Jacinto’s Kitchen

Jacinto's Kitchen

Two of Cindy Pawlcyn’s top toques have opened shop in the heart of Sonoma Vally. Yountville alums Pablo and Erasto Jacinto opened Jacinto’s “Pot of Flavors” Kitchen in Oakmont Village (a sprawling senior community near Kenwood) in mid-January, 2012.

Foodies know the hardworking duo worked their way up through the kitchens of Mustard’s and Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen over two decades, influencing many dishes and sharing credit on her cookbook, “Big Small Plates.” Pablo was most recently a chef at Silverado Resort (Napa) and C Casa in the Oxbow Market.

Now hanging their knives on the western side of the Mayacamas, word of their arrival is spreading fast. Their Oaxacan dishes have serious soul with Wine Country class.  A maitre’d channeling Ricardo Montalban doesn’t hurt business either.

Top Picks:

-Sauteed Shrimp with homemade chorizo and cilantro-jalapeno broth with grilled garlic bread ($9.50). Ground pork and shrimp swim in a twinkling-bright green sauce and buttery grilled bread. Keep a mint handy for afterward. Keep your fork handy for stabbing anyone who gets to close to this slurp-worthy dish.

- Erasto’s Sweet Corn Tamale: Warm queso fresco gives a creamy richness to these tiny tamales. ($5.95)

- Chicken Mole: Chiles, corn tortillas and chocolate are the staples of Grandma Jacinto’s secret sauce. Made daily, it’s a specialty of the house, poured over roasted chicken with white beans ($12.95)

- Guajillo Braised Lamb Tostada: Tender lamb and avocado sauce tops a crispy corn tortilla. Cool shreds of cilantro and cabbage cut the heaviness of the dish and add a Wine Country touch. ($13.50)

- Jacinto’s Caesar: Pablano Caesar dressing gives the usual salad a kick ($8).

- Don’t miss a sangria to start ($6) or warming rice pudding for dessert.

And the rest of the menu? Mostly crowd-pleasing  standards: Grilled hangar steak, crispy pork loin cutlets, a grilled portobello mushroom sandwich, buffalo chicken wings. We were wowed by a seasonal lasagna with Bechamel sauce, Swiss cheese and tasty bites of veggies ($12) and the burger looked promising.  But one hopes the menu won’t take a wrong turn to Blandville.

Yes, it’s the elephant in the room. Why Oakmont? Taking over a lackluster Mexican eatery inside the bustling senior community makes for a solid built-in audience. It’s close to Hwy. 12′s bustling tourist trade and winemaker lunchers. It may also mean the spice-lovers among us may have to make a special request for extra heat and seasoning. Adapting to the local clientele, the kitchen has already toned down a few dishes to a simmer.

The Jacinto’s are Wine Country vets with solid cred and so far, the fledgling “pot of flavor” bubbles with promise. Here’s to keeping those flames fanned.

Jacinto’s Pot of Flavors Kitchen, 6576 Oakmont Dr., Santa Rosa, 537-8933.

* PS Sorry for the appallingly bad photos.

Author: biteclub

Food Dining and Restaurants in Sonoma County and beyond, BiteClubEats.com is Wine Country dining with Drive-Thru Sensibility.

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23 Comments

  1. I was very disappointed to read your review–because Jacinto’s up to this point has been a well-kept secret and the lines to get in are still short. Now that the secret is out, I want to join other comments that praise the quality of the cuisine. I am especially hooked on the lamb tostada, which contains the bEST lamb I have ever tasted in a restaurant. With both Cafe Citti and Jacino’s a few miles apart, this side of town has two great dining choices.

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  2. I checked out this place for a quick lunch. I usually go to Los Hermanos (Burt St/SR Av) for my Michoacan huarachis and hot picosa salsa fix or Lola’s for inexpensive lunch fare. I just had their soup of the day – tortilla soup for $6 a cup. The soup was delicious.

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  3. have been here for lunch and must say i don’t understand some of these reviews. i had the chicken sandwich, amazingly flavorful. good portion even better price. my friend had the fish of the day which was high end restaurant quality at a more than fair price (16.95, being the most expensive item on menu) simply beautiful presentation and tast.

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  4. My senior neighbors across the street said that everyone calls it “Croakmont” which is why they decided not to move there. But the restaurant sounds interesting nonetheless, and the poblano caeser dressing sounds divine. We’ll try to remember to ask them to “kick up the spice” if we decide to visit.

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  5. We celebrated our 44th Anniversary there; the food and service was great!

