In a League of Their Own
Photo by Dante Fontana, © Style Media Group.
You never get a second chance to make a first impression, but within seconds of entering Zócalo, I was smitten.
Floor to ceiling, the 4,500-square-foot airy space, fashioned by designer Ernesto Cruz, is brimming with authentic and artistic furnishings, from seven-foot hand-carved columns to chandeliers reminiscent of agave plants. Black and white fixtures, brick walls and splashes of scarlet are punctuated by lush palm trees and artwork created by Cruz; the overall vibe is contemporary yet comfortable.
On a recent visit, the balmy autumn air beckoned me to dine on the spacious outdoor patio. As mariachi music set the mood, a blackberry margarita and warm, just-fried chips served alongside salsa and creamy black bean dip piqued my palate for what was to come.
Among the enticing entrée options, which include everything from chile rellenos and sopas to empanadas and ensaladas, I enjoyed the Cochinita Pibil and Mole Enchiladas.
Served three up and stuffed with cheese and braised chicken, then topped with a 26-ingredient (toasted nuts, chocolate, chile and dried fruits, to name a few) mole sauce and zigzag of crema, the enchiladas were a savory circus of tastes and textures.
The Cochinita Pibil – pork shoulder rubbed and glazed with achiote, wrapped in banana leaves, and cooked until fall-apart tender – was succulent and slightly sweet with subtle hints of woodsy smoke. When assembled with the homemade corn tortillas and accompanying pickled red onions and habanero salsa, my taste buds raced into overdrive. Family-style sides of cilantro lime rice and black beans were spot-on.
For dessert, the Tres Leche Cake is worth dipping your spoon into. Served in a Mason jar, the dense vanilla cake soaked in “three milks” and garnished with whipped cream and strawberries was sinfully satisfying.
It’s no wonder everyone’s going loco for Zócalo – the regional Mexican cuisine, tequila selection and well-versed wait staff are in a league of their own.
Zócalo, 1182 Roseville Parkway, Suite 110, Roseville, 916-788-0303, zocaloroseville.com.
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