Thursday Food: Rosticeria y Cocina El Paisano

LOCATION:  El Paisano is located at 9629 -15th Ave. SW, Seattle 98106  They are just off the intersection of 15th Ave. SW and Roxbury (across the street from Bartell Drugs).

Phone:  (206) 767-5526

They accept credit/debit cards.

I really have not been writing enough for this blog. I can blame it on a lot of things; life, my new business, lack of sleep, the snow, etc, etc. Really it is just that I am a little lazy. I have to eat though. Actually I love to eat, and most of the time that I do it is in walking distance of my shop, which is most of White Center. So, I decided to start blogging about my lunches on Thursdays. This is my afternoon off. I go shopping, play with the dogs, and get ready for the weekend rush. Not really a day off, but a bit more relaxed then the other days.

First up is Rosticeria y Cocina El Paisano. I go here a lot. It is not the closest Mexican place. Not even the cheapest. It is one of the best though, and reminds me of home.  Consistently good. I know when they set a plate of food in front of me, no matter what I have ordered, the food is going to be good. That is almost the definition of comfort food.

The area I grew up in LA was predominantly Mexican, and poor. MY parents, and I swear this is true, would open up a paper when it was time for a new apartment, and just pick the cheapest place. We lived in Compton, Silver lake, Echo Park (before it was trendy), Santa Ana, even when we moved to Huntington Beach it was in the Hispanic area that was known as Slater Slums. In all those neighborhoods I became familiar with Rosticerias, even if it was an EL Pollo Loco. See, my parents are from the midwest, and if is anything they know well, it is their way around a yard bird and pork. We ate at all of the local chicken joints. Cesars on Atlantic and 65, Pablo’s on Alameda, Pollo Macho on  Wilshire, even Rosco’s ( which is not Mexican, but makes a mean fried chicken and waffle platter). When I first moved to Seattle, one of the things I missed most was Mexican food. I craved El Pollo Loco,  the bottom of the barrel in LA. Mama’s in Belltown, and Bimbo’s on the hill is crap food. Not just not authentic, just crap food. I was amazed when I found White Center. So much good food, in one little area, and the rest of Seattle had no idea it even existed. Rosticeria y Cocina El Paisano is the best in chicken. It is owned by the butcher shop two doors down. Sure, the carnitas is better at Del Rio. I can get an equal burrito at the bus for less. As far as chicken goes, Paisano is king.

Marinated in an adobe chili mix, and then flame roasted. Crsipy skin, and a juicy bird. The sides are simple, and plentiful. Rice, beans and a simple salad. Shining right next to that crispy bird is the house made salsas. Most Mexican places in Seattle seem to have a can opener as their main tool is salsa prep. Not these guys. I have become leery of Salsa Verde since moving to Seattle, but Paisano’s have nailed it. Flamed roasted tomatillos and just the right amount of chili heat from the peppers to compliment the food. They are now serving Breakfast as well as lunch and dinner, so the next time you venture out to eat, stop by this place.

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13 Responses to “Thursday Food: Rosticeria y Cocina El Paisano”

  1. Address???

  2. I blogged on this place in an early entry, so I am glad to see Justin give El Paisano very well deserved praise. The chicken is not only the best anywhere (and I mean anywhere) it is remarkably low priced. Their tortillas are handmade and the salsas are completely authentic. This place ranks with any restaurant in Seattle (never mind our hive of wonderful eateries here in White Center). Cheers!

  3. Hmmm, I’ll have to give this joint another shot. First time there I got the goat, mmmmmm, it was good… Second time I tried their steak burrito and didn’t like it at all as far as burritos are concerned. Didn’t taste right… and it had friggin lettuce in it.

    But I’m willing to go back and try other things. I did like their refried beans as well. Lots of lard….

    And I’ll have to try Del Rio…

  4. Somehow I missed Ricardo’s early mention. Sounds like a must-try … we just don’t have enough good roasted chicken around here. Crosslinking this to WSB – food news is always a hot topic, pun only semi-intended.

  5. thanks for mentioning the lard in the beans.. i’ll avoid those…

    but Justin hasn’t steered me wrong yet when it comes to food so i am eagerly anticipating our first visit…

  6. God, my mouth is watering just reading this! Will have to try it.

    I used to like Bimbo’s when I lived two blocks away from it and could get tacos for around a dollar apiece (this was in 1996). Not only do I not live on the Hill anymore, but the last few times I went there I wasn’t impressed. Not sure if my taste has improved or the place really has gone that far downhill.

  7. I too grew up in LA (East LA) and have really missed Pollo Loco and all the other great chicken places. I will definately try this place as soon as I can! Thanks for the info.

