matador mom
Francisca Gutierrez cooking homemade tortillas.

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.”

matador mucio
Mucio Lucero, owner of El Matador Deli & Restaurant.

“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.)

matador guac
Guac beautifully served in a molcahete.

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!

This dish may soon be the tac-o the town.

El Matador Mexican Deli & Restaurant

Address: 258 Montgomery Street, Bloomfield

Phone: 973-748-1707

Hours: Tuesday-Friday 9:30-8pm, Saturday 10-8pm, Sunday 10-6pm, and closed on Monday


11 replies on “El Matador Mexican Deli & Restaurant: Authentic Poblano Cuisine”

  1. My husband and I had dinner here tonight. This is the most authentic Mexican food we had around here in Baristanet. We had the Tacos Dorados, Mexican Meatballs, Posole and the Menudo. Oh my, everything is so delicious we walked out of that restaurant with so much food to go, we cannot finish everything.
    We met Mucio and his mom Francisca they are so nice and friendly and very low key owners and businessman. We will surely go back and bring our friends over.

  2. Just came back from lunch there. Wow! Really (really) authentic Mexican food. So fresh. So flavorful! Their menu is small but nearly perfect! All I can say is get out of Montclair, go to Bloomfield and enjoy Real Food.

    There’s street parking (and yes, the neighborhood is safe).

  3. Was hoping the secret wouldn’t get out. I was lucky enough to check the place out on the afternoon they had their ribbon-cutting. To please the attendees, they had a table set up in the middle of the restaurant containing a little of everything they make to sample. It’s all super authentic. I’ve spent a lot of time in many different areas of Mexico and this is pretty much the same thing you would get at any locals restaurant. Their sandwiches are the bomb and incredibly filling, both the tortas as well as the cemitas. The tamales are off the chart. The chilaquiles are huge and spicy and the tacos are done the right way with just onions, celantro and excellently seasoned meat. I can’t wait to try the juevos rancheros as well. Best of all, they’ll make anything vegetarian that they can. They also have those awesome Mexican sodas with the exotic flavors (jarritos). There’s really little better than an apple soda with a sandwich. Their guac is pretty special too with homemade chips that are like thin toasted tortillas. The only thing they need now are some palapas.

  4. Having recently returned from Mexico where we got to eat REAL Mexican food, instead of what Americans think Mexican food should taste like, I am anxious to try this place.

  5. Tried to eat there Saturday night. Arrived just before six. All four tables were taken. Be advised that this place is VERY SMALL.

  6. I wanted to try their take-out on Saturday night and was told my order would take at least an hour to an hour and a half. For takeout? No thank you! Will try them out at an off-time for a sit-down meal.

  7. This sounds great, but are you sure that the guac was served in a MACHETE?
    I suspect you mean a molcajete.

  8. We were there on Saturday for lunch at 1:00 PM. Got the last open table. The owner was clearly overwhelmed and said it was because of the Baristanet article. We waited over an hour for guacamole and chips and an order of tacos. Wish them lots of luck, but they need to get more help. Maybe someone just to wait on tables. We probably won’t go back.

  9. This place is very nice. I had the Mexican meatballs for lunch recently. ¡Muy sabroso! Incredible corn tortillas, too.
    This place is small, however.

Comments are closed.