Cari Taylor-Carlson

El Cabrito Is The Real Thing

Authentic Mexican food with a mostly Spanish-speaking clientele and easy going atmosphere.

By - Mar 12th, 2023 04:22 pm
Taqueria El Cabrito. Photo taken Jan. 26, 2023 by Cari Taylor Carlson.

Taqueria El Cabrito. Photo by Cari Taylor Carlson.

If you walk into a packed restaurant at lunchtime and overhear everyone speaking Spanish, you can bet the food will be good. Taqueria El Cabrito is a spacious restaurant with two rooms, many tables, and more than a dozen booths. You’ll see families, locals grabbing a quick lunch, and very few gringos, like my companion and me.

As soon as we found the one free booth, a server arrived with a basket of thick flavorful chips and a dish of something spicy, more like a rich salsa than the typical pico de gallo. We could have dipped those chips and called it a light lunch, but there was the menu, an extensive multi-page tome that listed all the dishes we love from south of the border. After three lunches in this delightful taqueria, I can unconditionally recommend everything friends and I ordered.

And that includes something not on the regular menu, Champurrado. This was special, a drink served in a Styrofoam cup to keep it hot. It’s Mexican hot chocolate and it’s so much more than an ordinary hot chocolate. In addition to the main ingredient, the drink combined milk, cinnamon, vanilla, sugar, and to thicken it, corn flour. You won’t want to think about the calorie count in that 16 oz cup of thick cinnamon-flavored chocolate, just empty the cup and savor every delicious sip.

If you want a burrito gigante, look no further than the Burrito Suizo, a humongous flour tortilla filled with your meat of choice, cheese, and Mexican crema. From a list of 11 meat choices, including tongue, fried pork skins, and tripe, I ordered the traditional pork loin, or Loma. It was exceptionally tender, similar to pulled pork, and there was plenty of it, so much that I had decided to take half of it home, until I ate the whole thing.

The Pastor Burrito, filled with an equally generous portion of seasoned pork, included chopped lettuce, tomato and sour cream. The accompanying rice and beans also deserve a shout out. The rice was traditional; the chunky beans addictive.

You can have your tacos two ways at El Cabrito, in a flour tortilla, or in a corn tortilla which they refer to on the menu as Crispy. The tacos were double-fried, and yes, they were very crisp. There were 13 meats to choose from for the tacos including Birria or goat meat, Cecina, thin-cut steak, and Cabeza, beef head. My companion’s Carne Asada, marinated, grilled, and sliced steak, was tender, while the steak in his Cecina taco was slightly chewy.

Three enchiladas filled with chunky chicken and shredded cheese were coated with a tasty green sauce, just enough to flavor the tortillas and the filling. The chicken, like the Lomo, the Cecina, the Pastor, and the Carne Asada, was exceptionally tender, juicy, and tasted of its marinade.

The poblano peppers in the Chiles Rellenos were huge, filled with melted cheese, and covered with a dark rich red sauce reminiscent of a Mole Coloradito. The sweet peppers, the tangy red sauce, and the oozy cheese, made this a dish worthy of many kudos.

The Caldo De Pollo was unexpected. This was not your grandmother’s chicken soup. The broth filled a large bowl along with half a potato, green beans, half a zucchini, half an ear of corn, a large piece of squash, a whole chicken thigh, and a drumstick. This was a knife-and-fork soup served with tortillas and a plate of chopped cilantro, chopped onions, and several lime wedges. My companion took some rice from the side she had ordered, pulled chicken off the bone, sliced the squash, added the accoutrements and made tacos. We decided the chef must have cooked the whole bird — beak, head, and feet — to get the deep flavor we found in the broth. This was the real deal if you want an unusual bowl of chicken soup and something not often, if ever, found on local menus.

There was an easygoing vibe at the restaurant, a competence among the multiple servers who took care of our table. Each time I visited there were few or no empty tables yet no one appeared rushed, as if there were more than enough servers, not less, as is often the case, at least recently, in local restaurants.

Cabrito in Spanish means “young goat,” but don’t be fooled by the name. Yes, goat is on the menu, but there is so much more to like and it’s all good!

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