Fresh from the roasting spit at this north side gathering spot, Esperanza’s tender baby goat falls apart at the touch of your fork. Fill hot, fresh corn tortillas with generous shreds of meat and dab them with the restaurant’s nubby, dark-orange salsa.
If you can’t make it to west Houston’s rough-edged El Hidalguense on weekends for the city’s best cabrito—cooked authentically on a spit over an open flame—then try this classic dish the next best way: served steaming from graceful banana leaves at fashionable Hugo’s. Here, the succulent meat is shredded and served with a fiercely hot habanero salsa, a cool and vinegary nopalito salad, and a smidgen of buttery-smooth guacamole. Equally delicious but earthier is the mesquite-grilled whole leg of tender, milk-fed cabrito served with sautéed onions at Houston’s first Cadillac Bar, on Shepherd, which boasts customers’ doodles on its walls and red wooden chairs.
Who would have imagined that a seafood restaurant would have excellent cabrito? Laid-back El Siete Mares, with its glittery fish mosaics on one wall, does the best, juiciest kid in a cabrito-savvy city. Go figure. Wonderfully flavorful but not at all gamy, the succulent chunks of young goat at El Jarro de Arturo come on a platter with strips of poblano, red bell pepper, and onion; the entire contents of a tile factory appear to have been used in decorating the restaurant’s gracious interconnecting rooms. Tender and lean—and served in soft corn tortillas—the steamed cabrito at El Mirador needs only a few spoonfuls of the excellent table salsa to be first-rate; even though the small dining room is hung with formal still-life prints, it is casual and easygoing.
See the Directorio for directions to any of these restaurants.