Birrieria Diaz: a special restaurant and a special dish
Since I work in the Bethany area, I am thrilled to see Birrieria Diaz bringing something quite unique to the downtown Bethany area. The brightly-colored exterior of the building is enough to get your attention and the claim of “Homemade Corn Tortillas” painted on the window solidified the deal for me. I knew I had to check them out as soon as they opened. Since that time, I’ve been back often. Birrieria Diaz has become a part of my regular rotation.
First off, let’s clarify one thing — Birrieria Diaz is not Tex-Mex or Okla-Mex. What I mean by that is they don’t serve rice and beans and flour tortillas with everything. It’s important to set that expectation up front because I know this can be quite a surprise when comparing places like this to most other Mexican food restaurants in town. So, set those expectations aside and prepare for something different when you visit the Birrieria.
On my first visit, I was immediately won over by the fantastic salsa. It’s complimentary and served with a fresh basket of chips the moment you sit down. I would describe it as a red/green mix and I would go so far as to claim it’s some of the best I’ve ever tasted. Now, on my second return, it was a little watery, but on every visit since then it has been back to its original deliciousness.
When you’re deciding what to order it really comes down to this — you can go with the specialty of the house (the Birria) or you can get something else. Now, most everything I’ve tried here has been good, but when your whole restaurant is named for one particular dish and that dish is printed by itself on the front page of the menu, I’d say that’s a strong hint that the Birria is the best place to start.
Ask Tim about the Birria and he’ll tell you it “makes me glad I started a website like EatAroundOKC so I can tell people about things like this.” It really is something everyone should try. When I asked Juan, our server and the son of the owner, what I should order, I’m glad he pretty much insisted I try the Birria.
So, what is it? Well, it’s slow-cooked meat covered in a delicious, thick and spicy tomato broth, served with homemade corn tortillas and a whole bunch of other condiments — all for $5! You can get it made with either sheep or beef (this may be the only place I’ve ever seen “sheep” listed on a menu). Now, if you ask the Diaz family, they’ll tell you the only reason they offer it with beef is for those who might object to the sheep. The first time I went I chose the beef, but tried the sheep shortly thereafter and, I must say — I’m a believer. I’ll be sticking with the sheep from now on. If your first inclination is to shy away from sheep meat, I encourage you to give it a try here. I doubt you’ll be disappointed.
Once you order the Birria, the condiments I mentioned above arrive first. There are six or seven of them in small serving dishes including fresh-cut cilantro, limes, roasted and salted hot peppers, white onion, purple onion with chopped habanero bits, and radishes (see a pic). The homemade corn tortillas are served in a basket with some of them heavily charred and crispy and others warm and soft (see a pic). This is a great touch to give some tortilla options, I think.
I chose to fill my first tortilla with meat, onions and the roasted peppers. I should have tested the heat of the peppers before I took a big bite because the heat rose from my stomach to the top of my head in about five seconds. After two glasses of iced tea, I was able to commence eating the rest of the Birria. It is important to note that most things at Birrieria Diaz have a bit of heat to them.
All of this — the chips, salsa, Birria, tortillas and condiments — can be yours for just $5.00, making this a pretty amazing value. The Birria actually comes in three sizes — small ($5.00 – see a pic), medium ($7.00), and large ($9.00). The small is plenty for an individual. I’ve even met some who split the small size.
Once you’ve tried the Birria, I think it’s fair to move on and explore the rest of their menu. We’ve ordered or been with people who have ordered the chicken enchiladas with green sauce ($6.99), the chicken burrito (4.50), the tamales ($6.99 – see a pic) and more. We even met up with former EatAroundOKC contributors Greg and Sam for lunch once. Sam had a selection of five tacos ($1.60 each – see a pic), which he didn’t think were as good as some of the other Taquerias in town, but I’ve personally enjoyed everything I’ve had. They also have a breakfast menu and they are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week.
The Diaz family moved here not long ago from California and their family recipes make Birrieria a very nice find in downtown Bethany. Juan, the oldest son, has a nice command of the dining area, while making sure each guest gets a special touch. He has most often been my server and my point man for information.
Bethany residents should rejoice to have this local treasure so close to home, and all OKC residents should consider giving Birrieria Diaz a try. It’s definitely worth your attention.
Have you been to Birrieria Diaz? Tell us what you think in the comments below.
Get more information and see more photos on the EatAroundOKC Restaurant Listing for Birrieria Diaz.