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Birrieria Diaz offers Mexican comfort food

Birrieria Diaz brings a true taste of Mexico to Bethany.
by Dave Cathey Published: September 11, 2012

They didn't spend a bunch of money on fancy tables or chairs, and the wait staff is all family and friends. Soft drinks come in cans or bottles imported from Mexico. Service is friendly and informative, prices are budget-friendly. The biggest investment the family has made is in flavor.

The birria they serve at their “birrieria” is served in either lamb or beef. It is served with an army of condiments, including red onions mixed with minced habanero, cilantro, fried and salted chiles de arbol, radish slices, white onions, and lime quarters. It also comes with two red salsas and one green. Birria is to be eaten with fresh, homemade corn tortillas — some steamed, some fried. You may order beans and rice, but then that would get in the way of how much birria you would have room for, which would be a shame. The birria is served in small, medium and large portions. It's hard to imagine taking any home regardless the size as sopping and picking are irresistible.

Since the restaurant opened, the menu has evolved. The Diaz family did eventually relent and start doing free queso, which Juan Jr. says is made fresh daily and never from a can. They also added street tacos, enchiladas, chile rellenos and tamales.

The enchiladas are not Tex-Mex, they are more in line with what you'd get if you ordered enchiladas in Mexico. They are rolled, which is a conceit more common here than there, but they do not come stuffed with melted cheese and onions and aren't covered in a flour-laden Texas chili derivative. They are stuffed instead with briny Queso Freso and onions and served with red or green sauce with no meat and topped with more crumbled Queso Fresco. I like them as a side to go with the birria. However, if you want to add beef or chicken, the Diaz family will happily do so. Tacos come in basic beef, and chicken but also offer the pork with red chile and pineapple tacos al pastor and offer more exotic fillings like lengua (tongue) and beef cheek.

Another specialty is the unique pozole (or posole if you wish), which is a pork and hominy stew. In New Mexico, red chile is the basis for the broth, but at Birrieria Diaz it is based on avocado. And it is spectacular.

I love eating at Birrieria Diaz because no two bites can be the same or every bite can be exactly the same. It is intrinsically family-style dining and ferociously authentic Mexican food. This is not to say I don't love some Tex-Mex. I will throw down on a combination plate or sizzling fajitas from Chuy's or the like pretty much whenever you're ready.

But sometimes I want food like Feline used to make, and that's when I go to Birrieria Diaz.

Birrieria Diaz is open daily, and now the family owns Jugo Xpress around the corner, which specializes in fresh fruit and smoothies. For more information, call 603-1304.

by Dave Cathey
Food Editor
The Oklahoman's food editor, Dave Cathey, keeps his eye on culinary arts and serves up news and reviews from Oklahoma’s booming food scene.
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