Restaurant of the Week: El Cantarito

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El Cantarito, 1190 E. Mission Blvd. (at Reservoir), Pomona

The folks behind Pomona’s Sabor Mexicano, about which I posted in 2011, have a second restaurant, El Cantarito. I’d been meaning to try it ever since the owners emailed to tell me about it, two years ago, but I kept forgetting the name and location. Recently, though, as I made dinner plans with a friend, this place came to mind while I was online, and I searched my email for the name and address. El Cantarito, here I come!

Sabor’s specialty is D.F. and Oaxacan food. El Cantarito focuses on seafood and goat. You might say, goat? But I’ve had it a time or two, a few years back, and had no compunction about ordering it again.

El Cantarito, across Mission from Golden Ox Burgers, is in an unassuming yellow building with two archways and a Spanish tile roof. And a nifty mural on the Reservoir side. Inside it looks like a former fast-food spot, with its fake brick walls, but you sit down to order. We got Mexican Cokes, birria seca and fajitas.

The fajitas, with beef, chicken and shrimp, plus peppers and onions ($14, below), were pronounced excellent by my friend, who said: “I think it’s one of the best things I’ve had in all our outings.” My birria seca ($8.50, bottom), or barbecued goat, was served dry, with lemons, cilantro and onions and a broth on the side. The rice and beans were blah, but the goat was great. The texture was like pulled pork, but the taste was deeper and smokier. As my friend put it, impressed, “It’s a lamb-ier version of lamb.”

Service was attentive and friendly. The menu had the usual Mexican staples and several shrimp dishes, although my initial plan of ordering a shrimp cocktail was foiled because they were out of shrimp that night. That was fine. I was happy to get my goat.

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  • Joanne Dallas

    I’ve only had goat in curry at Indian buffets. I must admit that I’m tentative about a whole meal of goat. I think of those odd goat eyes staring at petting zoos. I must snap out of this attitude since chicken eyes don’t haunt me.

    A new Mexican restaurant has opened in the old La Cita place in Montclair. Interesting and original way with enchiladas. They made a special taco for my vegetarian friend. It’s great to have personal recipes available. Definitely a mom and pop operation but very friendly.

    Also, a good word for Cafe Moderno which opened in the former Theo’s Cafe in Montclair. Happily, they kept the Original Theo’s Greek salad one the menu. Burgers, wraps, as well as dinner entrees. Near Mc Donald’s and Chipoltle on Central across from Montclair Plaza.

    • davidallen909

      Oh, I didn’t know Theo’s had closed. Cafe Moderno is a cool name, though!

      I passed the old La Cita the other day and realized it wasn’t what it had been.

      Have you tried Taco Man yet?

      Maybe it was at an Indian buffet that I first had goat. I know I’ve had it but can’t remember where.

  • Ramona

    Jugos naturales = natural juices
    naranja = orange
    zanahoria = carrot
    betabel = beetroot
    apio = celery
    vampiro = vampire !!! Maybe as a mixer for a Bloody Mary?

    • davidallen909

      Some of those I didn’t know. Fresa = strawberry, platano = banana, mamey = well, mamey (it’s its own thing).