(Updated 1/6/2021) Description and review of Centro Cocina Mexicana, a popular Mexican restaurant located in Midtown Sacramento.
I remember dining at Centro soon after it first opened over 20+years ago! Centro, part of the Paragary Restaurant Group, I am happy to say is still going strong!
I have been patronizing Centro periodically over the years. However, it had been at least a year and a half since my last visit. I was happy, therefore, to learn that Centro was the chosen lunch spot for those who wanted to get a bite to eat after a recent Boglehead meeting. See related blog post: What is a Boglehead?
When Centro originally opened, I recall being impressed that “regional Mexican cuisine” was being offered. Times have changed, and there is now a lot more competition in Sacramento for our dining-out dollars.
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Take note – Centro has a good-sized bar, and is known as a great place to go for drinks and a bite to eat during Happy Hour (Monday-Saturday 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.).
There were eight of us for lunch and a table that could seat us all was available inside. We were seated soon after our arrival. The weather was certainly nice enough to sit outside on the patio, but there was insufficient space available for a group our size.
Our friendly waitress brought us tortilla chips and salsa soon after we were seated. I really like Centro’s tortilla chips. The chips are thin and light – so naturally you can eat twice as many (or so I tell myself) without ill effect. The chips were served with a flavorful and tasty green salsa. I am not into spicy as in “hot” salsa – so the salsa was very much to my liking.
We each ordered lunch, and soon afterwards found that we had gone through all the baskets of chips and the salsa. Piling the empty baskets at one end of the table was all that was necessary to catch the attention of our server. The next time she walked by she scooped them up and soon afterwards returned with full baskets.
Two of our party ordered from the appetizer menu and opted for the Tostadas de Pollo (pulled chicken, black bean puree, avocado, cabbage, pasilla chile sauce, cotija cheese). Both enjoyed their meal.
I was hungry – but not overly – so I ordered a Taco de Camarones (crispy shrimp, mango salsa, cabbage slaw, chipotle crema). The dish came with both rice and beans. I like the fact that at Centro you can order the type of beans you want i.e. whole black beans, refried black beans, or whole pinto beans. The shrimp taco was ok – but I wished that I had ordered something else instead.
One way to judge a Mexican restaurant is by their mole sauce. Two members of our party had different dishes with the mole negro, including the Enchiladas Oaxaquenas. Both gave the mole high marks.
Two members of our group decided to have dessert – the Budin de Chocolate (warm chocolate cake with caramel sauce, ice cream and whipped cream). We waited for what seemed to be an unreasonably long time for the two of them to be served. I am not an impatient person as a rule – but I had started wondering if they were baking the cake from scratch.
Other than the long wait for dessert, I found the service both friendly and efficient as is usual.
My next visit to Centro will likely be for Happy Hour and their three tacos for $7.
(1/6/2021) Links added.
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