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.