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  6. Can’t comment on the food. The noise level and the smell of something akin to dirty diapers drove us away minutes after being seated. The main dining room was full, so we were seated in the secondary room off to the right as you enter. The guests in that room were talking at normal levels, but the high ceiling and lack of acoustics amplified every sound. We couldn’t even carry on a normal conversation. That, combined with the very weird smell, drove us out five minutes after we arrived. Bummer because the menu looks good. But ambience is critical and it is absent here. Very surprising for a Pawlcyn-backed venture.

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  7. “I’d really suggest going for the Oaxacan food> It’s kind of their specialty.”???? BiteClub: Have you seen the menu? There are only two Mexican items on the menu (sweet tamales and chicken Mole), unless you consider the Lamb Tostada “Oaxacan “. This is not a Mexican place (it may be a whole lot more interesting if it was a kicked-up Oaxacan place, like Las Camilias does in San Rafael). As many have said, there is no central theme to the menu and the food is pretty expensive for what you get and the lack of flavor. Perhaps, they will iron out the issues (Sweet T’s in Santa Rosa did and they are rocking!)

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  8. Really diner food with very small portions and high prices (about $30 per person without drinks, tax or tip). This is not Napa Valley cuisine, but a place that is probably competing with the Villa, but without the Villa service, quality of food or portions (did I say VERY small portions?). The service is still getting organized and the very small lasagne comes with no meat, a few mushrooms, a little cheese and marinara sauce. They DO NOT have Parmesan cheese to grate over. If I lived in Oakmont, had a very small appetite and plenty of money and liked senior center cafeteria food, and did not want to drive into Santa Rosa, Kenwood, Glenn Ellen or Sonoma, then I guess this would be my new favorite place (I think there are enough people who fit that description to keep this place open, but don’t expect food, service or pricing (portions) anywhere near what we get locally.

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  9. Finally checked this out. To be honest a little disappointing. The menu is very short and (as others have mentioned) a bit of a hodge podge. The Mole sauce was great but the white bean salad misses the mark and the chicken is a leg portion with sparse meat. At $12.95 it’s way too expensive for what’s on the plate. (I compare it to the same dish at Las Guataries in Novato with two half-breasts for the same price) I’ll probably go back to give it a second look but don’t see it being a regular thing. Too bad, I really wanted to like it.

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    • I should have known what to expect from the location but I tried it anyway. Nursing home cafeteria chic without the large brown trays. Yawn.

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  10. Small menu of uninteresting entres and first courses. It appeared to be a collage of ideas with none leading to a brand for this restaurant. Portions small, yet priced moderately. The lasagna I ordered was fairly bland, while the chicken wings were almost repulsive to taste. Thank goodness for the dipping sauce! The staff needs more training yet were nice and responsive to our needs. The atmosphere was quite loud as the location is sparsely decorated and has no sound barriers. Overall, on a star scale of 1- 5, I would give it 2 stars. Probably will not go back soon.

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    • I’d really suggest going for the Oaxacan food> It’s kind of their speciality.

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  11. I just went to Cindys new restauraunt Brassica in St Helena. I hope this will be as nice. I also have the Big Small Plates Cookbook. Its one of my favs.

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  12. I went last night, and had the tamales (light and flavorful) paired with a VG sauv. blanc; and the mole (outstanding!) with an excellent pinot. Really delicious, and the price seemed very reasonable. I’ll go back.

    ~A Kenwood resident

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  13. My wife and I thought the food was so so not great by any stretch,and the service was so so at best. The menu is kind of strange, I mean Lamb Tostada, Really! we haven’t heard anything good from anybody thats ate there, but we will give it another try since its down the street from our house, and maybe we hit on an off night they had just opened.

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  14. Interesting, Captain. Oldmont.

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    • Really? One day, if you’re lucky, you might live to be over 55. Lots of us Boomers moving into Oakmont, and we definitely aren’t “old”. Experienced, yes…old, never. Catch up Dude.

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  15. Decision, stay home Sunday night and watch the PLAY OFFS, or go out on a cold rainy night to try a new restaurant? Needless to say for many this would be a no brainer, or grounds for divorce. A compromise was worked out and the food was well worth the trip.
    Being less daring then the rest of our group I ordered the lasagna. It was wonderful. The vegetables were cooked perfectly and the sauce was great. The service was attentive and friendly. We will return again soon, maybe I won’t push my luck to go during the Super Bowl.

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    • Thanks mom. Great input. :)

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  16. Welcome to Sonoma County Brothers Erasto and Pablo! My meal there was terrific. Lots of success to you and your families.

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  17. Yum, and practically down the block! I didn’t know, but now I have to GO!

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