Centro Cocina Mexicana
2730 J Street (Midtown Sacramento)
Sacramento, CA 95816
The order: Tortilla Soup, Tacos (1 steak, 1 fish) and the Burrito a la Centro (black bean and rice burrito).
Drinks: Strawberry Mojito, and something they called a Paloma (Patron, Squirt soda & Lime). Everything was disappointing.
Centro’s corner location is perfect for socializing, but the food is below average. There was no problem getting a table outside on Friday evening around 6pm. They brought the tortilla soup as an appetizer, it was almost the worst tortilla soup ever. The soup had far too much lime and worst of all TOFU. To their credit, tofu in tortilla soup was…uh… original? Perhaps any true fan of tortilla soup would be offended. The soup had a completely different seasoning base than a traditional tortilla soup; perhaps it was a style originated in the Yucatan.
After the soup, the entrées were not much better. The steak was chewy and poor quality, and the bean and rice burrito lacked rice. The fish taco was tilapia on this day, and, well, for Tilapia, the taco was average. The sides were refried black beans and rice; both were barely luke warm. Sad to say, canned refried black beans from Trader Joe’s are better. And the rice was tantamount to steamed rice with butter (not what you expect for Mexican food, or for the price). A popular place with disappointing food must have great service, right? Wrong.
The service was mediocre. The waitress was nice but couldn’t remember to bring fresh jalapenos to the table, not a difficult task for mexican food. She asked how the soup was, and she proactively took it off of the bill when she learned how bad it tasted, which was nice to not have to ask. So, the service wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t terribly attentive.
The drinks, however, were very good, especially the Strawberry Mojito. Neither tasted watered down, which is good for Friday night. The final straw was when someone began smoking in the outside dinning area and the staff did nothing about it. FYI: Smoking in areas designated as “dining areas” is still illegal in California, even if that dining area is outside.
What’s the verdict? Go for the drinks, not the food. But aren’t we tired of these places calling themselves restaurants when they’re nothing more than food-serving-bars?