I had a little holiday get together with some girlfriends last week and chose this restaurant after I read that they have a special Pigalito menu, but only on Tuesdays. When Chef Thomas Peña visited a free-range Iowa pig farm, he was inspired to devote one day a week where he slow-roasts half a Niman Ranch hog and then the meat is used in street food fare like carnitas, tortas, and gorditas. Whoops, our reservation was for Weds., so missed out on Pigalito, but we enjoyed several renditions of pork that satisfied my cravings and well, there’s always next time… The restaurant is intimate and has been designed to encourage community between the kitchen and the guests. The kitchen is inviting and open, separated by a simple wooden diner counter
The interior has brightly painted walls that are filled with mesmerizing artwork by local artist Julian Faulkner. We sat under this series of bugs that totally captivated me.
Regalito offers the flavors of Mexican market foods composed with roasted pork made from Niman Ranch hogs, range free rotisserie chicken, authentic moles, margaritas, sangria and an expansive wine list. It’s a different kind of local taqueria, having earned a recommended rating in the MICHELIN Guide San Francisco, AND they deliver! *sigh* I do think about changing my address when I visit these neighborhood gems and compare them to the delivery options I have in San Leandro… I had to order the Chicharrón when I saw it on the menu. The plate held a combination of the airy fairy crackly pieces of fried skin and thick chunks of fried pork belly that rivaled the ones from La Palma Mexicatessan that I swooned about here. Two of our party declined to partake in this highly caloric indulgence, so it was up to Debbie G and me to finish up the plate… and I got to eat all of the crispity pork rinds!
We went through a couple of baskets of their awesomely fresh and toothsome corn tortillas, which we wrapped around the magnificently rich nuggets of chicharron along with some pickled jalapenos and carrots and spicy pico de gallo that came on the plate. The pork was tender and consisted of rich pockets of pork custard that nestled in between layers of luscious meat, surrounded by the crisp and flavorful crust that can only be developed in the deep fryer.
Debbie G proclaimed that she has been on a Mole kick recently and really wanted to try the Mole Negro ($19), a mountain of tender pork ribs slathered with dark, rich Oaxacan mole. The thick sauce is complex, made with chiles, nuts, fruit and spices, and includes Mexican chocolate. It is lip smacking good; multi layered, spicy and intense, infusing the fall-off-the-bone tender ribs.
I ordered the Enpanadas de Chicharron ($12) which were three large corn masa turnovers stuffed with savory ground pork and salsa verde. They were served with black beans, a light drizzle of crema and garnished with bright fresh pico de gallo. The corn masa had a surprisingly firm and crispy crust, I think they were fried as well, but tender and flakey inside.
We shared the Taquitos made with Chicken and Potato with Cheese ($9.5). Rolled tortillas filled with chicken or potato and cheese, fried crisp and topped with salsa fresca, queso fresco, crema and cilantro.
Someone wanted a side of vegetables so we went with the seasonal Brussel Sprouts ($6)
Libby was drawn to the Tinga de Pollo ($17) which was a mound of tender shredded free-range chicken in chipotle sauce, served with rice and avocado salsa. This was spicy and set my ultra sensitive heat sensors ajangle, but in a very positive way.
The fluffy side of rice was savory and addictive both plain and garnished with the mouth watering sauces.
We enjoyed our meal and had a delightful time! Chef Peña combines traditional cooking methods with a modern commitment to quality, organic and seasonal ingredients in a cozy neighborhood location that compels you to return. I know I’m going back for that lovely rice, and Pigolito Tuesday and am always looking to find new brunch options…
Brunch: Saturday & Sunday, 11am – 3pm
Lunch: Saturday & Sunday, 11am – 5pm
Dinner: Mon – Sat, 5pm – 10pm; Sunday, 5pm – 9pm