Restaurant Review: The Carnitas Plate @ Nopalito, San Francisco

Shred it yourself.

Among the hierarchy of pork, bacon may be the undisputed heavyweight champion, but carnitas will always be a top-ranked contender. If nothing else, carnitas excels in its elegant duality, offering the interior succulence of braised meat alongside the caramelized notes of a crispy, Maillard-encrusted exterior. In my mind, carnitas remains somewhat unique in this regard, although duck confit also boasts the same key attributes (to that end, both dishes are prepared in a similar manner, by slowly simmering the meat in its respective fat). Poultry aside, carnitas is a terrific expression of pork, and for those who wish to experience the simple beauty of lard-braised pork shoulder, the carnitas plate at Nopalito is exemplary in its execution. To Nopalito’s credit, the carnitas is not the only highlight on the menu, and as good as it is, it’s not always the obvious choice.

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