501 or email ricardo.ibarra@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @ricardibarra.

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