Francisca Gutierrez’s long held dream of running a kitchen turning out “platos tipicos” of her native Puebla, Mexico, has finally come true.
Her son, Mucio Lucero, recently opened El Matador Deli & Restaurant in Bloomfield, and Gutierrez is the experienced cocinera in charge.
The business is truly a family affair. Lucero’s sister and her husband also help out in the kitchen, and El Matador sells jars of his dad, Crescencio’s, “Mole El Costeño Sauce.”
“Mom–who has more than 50 years of experience cooking authentic Poblano dishes–always wanted to open a restaurant. And dad has had his own mole business for years,” says Lucero. “So we merged the two ideas and opened El Matador.”
Lucero says the crisp tacos dorados, pupusa-like sopes, tostadas, and chilaquiles are among the restaurant’s most popular entrees.
But before you decide on your order, be sure to ask him about El Matador’s “Special of the Day.” Intriguing dishes offered recently include oxtail soup, BBQ goat tacos, stuffed poblano peppers, ribs in red adobo sauce, menudo, and spicy beef stew (a.k.a. hangover soup.)
I’m an admitted guacaholic, so my favorite items are the homemade tortilla chips and lemony guacamole. It’s created fresh to order, and served in a beautiful molcahete. The mole tamales are also divine. The texture of the corn masa is spot on: not too sticky nor crumbly. And the balance of aromatic flavors in the mole–cinnamon, chocolate, and three different types of peppers–is perfect.
I plan to return soon to try El Matador’s cemitas (Mexican sandwiches), huaraches, and chocolate caliente–featuring slightly spicy Ibarra Mexican chocolate.
At El Matador, the food is tasty, the service is friendly, the atmosphere is festive, and the prices are inexpensive. There’s parking available, and Lucero says they plan to offer free delivery “very soon.” !Olé!
El Matador Mexican Deli & Restaurant
Address: 258 Montgomery Street, Bloomfield
Hours: Tuesday-Friday 9:30-8pm, Saturday 10-8pm, Sunday 10-6pm, and closed on Monday