I like rooting for the good guys—in movies, life, and the crazy restaurant business. You’re never sure who the protagonists are until the plot unfolds. In the case of a new restaurant, the script reveals itself in the form of your dining experience.
The central characters of Tres Calaveras in Cameron Park are sets of brothers and cousins who go out of their way to provide a hero’s welcome.
I trekked up the hill from Roseville to a spot near one of my favorite haunts as a kid: Sam’s Town. Sam’s is long since gone, but the quaint western village mall across the street houses many visit-worthy attractions, including Tres Calaveras.
I started the festivities with a citrusy and refreshing shrimp ceviche topped with a mountain of fresh avocado. The interplay of lime juice, onions, cilantro, and fresh tomatoes showcased the plump shrimp. Cerveza, por favor!
The plot thickened in the second act, seriously thickened, as in a rich, dark chocolate chicken mole. I’m an avowed fanatic (and sometimes critic) of mole. The complexity of its character intrigues my palate, and I will (and did) devour a plate of homemade chicken mole like Godzilla devours entire cities. I was like Godzilla on this day. Served with chopped breast meat vs. a leg and thigh quarter, it would particularly appeal to those who don’t like dark meat. Muy bueno!
Act III: birria. If you haven’t heard of or tried birria before, you haven’t been paying attention—it’s become as big a foodie buzzword as charcuterie. Traditionally a stew of goat and chilis, birria can be made with any number of proteins, including the succulent beef and lamb offering at Tres Calaveras. I prefer to have the stewed meat served as a taco with the rich broth served alongside to dip your taco into, but with fresh tortillas in hand, I had no complaints.
The climax of this four-act drama was another one of my favorites: churros! Although hardly a cliffhanger ending (if you’ve followed me long enough, you know I’m a churro fiend!), the Tres Calaveras rendition featured deep-fried, cream-filled choux pastry coated in cinnamon sugar with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, and drizzles of chocolate. Definitely a churro addict’s panacea.
Please stop in and see the real stars: Ivan, Marco, Victor, David, Erick, and Jonathan…good guys making great food!
by LORN RANDALL
photos by DANTE FONTANA
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