Sin Fronteras Café: Without Borders
Aug 07, 2011 09:27PM ● Published by Anonymous
Our dinner experience was so good that I might add it to my list of favorite Annapolis restaurants, and it likely goes to the number one spots in Latino Cuisine.
Partners Walter Vasquez and Wilmer Romero opened Sin Fronteras Cafe in the former location of Tacqueria Serrano (across the street from Colonial Florist) in June 2010, creating an authentic dining experience that combines flavors from both Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean. Vasquez moved to Maryland from Miami three years ago, bringing his extensive hospitality experience with him. He composed a team of four chefs, each from different locations “south of the border,” led by Chef Dagoberto Mirando of Mexico. This teams of chefs create recipes enjoyed throughout Latin America, utilizing only the freshest ingredients.
The cafe has an authentic design as well. It is simple, as expected, with painted walls in warm colors such as yellow, pale orange, and light blue. Traditional mementos hang on the walls, and painted windows featuring tropical scenes definitely open the borders.
The menu offers a large variety of everyone’s favorites, all with superior quality. The choices for our dinner were hard to make, as everything sounded appealing. To get us started, the server brought us a couple of baskets of warm chips with salsa. Under Vasquez’s recommendation, we started with authentically prepared guacamole ($10), which was served in a clay bowl. The avocados were ripe and bright green, blended with chimol. My dining companion originates from Salvador, so she had to try the Pupusas ($2.25 each). She raved about them! The Chili con Queso ($8) was perfect, with delicious melted cheese, ground chorizo, and the right level of spices.
We continued on with the Peruvian Lomo Saltado ($12), a mouthwatering slice of beef, cooked in olive oil, garlic, tomatoes, onions, and spices, finished with white wine. The Carne Asada ($12) was just as superb; a thin New York strip in a “secret marinade,” served with traditional rice and beans. As a side note, the rice and beans that are served with many of the dishes are delicious. You can say the same of the side salad that comes with many items, consisting of a blend of shredded cabbage and iceberg lettuce in a delicate vinaigrette.
The fiesta didn’t end there. We had to try the Cuban Sandwich ($9), which was the best I’ve had in a very long time. The pork and ham were both traditionally prepared, and with the pickles and special mustard added, it was scrumptious. Vasquez shared with us one of his most authentic and favorite dishes: The Pork Chop a la Mamajuana ($15). The Mamajuana sauce is made with citrus, herbs, and alcohol, and the chop is firegrilled, and topped with Serrano ham and onion rings. I also ordered the Chimichanga ($8.95), which was the best I’ve tasted. I ordered it with Chorizo instead of beef or chicken, and it was stuffed with an abundance of flavors.
The Banana Tempura (left) and the Pork Chop a la Mamajuana are served at Sin Fronteras Cafe in Annapolis.
Finally, we had a couple of children with us, so we ordered them Pollo con Tajadas al Catracho ($9), which are well-seasoned real chicken strips, deepfried to a golden brown, and served with fried plantain chips and a spicy salad. The kids loved it. Of course, our host insisted that we try the dessert. We savored the smooth and delectable Flan Latino ($3.50), as well as the banana tempura, served with creamy vanilla ice cream.
What a fiesta, and a great dinner to boot! Of course, we’ll be back to try more food, as the company was great and the hosts are friendly and welcoming. A note on beverages: Make sure to listen to the house specials—my dining companion sipped on a well-prepared mojito throughout dinner, and she smiled all evening.