Sinners for dinner
Sin of Cortez adds a new menu to the mix
Chico, CA 95926
Either way you look at it, it’s a sin. If you don’t go … definitely a sin. If you do, beware: Gluttony and the subsequent lust for the food on the dinner menu may plague you.
Sin of Cortez, a favorite breakfast and lunch destination for Chicoans, has opened its doors for dinner. Hallelujah!
Quality food, service and creative presentation have made Sin of Cortez a popular destination for an early-day repast, often forcing patrons to spend some time in a waiting line before being seated. Not so at dinner. Yet.
I’ve enjoyed some beautiful meals at Sin of Cortez this past month. It’s only logical to assume that Sin’s passion for quality and creativity would extend to its evening menu as well, and it has. There are some crossovers from the lunch menu, as well as some truly tantalizing new additions.
I went to dinner several times, with different people, on the pretext of writing this review. I didn’t have to go back four times. Or a fifth for dessert. Continually impressed, I couldn’t get enough.
Every time I went, I enjoyed a quiet, delicious meal in the company of a friend who also swooned over the food and drink, and a certain part of me relished the fact that the dining space, usually so raucous and frenetic during breakfast, was calm and peaceful. The simple color scheme and the tables nestled close together, coupled with low light and flickering candles, made for an altogether different dining experience; I began to see the restaurant in a new way.
I managed to sample most of the menu during my visits, and I intend to sample the rest in the near future. On the “Beginnings” menu, don’t miss the best appetizers: ahi wontons ($11), wonton crisps topped with seared ahi, avocado, sweet soy and wasabi cream, or the lettuce wraps ($8), ginger soy-marinated chicken, served with lettuce and peanut sauce. The Dragon Potatoes ($6), red potato wedges served with chipotle crème fraîche, are also good, but were a little too peppery the night I tried them.
The “Salads and Bowls” menu offers the option of adding marinated tofu, grilled chicken or tenderloin to any item, for an additional charge, which I like; it gives more options for everyone on the meat-eating spectrum. I tried the Imperial Bowl ($11), homemade vegetarian miso broth with udon noodles, vegetables, avocado and grilled tofu; the blue cheese walnut salad ($9), mixed greens topped with blue cheese and walnuts, served with grilled bread and homemade balsamic vinaigrette; and the Wok Fried Rice Bowl ($11), locally grown brown rice lightly stir fried in soy sauce with broccoli, zucchini, bean sprouts, celery and carrots, topped with shiitake mushrooms. All were fantastic, and all could serve as dinner, even for a really hungry person.
The “Entrees” menu features a half chicken ($15) served four different ways, steak, wraps and quesadillas, among other things. Ever creative, Sin of Cortez combines Asian fusion with locally grown foods and a bit of Mexican flavor.
I ordered the Nuevo Roll Ups ($11), angel hair pasta grilled in ginger soy, rolled in a fresh tortilla with mixed greens, julienne vegetables and bean sprouts and served with peanut sauce. I added tofu and the result was a wrap fit for the gods. The chicken soft tacos ($10) and the pesto quesadilla ($9), made with jack cheese, scallions, tomatoes and fresh basil pesto, are worth their weight in Cortez’s gold.
Never a martyr to calorie-counting, I ventured back for a meal of dessert. Even with only two options on their “Temptation” menu, I had trouble deciding between the flourless chocolate cake and the Sin Bananas (each $7). Both are divine.
As I meditated on my gustatory euphoria, I thought about the joy of good food and the satisfaction that follows. Oscar Wilde was famous for saying, “I can resist anything except temptation.” And if that’s a sin, then I don’t want to go to heaven. Amen.