Sacramentans are lucky to have such a fabulous array of Mexican restaurants from which to choose. And while I enjoy my local taqueria as much as the next guy, sometimes I want more sophisticated, distinctive and regionally-inspired flavors. That’s when I head to Centro Cocina Mexicana, whose intriguing menu offers a refreshing departure from the chicken fajitas and bean-and–cheese burritos one often encounters at more mainstream establishments.
I like to drop into Centro for appetizers and the bar’s flavorful, interesting fruit-infused tequilas, which range from the Anniversary Blend, which gets its kick from the addition of fresh pineapple, strawberries, mango and kiwi; to spicy, chili-spiked concoctions and (a recent inspiration) an early-summer peach and vanilla bean-infused tequila. Pair these complex, fruity shots with the kitchen’s Camarones y Calamares a la Parilla – a showstopping appetizer composed of marinated, grilled Monterey Bay squid, shrimp and pickled onions atop a banana leaf; and the delicious (and palm-sized) Tostadas de Pollo: crispy corn tortillas topped with shredded chicken, black bean puree, avocado, cabbage and cotija cheese.