fresa’s chicken al carbon

I hadn’t eaten in a restaurant since mid-March but decided to venture out for a power lunch related to my day job. My lunch dates have been coming to Fresa’s on South First during the pandemic and assured me it was safe. Indeed, Fresa’s follows all the state and local rules with mask-wearing and social distancing and, with ample outdoor space, is a glorious place to eat. Even payment is non-contact.

The culinary spark for the meal was tacos (since I loves me some tacos), so that’s what I ordered while my compadres went with the bols. The Bride and I have enjopyed Fresa’s chicken at their original joint on Lamar back when we lived downtown, and it was rather wonderful. Walk-up only at that location, the fall-off-the-bone chicken came wrapped like a delicious Christmas present. The South First location is a traditional restaurant and offers up dishes with their chicken (among other proteins).

I dove into the namesake taco, La Fresa (pulled achiote chicken, guacamole, cabbage, grilled onion, cotija cheese, cilantro, corn tortilla; $4.5). As beautiful as your abuela’s tablecloth, I found it as fresh as a sunny spring day but with flavors too subtle unless dowsed in the accompanying avocado verde sauce, probably because this taco is meant to be healthy (must. have. grease.).

On s return the next day with The Bride in tow, I chose the Super Bol (pulled achiote chicken, tender kale, white rice, avocado, black beans, escabeche, pico de gallo, queso fresco with poblano ranch; $13) while the bride ordered the Classic Torta (pulled achiote chicken, guacamole, tomato, romaine, grilled onion, chipotle mayo on a bolillo roll; $10) with black bean puree (a potential vegan substitute for the chicken) added.

My previous day’s lunch partners knew what they were doing by ordering bols. Heavy with an ensemble of ingredients with a feisty poblano ranch as the conductor, each bite was a crescendo of texture and flavor. The torta was also mighty fine with a crunchy bun and soft chicken and beans. We thought we were going to bring half a torta home, but I needed another bite for research purposes, and suddenly–between the two of us–it was gone.

Fresa’s serves their chicken al carbon at the table as well, so we’ll need to return to re-try what made them famous. Given the hip, leafy canopy and the quirky normalcy of eating at a restaurant, a stop at Fresa’s for a reminder of a quaint pre-covid world may be worth the risk.

web&where: interwebs; 1703 south first; (512) 992-2946
what’s the deal? rotisserie-style chicken al carbon; table service
overall: ** (food**; drink*; atmosphere****; service***; instagrammability***)
cost: $$

our scale:
–          meh [think twice]
*         OK [it’ll get the job done]
**       good [solid neighborhood joint]
***     damn good [we’ll definitely be back]
****   yippity-yikes that was amazeballs [fantastic; one of the best]
***** holy sh!t [transcendental; best of the best] each $ = $10; cost is based on a typical dinner entrée and appetizer (no drinks)

each $ = $10; cost is based on a typical dinner entrée and appetizer (no drinks)

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