caldo de res, Tio Luis

Ever since the Trib boldly declared the tacos at Brighton Park’s Tio Luis the best in town six years ago, the compact but always packed neighborhood restaurant has been known for one thing. Apart from those and the occasional mention of its worthy carne en su jugo, there hasn’t been much published intel about the rest of the broad menu of antojitos, platillos, caldos, seafood, and breakfasts.

Unless you methodically worked your way across the menu how would you know what other treasures it held? Friend of the Food Chain Rob Lopata applied Standard Ordering Procedure to suss one out. On a recent visit he noticed the majority of customers were huddled over steaming bowls of beef soup. Caldo de res doesn’t get much mention in the broader literature either (in English anyway). Diana Kennedy doesn’t bring it up in any of her books, and neither does Bayless. There are plenty of digital recipes but little information on its provenance in the universe of regional Mexican cooking. Maybe that’s because it’s so elementary—stock, beef, and an assortment of vegetables. What culture (excepting Hindus and Chinese Buddhists) doesn’t have a beef soup in its history? What else are you going to do with the tough, bony cuts of beef that won’t grill well?