Sabroso (Shakopee, MN)

By Karen Cooper and Bruce Schneier
Star Tribune South
November 5, 2003

The name means tasty, and take their word for it; Sabroso in Shakopee might very well be the best Mexican restaurant in the Twin Cities.

Sabroso serves both standard Mexican favorites and less common authentic dishes. Most of the food is not hot and spicy, although home- made hot sauces are available.

Tacos and burritos come with chicken, pork or beef. The enchiladas are even more interesting -- you have your choice of sauces. They come smothered in the traditional red-chili ranchera sauce, the lighter green-chili sauce or the savory -- not sweet-- chocolate-based mole sauce. A fun order for a first-timer is the Tres Amigos Enchiladas: one with each sauce.

Like most of Sabroso's dishes, every inch of the plate will be covered with enchiladas, rice and beans. You'll also have a choice between black beans and refried pinto beans. We like the refried, which are nicely moist.

The fajitas are probably the best we've ever had. Anywhere.

A torta is a Mexican-style sandwich. It's a soft roll filled with meat, lettuce, tomato, jalapeños, onions, guacamole, mayo, bean spread and cream. Even though it isn't listed on the menu, we like ours with grilled pork.

Another light option is a tamale. These, like everything else, are made from scratch. It's either pork, chicken or vegetables, stuffed inside cornmeal dough and then steamed inside a corn husk wrapper. Peel away the corn husk and enjoy the rich delicate blend of corn and meat, seasoned with just enough salt and a little cilantro. A little hot sauce goes well here.

Even more interesting are the seafood entrees. Try the Shrimp Mexican Style, sauteed in white wine, lime juice, garlic, jalapeños, onions and tomatoes. The Tostadas de Ceviche are also good; two fried flat tortilla shells are topped with lime-marinated orange roughy, onions, cilantro and jalapeños. But our favorite is the Shrimp Cocktail. This is not what you think; it's a big glass filled with pieces of shrimp, tomato juice, avocado pieces, cilantro and onion. The combination of flavors is ideal and not so very sweet as versions we've had elsewhere.

If you're with a group, consider the whole fried fish. Avoid the Roast Pork Platter, we found it to be fatty and salty. And the chimichangas were OK, but you'll do better elsewhere on the menu.

Don't miss the chili relleño. This traditional Mexican dish consists of a large poblano chili pepper -- not too hot -- roasted, peeled and stuffed with chicken and cheese. It's then baked in a tomato mole sauce that's simply delicious.

Another treat are "natural drinks." These are made fresh, not carbonated and not too sweet. We're simply nuts for the tamarind flavor and order it whenever we can. We also like the rice water, which is the perfect, smooth, almost milky drink to cut the spiciness of some of the hotter dishes.

Sabroso has a large number of vegetarian selections. They're open for late breakfast, and serve eggs with chorizo sausage, eggs with salsa and other Mexican breakfast treats.

earlier review: Cam Ranh Bay (Burnsville, MN)
later review: Grand India (Eagan, MN)
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