El Rinconcito Yucateco

Authentic Yucatan cuisine makes El Rinconcito Yucateco is good eating no matter what the dialect.

El Rinconcito Yucateco

El Rinconcito YucatecoLeave the English to Spanish dictionary at home, because panuchos, cochinta pibil , prickling fresh salsa and rellenos negro are international signs of a serious cook in the kitchen. No matter what your native tongue.
Surrounded by vacant storefronts at the western end of Sebastopol Road, El Rinconcito Yucateco modestly proves what even the most novice of food nerds knows: Authentic Yucatan cuisine ranks among the best in the New World. It isn’t by accident that many of Sonoma County’s best restaurants are staffed by cooks from this long-isolated southern tip of Mexico.
Based in ancient Mayan food traditions (corn, wild game, pumpkin seeds, chocolate, tomatoes, and chiles), the Yucatan has , over the years, commingled the foods of European trade partners and conquerors (oranges and pork from Spain, cheeses from Holland) into a complex and much-loved food culture.

Poc Chuc

So it’s little surprise that the Bohemian’s Gabe Meline wrote a touching love letter to the four-month old  El Rinconcito Yucateco last April, including a short bit about Cazares’ mother sending her handmade recado negro — a sort of black paste made with burnt dried chiles that’s rarely found in the states. That kind of tease is gastro-crack for foodies, which inevitably sent legions of salivating gringos to the restaurant, including the ever-sniffing Chowhounds who’ve been hitting the restaurant en masseSo, when I order the relleno negro, it’s obvious I’m far from the first white chick to do.
“It’s soup,” says Bianca Castillo, owner Lupe Cazares’ stepdaughter, looking at me pitifully. “Yeah, I want the relleno negro,” I say.  “It’s soup,” she says again, clearly trying to manage my expectations. Here’s the thing: I have absolutely no expectations. I could be ordering donkey testicles for all I know.
I must look really confused. “Soup. It’s soup,” she tells me again. “Right, I say. What about the black mole? The stuff everyone’s been talking about?” I say pointing to the Bohemian article they’ve proudly tacked on the wall. “They made a mistake. It’s soup.”
I give up. Don’t make that same mistake, because it’s one of the house specialties — a thin broth with pieces of chicken, a hard-boiled egg and secret mom-sent herbs and spices, from what I hear. A sort of Mexican pho.  And nothing like donkey testicles.
Conchita PibilWhat I can rave about first-hand are the fried panuchos (a sort of skinny pupusa filled with mashed black beans and fried up crispy) capped by savory pickled onions, cabbage and avocado and a special habanero sauce; Poc Chuc, slivers of pork seasoned with black pepper; and meltingly tender cochinta pibil, a spicy, oily slow roasted pork marinated in citrus that blows the pants off any pulled pork you’ve ever eaten. With chips, salsa, rice and more black beans than any human should consume, the feast set me back a paltry $30.
That kind of value translates into families, fellow Yucatan expats and neighborhood folks gathering around the tables for daily specials, sopes, an extensive selection of seafood and whatever else the family serves up each day.
El Rinconcito Yucateco is good eating no matter what the dialect.
El Rinconcito Yucateco, 3935 Sebastopol Road, Santa Rosa. 707.526.2720.