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Aug 6, 2006 03:24 AM

Cocina Del Sol (Frenchtown NJ)

Had dinner the other nite at Cocina Del Sol in Frenchtown. I was a bit apprehensive because the last time I ate there (a few years ago) we had a boring "tex-mex" meal (I hate tex-mex or fake mexican food overly saturated with cumin).
My friend who owns a local business tells me that there is a new chef / owner named Rolando, who will be cooking more authentic Mexican food. They have just repaired the damage from the major flooding earlier this month.

Its a cute, cozy little space, perhaps a bit cramped for a tall person, decorated nicely with the "typical" mexican-restaurant decor. The tables are a bit small and cramped together especially in the small "front" room.

The wait staff was attentive and professional. The only humorous "faux-pas" of the evening was that my dining companion was drinking a Sierra Mist, and had put the lemon from his glass of water into his soda glass - the waitress poured more water into his soda glass unknowingly!!
They have a limited beverage menu with sodas, including the Mexican Jarritos brand, and like most restaurants in the area it is a BYO establishment.

The food is very fresh, and the chef is obviously using real authentic ingredients, no fake cheese blends here.
The chips are plentiful and come with a small bowl of very fresh and tasty salsa - not too spicy but just a hint of heat.
For an appetizer, we had an order of nachos, which were nicely covered in refried beans, nicely spiced ground beef, cheese and a few slices of jalapeno. I ordered a single tamale, a nice combination of chicken with green sauce, served piping hot and with a dusting of cotija cheese, and just the right amount of corn masa dough. My companion had a mixed salad of greens with orange, mango, walnuts.

For my main course, I had a wonderful rendition of chiles rellenos, with chicken. The chiles were nice and plump, filled with absolutely fresh ingredients and topped with red sauce and cheese. A small side of rice and beans came with my entree.
My dinner companion had a dish of large fresh shrimp, sauteed with a garlic chipotle sauce, and accompanied by rice and fresh vegetable medley.
We were stuffed full and skipped dessert, but they have 3 selections on the menu including pastel de tres leches, flan, and bunuelos.

We had a very nice meal and I was very happy to have re-discovered this cute little restaurant.
Perhaps the chef needs to be more assertive with his flavors and spices, it seemed like he was holding back a bit to satisfy less adventurous palates. I think as he becomes more sure of himself his talents will shine through.
Definitely worth another trip to see how well the new chef will transform the place.

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  1. Sethboy,

    This place sounds good! Is it right on the main street, like near the bike shop? And, is it open for lunch? I cycle through Frenchtown frequently and would love to turn a long ride into a bit of a food safari, but we'd not be able to do this at dinner and we live too far to drive. I know, that makes no sense, but it's a long way for dinner, but a nice mid-ride stop...

    1. It is right on the corner of Bridge and Front Street, the last street before you come to the bridge, diagonally opposite the Frenchtown Inn. The entrance is located on the side of the building (actually on Front Street) and half a flight downstairs.

      As for lunch, I ~believe~ they do serve, at least during the week, not 100% sure but you can call and ask.