Meet Joel. He’s responsible for all of the different fruit-infused tequila concoctions at Centro Cocina Mexicana restaurant in Sacramento, one of our favorite Sacramento restaurants. In fact, when we asked the restaurant fairy to bring Centro to Davis, she must have had too many of Joel’s fruit-infused margaritas before she waved her magic wand, and she gave us Tres Hermanas instead. I don’t mean to complain restaurant fairy – we’re grateful to have Tres Hermanas in town – but Centro would have been a dream come true.
Centro is part of the local Paragary Restaurant Group. They own twelve restaurants and bars in the Sacramento region that in addition to Centro include Café Bernardo, Paragary’s, Esquire Grill, Cosmo Café and Spataro’s. We frequent Café Bernardo in Davis the most often since it’s located in Davis, but Centro is our favorite Paragary restaurant by far.
We have memories of dining here since our now 18-year-old son was two. We’ve celebrated many family birthdays here and when in Sacramento at lunchtime, always head to Centro to lunch with Joel. Joel is the weekday, daytime bartender. He’s friendly and takes care of you — never a roll of the eyes, or an exasperated pause. In fact, you get just the opposite from Joel. He makes your dining more of an experience by explaining the different fruit infused tequilas that he’s been working on, occasionally proudly sharing small tastes of his latest fruit infusions, telling you how to make them, what mixes well together, and even recommends local shops for shopping for that hard-to-find item. Joel was who taught us how to make our own fruit-infused tequila that is now a staple at many of our parties.
On our latest lunch adventure with Joel, Jon and I shared two margaritas. The first was one of our old standby drinks, the Anniversary margarita made with tequila infused with strawberries, pineapple and kiwi fruit, then mixed with triple sec for sweetness and lime juice for acid. For the second drink we tried a new fruit infused margarita made with blueberries, passion fruit and pineapple. It was delicious. Each margarita is a different color depending on the fruit used in the infusions, so you always get a rainbow of colors when trying the different drinks.
Our favorite food at Centro is their salsa that comes with the chips when you sit down. The tomatillo salsa is sweet and tangy and the roasted salsa is smoky with a touch of heat. Great salsas! We also love their carnitas – the burritos are made with small flour tortillas and come one or two to a plate and the tacos are on even smaller corn tortillas. We always top these with the tomatillo salsa for that fresh limey zest. For dessert, don’t miss the chocolate flan. It’s out of this world and very rich and chocolaty for you chocolate fans.
So, when dining at Centro during a weekday, eat at the bar or one of the high bar tables with Joel and try one of his fruit-infused margaritas if the rest of your afternoon is appointment free. You won’t be disappointed. http://www.paragarys.com/go/prg/locations/centro/