the spot: The Goat Mafia 625 N. Alvarado St Los Angeles CA
the eats: Goat tacos(birria and cabrito)
the bucks: $2
the full nelson: goat tacos dressed like they were served at a top tier restaurant. And for $2 a pop.
Tacos can be delicious in so many ways. They can be authentic street renditions that make you feel like Anthony Bourdain traipsing through Mexico City. They can be horribly Americanized, served in a crunchy shell filled with ground beef, shredded lettuce and cheese and still draw deep admiration from a loyal base(gringo and Latino alike). They can be fancy/pricey and still satisfy the soul because meat and tortilla fill the belly at any price point.
In the case of The Goat Mafia, expect a combo of authentic and fancy, though far from pricey. And really fancy just means these tacos are served with no add ons necessary. Like Albacore sushi that comes to your plate soaked in ponzu, you don’t need to add a damn thing to this perfectly adorned Cabrito Taco:
The ingredients list for this taco reads like a voice over from Chef’s Table. The salsa is made from charred Arbol chiles that simmer for hours with garlic and oil over a gentle heat. Persian cucumbers are pickled with lime juice and sea salt imported from Colima, Mexico. Oh and why not throw in some onion and cilantro just to keep it real.
Birria de Res(beef) has been the rage in LA for a minute now, but it all started with goat. This is where Goat Mafia offers you a taco you can’t refuse. Goat excels in birria, where the chile broth pairs well while tenderizing and taming the gamey taste of goat. It is a magical transformation that should win over even the most timid of eaters. Expect even more magic at The Goat Mafia where goat simmers in Mexican chocolate, cinnamon, oranges plus a whole myriad of spices I’m not going to go into because you probably got the point already.
The spot overall is as righteous as the fare with an old school Street Fighter 2 arcade machine anchoring a corner of a cool mixed use space. These tacos are as legit as ones you would find in a backyard pop up in South LA or on a corner with a pair of kicks hanging off a telephone wire. And they fit a taco narrative in Los Angeles that has seen what is possible in a tortilla thanks to pioneers like Wes Avila/Guerilla Tacos. My fav part, beyond the ridiculously affordable price($2 a pop) are the fellas making the goat magic.
My new go to Goat spot in LA are run by two cool dudes working on their own taco start up dream. Goat Mafia recently made the jump from street pop up in Compton CA to brick and mortar in Echo Park. Like the Jeffersons did in the 70s, these guys are moving on up. This is remarkable delicious fare pulled off with a fine balance of technique and a sense of authenticity. And they are cool AF too.
Go get yourself some goat tacos from The Goat Mafia, at $2 a pop, you can’t afford not to.