Muy autentico

Elier Victoro fries up some delicious pork bellies.

Elier Victoro fries up some delicious pork bellies.

Photo By David Robert

Carniceria Dos Amigos Deli

677 E. Moana Ln.
Reno, NV 89502

(775) 829-4499

A carniceria is a “butcher shop,” or more literally, if middle school Spanish still serves me, a “carnival of death.” Carniceria Dos Amigos Deli is a small, casual, sit-down restaurant decorated with a vivid and ridiculous mural of sea critters frolicking underwater. It’s attached at the hip to the actual carniceria, a mid-sized grocery and meat market. Sara and I were there right at 12:30 p.m. on a weekday, and it was fairly busy, most of the other patrons clearly on their lunch breaks, and all of them speaking Spanish.

Our waitress was very friendly and spoke cheerful English but haltingly and with a thick enough accent that I was tempted to try my tongue at español. But I was only able to remember one phrase: “Donde esta el baño?” Which I believe means, “Where is the bread?” So I’m sure English was the less embarrassing option.

The all-important salsa was impressive. You can taste the onion, tomato and cilantro and the spiciness sneaks up on you like a bandito in the night. I ordered the tres tacos dorados plate for $6.99, three fried tacos filled with thin, succulent strips of carne asada, with sour cream on top, served with rice and beans. A friend of mine claims that this place has the best tacos in town. My own such investigation has yet to be completed, and three tacos is insufficient data to be able to properly determine the precise ranking, but this place is certainly in the running.

We did make a couple of ordering mistakes: I got the combo platter with rice and beans when I all I really wanted was the tacos. It’s like buying the full-length album when all you really want is the hit single. (Of course nobody buys albums anymore so that reference probably makes no sense to younger readers and I’m sure reveals me to be an antiquated music nerd Luddite.)

My other big mistake was recommending that Sara try a torta, a Spanish sandwich served on a white bread roll. She ordered the torta con papas for $4.99. “Papas” is Spanish for french fries. She had her torta with chicken and said that it was “fine” but later lamented “I wish I’d had a taco.” I had a bite and thought it was good, with some tasty slivers of jalapeño.

After lunch, we took a minute to peek into the adjoining market and carniceria. The first thing we saw was a huge jar of pickled pork ears.

“I’m glad I didn’t notice that while we were still eating,” said Sara.

Had it been late enough in the day for the adventurous spirit to overcome me, I would have insisted on trying one, but as it is, that’s an escapade that will have to wait for another day. The market sells meats and produce, piñatas, hot sauces and other Mexican cuisine speciality items.

Our lunchtime stop was probably not enough to do this place justice. The menu has quite a bit to offer, including a lot of seafood (thus the maritime mural). Much of it is even cheaper than the Taco Bell in the same shopping center. Based on the small sample we had, it’s real good and muy autentico.