Viva Las Lenguas at The Coal Chute Cafe & Pub
Taco Tuesday this week at The Coal Chute offered something a little tongue in cheek.
This week The Coal Chute Cafe and Pub was offering a new item to their already bursting taco menu - Beef Tacos de Lengua. Which, for the uninitiated, is beef tongue. Cow tongue is eaten all over the world and was even eaten predominantly in the United States until the 1950s, when it lost favor (but not flavor). Most people can't get over the fact that it's not a standard cut of meat, and most can't get over the fact that you have to skin it. And it's a big tongue.
Since it is a big beefy muscle, preparation is key - it needs to be braised for a long period of time to lose its chewy texture. Done right, it is a tender cut of meat. How did The Coal Chute fare, let's find out!
We ordered a variety of tacos including Wild Cod, Orange Habanero Carnitas, Ground Beef and, of course, Lengua! (Other options include Carne Asada, Shrimp, Shredded Chicken and Black Beans.) In addition, we sampled their house-made rice and beans as well as some margaritas. Because, Taco Tuesday!!
Greeting us at the table was a basket of chips and pico de gallo to snack on while we waited. In spite of it being incredibly busy that night, service was relatively snappy (which has been a challenge for them in the past). Parking, on the other hand, was rather difficult but nothing that a trip around the block (and the temptation to park in Aaron and Danielle's driveway) didn't easily remedy. Anyway, I digress. Back to the food!
The pico de gallo was very mild and could use some flavor enhancement. Nothing that a little salt and pepper and Cholula green pepper sauce didn't easily fix up. We both would have appreciated a little more base spice. The classic margaritas were very good, pleasantly lacking the sicky sweetness most places serve and definitely staying true to the classic in classic margaritas.
The Grilled Wild Cod was marinated in house blend spices and served with shredded cabbage, cotija cheese, radish, cilantro and a cumin flavored cream sauce. It had a great flavor and good texture crunch, my only complaint was that it was rather cold. The Orange Habanero Carnitas was pork braised in orange juice with habaneros, garlic and sea salt served with shredded cheese blend, cilantro, radish and a cream sauce. It was just the right level of spiciness and very good. I would definitely order these again. The Ground Beef was cooked in house blend spices and topped with cheese, radish, guacamole and a cream sauce. It was a great classic beef taco and one of the better ones around town.
But what about La Lengua?! Served with shredded cheese, pico de gallo, cilantro, guacamole and a cream sauce, it was a an incredibly well flavored lengua. ¡Super tasty! As for the texture, it still had a bit of that chewy texture that people tend to not like when it comes to meat. Hunky meats like tongue can stand up to an incredibly long braising time that results in a melt in your mouth texture. It's happiest when braised for at least a six hour cook time or less if paired with something acidic like vinegar to break down the protein, essentially denaturing or "unwinding" the long proteins in the muscle. But enough kitchen science! For their first week out serving lengua, it's definitely something to try.
Rounding things out for Taco Tuesday, the rice and beans consisted of a classic version of Spanish rice, which was mild and thankfully not overcooked. The house made beans were also very good and well seasoned, which complemented the rice. Did you notice a theme here? Everything was classically prepared and very good.
All in all, if you're looking for a ton of options for Taco Tuesday (not dissimilar to their coal cart of cheesecakes) and some of the best tacos around, get in line at The Coal Chute on Tuesdays. And, be sure to try out the tongue!
$3 per taco
$3 for House-made Rice & Beans
$6 for House-made guacamole
719 S 1st St, Roslyn, WA 98941