Today, El Carnicero (16918 Detroit Ave., 216-226-3415) officially opens its doors to the public. Located in the old McCarthy's Ale House in the West End neighborhood of Lakewood, the beefy 150-plus seat eatery spans multiple rooms, each with its own bar. The space features lucha libre (Mexican professional wrestling) paraphernalia that will be familiar to Momocho customers.
Chef-owner Eric Williams, also of Happy Dog, has debuted with a menu of bocaditas, tamales, taquitos, and antojitos. In other words, starters, tamales, tacos, sides and snacks. While there exists some overlapping themes and items, the menus of Momocho and El C are largely distinct.
"I wanted to capitalize on what we do at Momocho without hurting it or watering it down," Williams explains. "I want to showcase the Mexican cuisine that I'm known for and love but serve different foods that we don’t serve at Momocho."
The meat of the menu is devoted to the tamales and tacos. Unlike the stuffed tamales found elsewhere, these are large, housemade portions of steamed cornmeal dough topped with one's meat (or veg) of choice. Prices range from $12 to $15 for a pair of tamales topped with things like ancho-braised brisket, adobo-braised pork, beer-braised lamb and wild mushroom.
Many of the very same toppers are served alongside a container of small, warm corn tortillas for the taquitos. A few items like shrimp Veracruz, chile-glazed salmon and grilled steak are taco-only options. Prices range from $11 to $14 and include a pair of housemade salsas.
Meals start with chips and salsa or guacamole, of which there are four different varieties. There is no sampler option. For the sides and snacks, diners can tack on orders of pickled veggies, borracho beans, empanadas, jicama salad and others.
As one might expect, there's a massive tequila list, a concise beer list, and eight margaritas. A sampler of three is available for $14.
El C is open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday, and lunch on the weekends.