Is El Chingon a "bad ass" -- or the "best of the best"?
Names have been making headlines lately, thanks to the debate over the Washington Redskins. This week I'm reviewing a restaurant that sparked a controversy of its own. No, it isn't Pinche Taqueria, with a name so vulgar -- it translates to "fucking" -- that the owners aren't allowed to put it on signage, which is why the signs for those two locations trumpet "Tacos, tequila, whiskey" instead. It also isn't Los Chingones, Troy Guard's taqueria known for such wild fillings as camel, octopus and antelope. No, this week, my review is of El Chingon, whose name, like that of Guard's place, basically means "bad ass." But that's not what the family that owns the place was going for when they chose the moniker.
"Traditionally in Mexico, [el chignon] means 'the best of the best,'" says David Lopez, executive chef at El Chingon and grandson of Gloria Nunez, who shares the executive chef title at the spot owned by her son.
We can only hope to be as productive as she is when we're in our seventies, holding down a professional kitchen and turning out 25 gallons of salsa a week. But does the Mexican restaurant, which reopened in December after a lengthy closure during its move from Arvada to the Berkeley neighborhood, live up to its controversial name? Is it the best of the best -- or just a bad ass? Find our when my review is posted here tomorrow.
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