Classic Tables: Birrieria De Don Boni

This Boyle Heights institution has got our goat

If you catch the heady scent of birria de chivo–roasted chile-rubbed goat–while driving on Boyle Heights' main drag one morning, there is a fair chance you're near Birrieria de Don Boni, a Jalisco-style restaurant that serves goat all day, every day.

Actually, it's the only thing on the menu.

In 1974, Don Bonifacio Gonzàles and his wife, Doña Petra, opened Birrieria Jalisco in 1974 in a squat building on First Street. The dusty orange interior resembled an old-timey Southwest saloon. Forty years later, only the name has changed (in 2012 after the late Don Bonifacio). The goat is as delectable as always.

A single order of birria surtido ($11)–a mixture of rib, leg and back cuts cooked until they fall from the bone–comes with a fat stack of fresh tortillas and a cup of steaming goat consommé. Chopped onions, cilantro, lime wedges and a squeeze bottle of dark, tangy salsa are offered alongside.

You can order a large plate of goat for the whole familia ($28), or request la pistola, the goat's long foreshank, which can be eaten like a massive drumstick. The ritual remains the same: sip a bit of broth, fold the meat into soft tortillas and sprinkle with toppings. The goat is lean but rich, tamed into submission by a laundry list of spices and a long stay in the oven.

There's no beer–unless you choose to smuggle it in via paper bags–but the house-made horchata ($2), heavy with cinnamon, provides the requisite cooling effect. 

Did we mention it's a great hangover cure?