Buffalo Bar-B-Q: Honoring the Land and Sea in La Paz

Mexican Food La Paz


La Paz’s most fashionable diners must walk underneath a faux buffalo skull to reach Sonora native Carlos Valdez’s open-air wonderland, Buffalo Bar-B-Q. It’s one of the many amusing details that demonstrate the vivacious chef has a sense of humor. Based on our experience, and the crowd that celebrated with food and drink, deep into the (week)night, we also learned that Valdez also owns one of the hottest, best restaurants in all of Baja.

Valdez graduated from Monterrey in 1985 with a degree in civil engineering. He returned home, started cooking, and eventually opened Buffalo Bar-B-Q in 2002 as a Sonoran grill. He expanded eight months ago, outgrowing the original indoor space, and added an open kitchen with an adjacent wood burning grill that feasts on mesquite and mauto. He’s improved the scale and scope of Buffalo Bar-B-Q over the past decade, added Al Forno Pizzeria to the neighborhood, and plans to open a second Buffalo in his home state this fall, in Hermosillo.

Restaurant La Paz
We saw a palapa covered bar, red adobe walls, and woven cage lanterns in blue and green.

Restaurant La Paz
We sat below a vine-lined trellis with an anatomically correct pig statue overhead.

Mariachi La Paz
From mariachis, Street Gourmet LA founder Bill Esparza requested Los Laureles, a famous song by from Lucha Villa; and Son Jarocho, a prideful song about being from Veracruz.

Salsa La Paz
Tables hosted bottles of Sea of Cortes sea salt with chiltepin, and salsa de habanero with ajo, cebolla, zanahoria, jugo de zanahoria, vinagre, sal, and azucar. That’s garlic, onion, carrot, carrot juice, vinegar, salt and sugar for non-Spanish speakers.

Chef Valdez prepared a feast with very few dishes were on the regular menu, which revolves around wood-grilled meats, burgers, salads and seafood-focused starters.

Mexican Food La Paz
Chef Valdez isn’t satisfied with a simple clam ceviche. Instead, he chops five kinds of local clams – Almeja Blanca from the island of Espiritu Santo, Almeja Pinta, Reina, Roñosa and Geoduck – and tops them with a creamy ring of avocado, onion, garlic, sessano, jalapeno and two microgreens: cilantro and amaranth.

Clams La Paz
He presented the five different clams on the bar before transforming them into ceviche.

Mexican Food La Paz
An inspired sashimi involved rosy yellowfin tuna, yellowtail and swordfish dressed with sweet, tangy, colorful and crispy combination of honey, yuzu, toasted chilies, julienne bell pepper, onion, jalapeno, cilantro, wonton chips, chopsticks

Salsa La Paz
Wood spoons hosted wasabi mayo, chipotle garlic, carrot habanero and soy sesame sauces.

Salsa La Paz
The condiments continued with a rustic tomato-based salsa and roasted chile gueros.

Mexican Food La Paz
The seafood parade continued with a Japanese inspired tostada that Chef Valdez topped with ruby-hued tuna, sesame seeds, algae, tobiko, wasabi, onion, and avocado.

Mexican Food La Paz
A one-bite wonder consisted of a sweet seared garra de leon scallop topped with pimiento marron and ginger mezcal reduction. The scallop came with toasted white bread brushed with pesto.

Mexican Food La Paz
Chef Valdez topped a slate slab with several seasonal bites, including a branch of roasted cherry tomatoes; yellowtail roe pate flatbread spiked with jalapeno; chewy smoked clam with parsley and garlic. He even went all science lab with droppers with soy (for the clam) and smoky, spicy chile de arbol (for the flatbread).

Mexican Food La Paz
Surf and turf involved a Sonoran filet and San Carlos shrimp, grilled over mesquite and mauto
and plated with jalapeno emulsion and beet-wine reduction involving toasted chiles.

Mexican Food La Paz
Buffalo makes seven different kinds of hamburgers, including the irresistible Baja Burger (130 pesos ~ $10), a wood grilled shrimp burger with firm, savory-sweet patty, bacon, Gouda, grilled onions, tomato, and garlic mayo, served with some very good French fries. This shrimp burger most definitely rivals South Carolina’s scintillating shrimp burgers.

Chef La Paz
Carlos Valdez, an avid wine lover, took time to enjoy a glass with our group.

Mexican Food La Paz
He then continued his gastronomic onslaught, including a Sinaloan style crab tamale with two masa slabs, squiggles of cooling crema, and spicy jalapeno salsa.

Dessert La Paz
A rich fondant of Tabascan dark chocolate reminded us of cherries jubilee, with sweet Pescadero strawberries sauteed in butter and cognac and garnished with flower petals.

Chef La Paz
Carlos Valdez gathered his kitchen staff for a group photo before we disappeared into the La Paz night. He was clearly proud of their efforts, and it was easy to see why. They created our most exciting culinary memory in a week of Baja California Sur experiences.

Our visit to Buffalo Bar-B-Q was part of a Baja California Sur tour sponsored by Baja.com.

Address: Madero 1240, La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico

Buffalo Bar-B-Q: Honoring the Land and Sea in La Paz

Madero 1240 La Paz Baja California Sur, Mexico
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Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

Blog Comments

muchas felicidades mi amigo por todos sus logros, espero y siga creciendo su empresa y pronto verlo en grande en cd. obregon

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