Get to know birria, Mexican specialty of the moment in the Vegas Valley

Los Arcos does birria so well, it’s right in the restaurant’s extended name.
Photo: Wade Vandervort

Every year, a new food craze seems to take over Las Vegas. Right now it’s birria, a savory Mexican stew traditionally made of shredded goat meat. That’s not to suggest birria is a passing fad. In some parts of Mexico, birrierias are as common as McDonald’s, and they’re also huge in LA and throughout the Southwest. We headed to three birria joints to find the best goat and beef stew tacos, perfect for this fall weather.

Los Arcos Birrieria y Taco Shop

The most traditional birrieria of the three, Los Arcos packs some serious bang for your buck. The menu is simple: Choose from an assortment of tacos like pollo asado and lengua ($2-$3.75), and of course, birria, which can be made with either goat or beef ($3-$3.75). The goat is mild, and both versions melt in your mouth. The birria tacos come with a side of consommé, the rich broth in which the meat is cooked. 2201 S. Maryland Parkway, 702-815-5722.

Carnitas Y Tortas Ahogadas Guadalajara 2

Located across from Dino’s Downtown in the old Super Burrito spot, this place specializes in pork, but its goat game is on point, too. Here, it’s cut thick, almost like tri-tip, and has a very strong flavor. The tacos ($3.25 each) find the protein folded inside a grilled and seasoned corn tortilla and served with red onions. Dress yours up with red or green sauce and order an agua fresca for a complete meal. 1601 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 702-818-4771.

664 TJ Birrieria

If you prefer beef to goat, TJ is your spot, since it only serves beef birria. The meat is stewed to perfection, with just the right amount of spice and tanginess. Order the quesabirria ($3.90)—essentially a taco with melted cheese—or the tostabirria con queso ($4.50), which packs birria and cheese between two flattened and toasted corn tortillas. The regular birria tacos ($3) are equally delicious. Order a cup of consommé ($2) for maximum dippage. 3061 Las Vegas Blvd. S. #1A, 702-795-0199.

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Leslie Ventura is a staff writer at Las Vegas Weekly and Industry Weekly. She’s picked the brains of rock stars ...

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