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Restaurants & Bars

El Centro- Excellent Mexican Addition to the South End

opinionatedchef | Jun 20, 201105:15 PM     4

I think our experience was very different from yumyum’s. We also went last night, at the spur of the moment, for a b’day dinner on our way back from mini vacation, the last party to be seated, at 9:30PM . Sunday night parking on Shawmut in the So End -was easy (boy, i bet i’ve jinxed myself forever now). First impressions:

-Corner spot on a handsome quiet tree lined street

-Friendly welcoming Mexican staff.

-Definitely did not love the room. Very uncomfortable plank chairs,ugly fake plank tables, potentially attractive original(?) tin ceiling made ugly with 30 coats of paint on it, shiny black its current hue. Haphazard ‘decor’. Plusses for substantial dish towel napkins.

Sangria well made red, not too sweet, refreshing, but i WISH they wouldn’t use cinnamon. Still, miles above most that you have (except maybe Toro), especially the ‘sangria’ swill they make at Estragon- which taste like soda pop.

Salsa -best we’ve had and we couldn’t figure out why. Ripe tomatoes, white onion, cilantro, roasted poblanos.............; light fresh fried chips.

In the lead for best single dish:

-Carne Asada Taco, refried bean smear, cabbage, sauce, guacaole.... Thickest most toothsome corn tortilla w/ thin crispy crust- I have ever had. Epiphany Time major. Handmade by Alan/owner that morning, from his father’s recipe. I have never tasted anything like these ever. If these continue to be made in this way, I will be a very regular happy camper (next time trying the fish tacos, as no one yet has been able to match La Verdad’s.)

-Chicken tortilla soup pretty good ( Jim Fahey’s Diana Kennedy version was superior at Mexican Cuisine; what a surprise.)

- Albondigas(Pork) Sope was just terrific/crispy/chewy/very thick like a guarnacha; pork was braised shoulder, shreddy, combined w/ cheese and salad toppings. V. Good but i prefer the carne asada filling.

-Shrimp with chipotle cream>shrimp and fire- grilled corn etc. in terrific creamy rich nuanced sauce (Angela’s does an excellent one too.)

- Beef steak with corn tortillas, beans and guacamole.My Love preferred it topped with that great salsa. Refried Beans good but not as great as la Verdad’s.

- Chile relleno- single roasted poblano filled w/ melted cheese, in simple tomato sauce(we ordered this as an app, w/o rice and beans) Fine; nice components. but wish it had been deep fried. (This seemed pricey at $10.)

- Huitlacoche is only Mexican-fresh in autumn, and El Centro's was canned, so we did not order this, though we wanted to.

- Churros w/ Mexican Chocolate Dulce de Leche dipping sauce. Lightly and freshly fried; much better than at Toro, imo. I would have liked there to be more because they were small and only 3.

What nice people. Can’t wait to return. I have yet to taste a mole in Boston worth eating, but even if theirs is also disappointing, i will still be ecstatic with a plate of those carne asada tacos.

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Toro
1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

Angela's Cafe
131 Lexington St, Boston, MA 02128

La Verdad
1 Lansdowne St, Boston, MA 02215

El Centro
472 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

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