  8. Rosticeria y Cocina el Paisano 9615 15th Ave. S.W., 763-0368. WHITE CENTER. Open for lunch and dinner daily.

    There food is the best I have every had they also have a butcher shop next door.Same owners

    I know that I have ordered a burrito there and they are excellet, I dont like Sourcream in my burrito so I request it no to be in it, the people that work there are so nice, there servings are large enough for 2 people for the price it is not bad at all. Have you tried there veagtable beef soups? Wow it is out of this world ,Just like my grandmother makes it in Mexico .

  9. Yup – I remember Ricardo’s post about burritos- it was one of the first posts on WCN as I recall – about August 10. So, I’ll just cut n paste my previous comment there as there really is nothing more I could add.

    From August 11:

    El Paisano is TERRIFIC! The kids behind the counter are sweet and smart; the whole family is warm and embraceable, to be sure.

    And, I will chime in with Ricardo’s testament to the quality of the meat used. The succulent, sweet pork on my fresh $1.50 carnita was ample enough to constitute a full meal! There are few things as wholesome and nourishing, to me, as a simply seasoned, fresh pot of slow-cooked pinto beans. The unctuous broth soothes souls, I think. El Paisano knows the soul’s needs: pinto beans so undeniably, irresistibly fresh, they snapped when bitten into. Oh, that is some very good, simple eating.

    They roast a beautiful chicken, as well. The genius is that they are Not overly salted, as is so common. A beautiful, lightly crackled skin remains over moist meat, perfectly tendered. They can be bought whole, as well as a 1/4 and 1/2 chicken meal with beans (whole or refried – BOTH fresh, however!) and rice.

    I love this little place, the people and, yes, the poultry! It’s all so very good.

  10. Paisano’s is the main reason I am a failure as a vegetarian.

  11. soclwrkrinmotn Says:

    Ah, yes. My fave place for lunch…I work right across the way. (Sure you can guess)

    Could we have lived in the same places in the 80s? I miss the old Silver Lake, and the old pre-trendy Cadillac Ave? Pico and Sepulveda?

    Man, you make me homesick, and this is the same reason I came to White Center…

  12. We read this post an hour ago, right around dinner time and out the door we went! We live pretty close and frequently go to the butcher shop two doors down for homemade tamales and salsa. We both got their quarter chicken dinner….WOW. Thank you WSB for this find! The chicken was perfect…moist and tender, and so flavorful. It came alongside beans that had queso cheese on top, (yum) rice, salad, and our choice of flour or corn tortillas. A trio of our favorite salsas and chips also arrived at our table before the meal. The service was exceptional, meal amazing, and our bill for all of this? $12.95. Incredible. Go. Now.

  13. Ok my husband and I went here as part of our tour of Mexican places in White Center. The chicken itself was very good. Husband had camarones (shrimp) with ajo (garlic, lots and lots of garlic) which was quite spicy but also good. Aguas frescas–”fresh waters” or the Mexican version of Kool-aid, were pretty authentic. We had strawberry and the usual horchata. The rice and beans failed me though.

    I lived in Oaxaca, Mexico for a few months and traveled around southern/mid-Mexico for a bit. I also lived in San Diego as a kid and again in college for my first year, so I understand the So Cal taco shop thing. But I will say this: the food of Northern Mexico does not compare to the food of southern Mexico. It is blander, more salty, less complex, and less creative. While I lived and traveled in Mexico I did not eat, or see, a single pinto bean. They were all black beans, and they were never “refried”, they were whole. I also didn’t see a single nacho or burrito. Lots of tacos, moles, squash blossoms, tlayudas (kind of like a huge taco, but only kind of), stews, soups, etc.

    There are four places in Seattle that really match the kind of food I ate in my host family’s and friends’ homes and on the streets of Mexico, and sadly only one of them is in White Center. The two best happen to be in Ballard, of all places. “Senor Moose” (I know it sounds really dumb, but it’s true) has the best variety and some of the best Mexican food I have had outside of Mexico. “La Carta de Oaxaca” is Oaxacan food, and yes it tastes just like my Mexican mom made. The portions are quite small compared to what you get at other Mexican places, but it’s real, people. It’s real. Downtown there is a little place on Cherry called “El Sabor de Oaxaca”. While their tacos and burritos are only so-so, they have tlayudas and tortas to die for. And, they have chapulines, the little toasted grasshoppers that Oaxacans sprinkle on their food (you have to ask for those and the people behind the counter will be delighted you did.)

    While I like del Rio and Tacos Guyamas in White Center, the most authentic place, for me, is that little roasted corn stand on the corner of 15th and 98th, in the parking lot of the Sam-Way and Sam Plus. Roasted corn on a stick or cut off the cob in a cup, with butter, mayonnaise, and chile. Yes. Late night street snack in Mexico. Now, if I can just find some guy to come around on the street with a broiler full of roasted bananas that he serves with cream and crunchy sugar crystals…