Friday, July 29th, 2011
Late August is the anticipated opening date for Mateo Granados’ Cocina Latina, a sit-down version of the authentic Yucatecan dishes Grandos has been serving up at Northbay farm markets and his popular pop-up Tendejon Calle dinners for years.
Mixing his high-end experience (as former exec chef at Dry Creek Kitchen) and rural roots, the Cocina is slated to be a fusion of humble street food, family recipes and California cuisine — something Mateo calls Modern Yucatan Cuisine. Hailing from the Yucatan peninsula, his dishes combine influences from Spain and the ancient Mayans to compliment the produce and meats of Sonoma County.
And though the names may sound familiar — tacos, tamales, empanads, comidas and chorizo — Granados painstakingly seeks out local farmers and purveyors he often works with at the farm markets to flavor his dishes.
With the bounty of late summer to fuel his opening menu, Granados plans to have squash blossom emapanads with Redwood Hill cheese, White Crane Farm greens and Soda Rock tomatoes; suckling roast pig from Black Sheep Farm wrapped in banana leaves; Tierra Farms’ beans and Preston Vineyards’ pork chorizo. On this menu, farmer name-dropping isn’t chef grandstanding as much as a shout-out to friends and neighbors.
“Whatever’s available around here is what we use,” said Granados.
Tortillas will be made in-house with ingredients like Mendocino sea salt and local olive oil mixed into the masa. Desserts are simple, season ice creams, fruits or cool-weather flan with sticky buns from the Downtown Bakery and Creamery. At each table will be bottles of Granados’ El Yuca sauces made from local chilies and peppers.
It’s enough to make you start drooling in anticipation.
Signed on to help barside is mixologist Scott Beattie of h2hotel. He’ll help formulate a variety of tequila-inspired libations. Wine will be on-tap only.
The new restaurant is located in a simple one-story building that sat empty for years, and was reportedly built to be a tasting room rather than a restaurant. It’s proximity just across the street from the bustling h2hotel, however, has made the spot prime off-square real estate.
Expect prices in line with the kinds of ingredients Mateo sources, meaning $15 to $19 for larger dishes. Lunch and dinner will be served daily, and he’s just announced plans for a weekend brunch (he’s currently perfecting blue corn pancakes with honey) and possible late-night tamales at the bar, which will stay open until midnight or so.
If you’re hoping to work for Mateo, know that he’s looking for a year commitment from his staff for this project and is testing out potential workers at his Tendejon dinners.
Cocina Latina, slated for late August opening, Healdsburg