El Encanto Restaurant is the new kid in town that took over long-timer El Oaxaqeño's site. I had a chance to try it for the first time on Día de Muertos when it had been open for a month. Things look pretty much the same inside, cleaner and freshened up, and an outdoor covered dining patio added in the front. Staffers were masked and the front and side doors were open for ventilation.
The enthusiastic owner is a first time restaurateur. He's offering some regional Mexican specialties not seen often in these parts. And menudo is available every day of the week, not just weekends, as used to be common in Salinas when I was a kid.
I was really excited to find Corundas, $16.99, on the menu. Though many of the Mexican immigrants to our area originated in Michoacán, I've never seen these on a local restauarant menu. The triangles of masa steamed in fresh corn leaves or banana leaves were cut into chunks then bathed with a guisado of tender pork cubes stewed in a mild chile-tomato sauce and drizzled with crema, a grating of cotija cheese, freshly diced white onion, and served with a wedge of lime. A basket of hot made-to-order corn tortillas accompanied. So delicious!
On this chilly night the foamy hot chocolate really hit the spot too. And did I mention how good the salsa casera served with the colorful complimentary chips is?
Last week I was back to try the Pambazo, $10.99, a style of sandwich dipped in guajillo chile sauce then grilled. Ordered with nopales y chicharron, the garnishes included guacamole, shredded lettuce, onion and two salsas served on the side. I did not expect the side of fries in my to-go box, and I would have subbed something else, if I had known in advance. Very tasty guajillo sauce and generously stuffed, but I would probably go with the classic choripapas (chorizo + potatoes) filling next time. The wet style of chicharron combined with the slippery cactus was a bit too slimy in texture for me. Still, I'm excited that I can get well-made pambazos here.
Next, I want to try the Enchiladas estilo Michoacanas and the chilaquiles among the breakfast dishes. The restaurant is taking a holiday break from November 29 until January 2022. So today is the only day left before the closing.
El Encanto Restaurant
737 Sanborn Place
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