It’s not often that I crave Mexican food. I love the way the meats are braised in tons of spices and herbs, but tend to find all that corn, beans and rice, a little hard to digest. El Molino Central in Boyes Hot Springs, Sonoma, is a jewel of a place and may just change all that.
First off, its vibe is quite different from the stereotypical Mexican joint. No dark interiors, with over-use of murals and cacti plants here. Instead, it manages to mash-up an almost French vibe (the lettering on the front of the building alone, says “French brassiere”) with a sweet, clean beach feel. Both the bright interior of the kitchen—which is where you order; and the fun patio area—where you eat, are inviting and fresh. Much like the food.
When I visited, the winter/spring menu was on offer with nary a burrito in sight, and quesadillas offered for kids only. From Pozole Rojo de Jalisco, a pork and hominy soup stew with traditional garnishes ($14) to Mole Poblano Chicken Enchiladas with refried beans and sour cream $13, and Bohemia Beer Battered Fish Tacos ($9.50), the dishes on offer – without exception – sound tasty and delicious.
And there’s the specials board – the Wild Halibut Ceviche ($14.50) caught our eye… although I have to say, our eyes were clearly bigger than our stomachs. Especially after munching away on the homemade tortilla chips and chunky, fresh-made guacamole. I should have predicted that the portion sizes would have been generous, to say the least.
We ordered the crispy beef brisket tacos ($14) with little gems, escabeche and crema salsa. I mistakenly thought that the beef would be crispy, not the tacos! But nevertheless, the beef inside the crimped tacos was very tasty.
I didn’t get a chance to taste the Roasted Butternut Squash Enchiladas ($14) – but it looked like a plateful of cheesy comfort food – and who can argue with that?
And the halibut ceviche, which came with more chips and avocado was fresh and tangy, if a little too oniony for my taste, but sadly we had over-ordered. Thank goodness for doggie bags.
Teen Monkey hadn’t had dinner and wasn’t with us, so I picked up some delish pork tamales ($15 for four) from the chilled cabinet which was also stocked with a plethora of sauces and other takeout delights. A helpful customer in line recommended wrapping the tamales in plastic wrap when reheating in the microwave so they didn’t dry out. Duly noted.
We enjoyed pre-dinner cocktails at the Sonoma Mission Inn which is right across the street, and with a pleasantly mild hunger on arrival, we left El Molino Central completely satiated and with a bag full of leftovers for Sunday lunch.
You can find El Molino Central at 11 Central Ave., Sonoma (Boyes Hot Springs). (707) 9391010