Had dinner the other nite at Cocina Del Sol in Frenchtown. I was a bit apprehensive because the last time I ate there (a few years ago) we had a boring "tex-mex" meal (I hate tex-mex or fake mexican food overly saturated with cumin).
My friend who owns a local business tells me that there is a new chef / owner named Rolando, who will be cooking more authentic Mexican food. They have just repaired the damage from the major flooding earlier this month.
Its a cute, cozy little space, perhaps a bit cramped for a tall person, decorated nicely with the "typical" mexican-restaurant decor. The tables are a bit small and cramped together especially in the small "front" room.
The wait staff was attentive and professional. The only humorous "faux-pas" of the evening was that my dining companion was drinking a Sierra Mist, and had put the lemon from his glass of water into his soda glass - the waitress poured more water into his soda glass unknowingly!!
They have a limited beverage menu with sodas, including the Mexican Jarritos brand, and like most restaurants in the area it is a BYO establishment.
The food is very fresh, and the chef is obviously using real authentic ingredients, no fake cheese blends here.
The chips are plentiful and come with a small bowl of very fresh and tasty salsa - not too spicy but just a hint of heat.
For an appetizer, we had an order of nachos, which were nicely covered in refried beans, nicely spiced ground beef, cheese and a few slices of jalapeno. I ordered a single tamale, a nice combination of chicken with green sauce, served piping hot and with a dusting of cotija cheese, and just the right amount of corn masa dough. My companion had a mixed salad of greens with orange, mango, walnuts.
For my main course, I had a wonderful rendition of chiles rellenos, with chicken. The chiles were nice and plump, filled with absolutely fresh ingredients and topped with red sauce and cheese. A small side of rice and beans came with my entree.
My dinner companion had a dish of large fresh shrimp, sauteed with a garlic chipotle sauce, and accompanied by rice and fresh vegetable medley.
We were stuffed full and skipped dessert, but they have 3 selections on the menu including pastel de tres leches, flan, and bunuelos.
We had a very nice meal and I was very happy to have re-discovered this cute little restaurant.
Perhaps the chef needs to be more assertive with his flavors and spices, it seemed like he was holding back a bit to satisfy less adventurous palates. I think as he becomes more sure of himself his talents will shine through.
Definitely worth another trip to see how well the new chef will transform the place.
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