“A hidden back patio with a full bar and fire pit make this downtown Berkeley gem an ideal place to feast on guacamole, chips, and margaritas. Skillfully executed classics like tripe guisado, chicken tinga tacos, and chile colorado soup star on the menu, alongside large format dishes meant to share. And though the margaritas are excellent, look for more creative uses of mezcal and tequila on the cocktail menu.”
“With a compact menu of burritos, tacos and tortas, Comal Next Door is a more simplified and streamlined version of the flagship operation only feet away. At the new spot, instead of build-it-yourself burritos common to most taquerias, Comal Next Door’s menu has fully-formed options all priced around $9 to $12.”
Gandin adapts Oaxacan recipes to use a combination of more readily available ingredients, which include mulatto, ancho and cascabel chiles, seeds, nuts, dried fruits, plantains, vegetables and spices that are individually fried or toasted before being blended and slowly simmered. “I like to think that if someone were transported from Oaxaca and dropped at the local farmer’s market, that they might take a similar approach at Comal,” he says.
“First of all, the food is consistently excellent across the board. The sauces and salsas are authentic and rich, the enchiladas aren’t drowning in cheese, and the meatballs are the best Mexican take on them we’ve ever had. Everything is good to share, and some things are so good you may need to police people from taking more than their portion. Also, maybe stop being friends with that person if they try to eat all the ceviche. Sharing is caring.”
“In honor of Dia de los Muertos, the Berkeley eatery blossoms with hundreds of marigolds and hand-painted calavera window decorations. On the night of November 1, party into the night with DJ Jose Ruiz spinning a collection of “death-themed” Latin music.”