We’ve liked plenty about El Pueblo in North Oak Cliff. Three years ago, critic Brian Reinhart said the restaurant “has Mexican food so good, six enchiladas might not be enough.”
On a recent morning with shockingly cold temperatures (relatively), another dish offered wonderful comfort: chicken mole.
Whole pieces of chicken don’t take a long bath sitting in mole here. Instead, juicy, plump chicken — a breast and wing on our recent visit — get a generous pour of the mole, letting the strong flavor of the sauce marry the meat, not overwhelm it.
This deep red sauce leans spicy, a lovely direction from the sometimes-quite-sweet execution. But the backbone of the flavor still holds deep and rich, making every swipe of a corn tortilla through it seem like a treat.
El Pueblo remains cash-only and is offering its menu to go in Styrofoam takeout containers. A number of bags consistently flowed to and from the order counter on a recent Saturday.
Inside, every other table appears closed, with signage and chairs turned upside-down on top of them. If someone sits down anyway, staff quickly tells them to move. As diners get up, tables and seats are sanitized. They set rules here, and they make sure people follow them. While takeout and patio dining is still a preference for many of us, if dining in must happen, it at least feels better here.
Whether your mole comes out on a plate or steaming in a container, you’ll find this dish on Jefferson Boulevard is something you’re going to want more of, especially as the weather cools. Each bite feels like the kitchen took its time making the house-made sauce good enough to cover anything, especially properly cooked chicken.
El Pueblo, 525 E. Jefferson Blvd. (North Oak Cliff). Open for limited dine-in and takeout 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.