... he's cooking the type of soulful, modern Mexican food that the Bay Area has been missing.
It's a personal style you won't find anywhere else. His empanadas ($8) are proof enough. The crisp, tender masa is packed with chunks of squash blossoms that boost the flavor without weighing down the filling. Then it's all napped in a chunky tomato habanero sauce, topped with a snowfall of raw milk feta, and served with a salad featuring purslane and pickled onions.
The margaritas of course! The cochinita pibil and the tamales (made with olive oil instead of lard) are also crowd-favorites.
"Mateo Granados started his restaurant career as a dishwasher, worked his way up to become a chef at Masa's and then executive chef at Dry Creek Kitchen in Healdsburg. He's now turning his attention to the foods of his homeland."
Think Wine Country chic with a touch of Mexico, in the tall, white barn-style ceiling, flickering candles lined along a tin-top style bar backed by shelves of boutique tequilas and mescals, and about three dozen seats including a communal table and table tops made of wood inset with recycled workshop lighting metal.
Throughout his menu, Granados makes the most of minor touches. You taste his attentiveness in such sides as caramelized squash and raw-milk feta—the Chez Panisse aesthetic, sent south of the border—and in the white-corn trolelote, a kind of cooling succotash of corn, peppers, mayonnaise, and romano cheese that underpins his salsa-garnished fried rock cod.
Other finds are twists on or upgrades of familiar items. Granados thickens guacamole with olive oil, then serves the luscious spread with crisp pumpkin-seed crackers. He turns out carne asada tacos of cumin-scented lamb ...