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Le Central Birrieria & Menuderia

Updated: Mar 10

In November 2022, San Diego's own Ed Fernandez Restaurant in Hollister made news as it was crowned The Best Taco Joint in America by Yelp. But this post is not about Ed Fernandez Restaurant. It's been a while since I've been there, but I would probably agree with this. You see, this restaurant is somewhat out of the way for me, and it is only open Wednesday to Sunday from 6am to 2pm. It is built under an apartment complex and parking isn't the best. It has lways been pretty busy. And as I mentioned in another post, I am parking adverse so if I can't find parking sometwhere within 5 minutes, I will go home 😂. During the tail end of the pandemic, it looked like the kept the dining area closed and were strictly takeout. On top of that, after winning the Yelp top spot, Ed Fernandez Restaurant became even more busy. I still plan to return there eventually but I have to plan ahead (mostly mentally).

Of what I remembered from the times I've been there, they have been absolutely fantastic. It's a familiy run business and they do make you feel like family. One of the brothers usually greets you in the dining room and they always shake your hand. Even when they are busy, they are a wekkk-oiled machine. Everyone was friendly. On my ealier visits, I failed to get the consome, which is usually essential for birria (it was my first time having birria). One of the brothers (could have been Ed), comes up woth a cup of consome and says "try this with it). Really nice touch. Aside from the fantastic birria, one of the main things i noticed about the restaurant was the exceptional hospitality.

Then I read that Ed's brother, Miguel, has branched off and built La Central Birrieria & Menuderia. It is pretty much a stones throw from Ed Fernandez Restaurant, just a few blocks away. A couple of years ago, Miguel sold his stake of the the Ed Fernandez Restaurant to his briother Jorge (middle brother Ed passed away a few years ago) so he could start his own restaurant. I'm not sure if the split was amicable or if it was a Taco El Gordo and Tacos El G situation ( the wife took the latter restaurant after the divorce). It seems that this situation seemed amicable.

Anyway, I wanted to try something new. My first visit there was last August. La Central is located in a strip mall and neighbors a few different stores.

The dining area is a nice size. Furniture is pretty new and well kept.

As you can see, there is still plenty of parking at around 7:30am. I'm sure Ed Fernandez is pretty busy at this time, but people may not realize these restarants are related, thus the food is probably pretty much the same.

Some tables have QRC codes for menu (as in my first visit) but my second visit did not. Here is the menu:

For the first visit, I chose the half order of the birria (non-tatemada) con nervio (tendon). I felt this was a good gateway to the restaurant.

It was a nice looking bowl. Came with lots of tortilla. Nice tender beef chunks. Usually I like beef marrow but they don't offer it, so tendon is the next best thing. It is like beef jello and gives a nice contrast to the texture of the beef. Now for the broth, to be honest, I was kind of disappointed. The spices were there and you can taste the chilis, but there wasn't enough salt. I had to reach for the salt a few time. Other than that it was a pretty good meal.

So this morning, on a whim, I decided to make a return trip to La Central. I was surfing on my iPad early in the morning and soething made me hungry and think of La Central, and it was early enough.

So this time, I decided to do the tacos (and choose different styles). Even though the menu doesn't specifically show con questo (with cheese) as an option, it actually is. For queso, there are two different styles: one with fresh hand made pressed tortillas and then the cheese is directly seared with one side of the tortilla, or with their regular tortilla and the cheese is melted over the torilla. I chose the latter. I picked the regular birria and birria con nervio, both con queso. I also order Taco El Commadante, which is a fresh press corn tortilla with melt cheese an tatemada (seared) birria, topped with an over-easy egg. And Consome.

A very nice looking spread

Cutting into the El Commadante egg (as the waitress was bringing the rest of the food)

Halfway through the El Commadante. Egg was cooked perfectly. The birria was nicely seared and the fresh corn tortilla was excellent. Would definitely get again.

On to the tacos.

A generous portion of meat. The tortilla was nicely fried on the flattop and had a nice light crush. It was pretty light, almost like a fired flour tortilla but was definitely corn.

The tendon in the Taco Con Nervio was really soft and wasn't chewy at all, as some tendon can be. It was like beef jello.

Made sure to get the consome to dip the tacos.


Now for the broth, it was much much better this time. I did not have to reach for the salt this time. The chili spice level was just right. Lots of beef flavor. It was a nice compliment of flavors when you dunk the tacos into it. I need to go back to Ed Fernandez to see how close the broth is.

They offer different items such as tortas, burritos, quesadilla, mulitas and menudo. There's also dessert like flan, cake and ice cream. I will eventually make my way through the whole menu

The owner Miguel came into the restaurant and went by a few tables and talked to the customers, who were most likely regulars that he recognized. He was busy doing owner/manager stuff, as he did back in the original restaurant.

As I went up to the register to pay, he was on the phone talking to someone and thought he'd have someone else ring me up, but he rang me up himself while talking on the phone, never skipping a beat. When everything was paid for, he still made time to shake my hand, as he always does with everyone, in this restaurant and the original Ed Fernandez. It's a nice touch and a testament of the service his family does for San Diego. I wish him all the success for his whole family, and both restaurants. I am alway rooting for the Mom and Pop shops. I will be back

La Central Birrieria & Menuderia

1290 Hollister St

San Diego, CA 92154

Wednesday - Sunday: 7am - 2pm

They have a truck too

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Funny, I just recently revisited Ed Fernandez for the first time since Covid!

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26 feb
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I'm seriously going to go the Ed Fenandez next weekend so I can compare 😂. It's been ages. Maybe like 2017

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