Molcajete is a rare find indeed: a Mexican restaurant in Uptown Oakland with all of the homeyness and quirky charm of a Fruitvale hole-in-the-wall, but with pretty plating and an uncommonly light touch with even heaviest dishes. Here, refried beans are a deep, glistening black and as ethereally light as whipped hummus, and every plate comes with a little cabbage, dusted attractively with finely grated Cotija cheese. But where Molcajete shines is in its many different incarnations of masa — its corn tortillas, which are slightly larger than a silver-dollar pancake and wonderfully fragrant and light, but also its lesser-known specialties: the fluffy, slipper-shaped chancla (topped with a “salad” of cabbage, refried beans, and fried steak); the chicken-and-cheese-filled turnovers known as molotes tinga; and enmoladas — tender chicken enchiladas swimming in a pool of eminently smooth mole poblano.

— Luke Tsai


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