Restaurant of the Week: El Sinaloense

El Sinaloense, 9673 Sierra Ave. (at San Bernardino), Fontana; open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, and at 9 a.m. Friday to Sunday

Note: This post, about a meal in February, was prepared in early March, prior to the coronavirus shutdown.

On my way to a Fontana council meeting one recent evening, I saw the glowing sign for El Sinaloense and on an impulse pulled into the parking lot. It’s in a small business center with an insurance office and more, with the restaurant in the elbow of the L-shaped complex.

There’s a large dining room painted a cheery orange with green accents. You have your choice of booths or tables, and they’ll wait on you. El Sinaloense means “The Sinaloan” and is such a popular song in the banda style that it’s practically the Mexican state’s anthem.

The menu has tacos, burritos, mulitas and tostadas, with an emphasis on seafood and birria, which is stewed goat or beef (the menu didn’t specify which). In fact they make an item called the quesabirria, a quesadilla with birria.

Birria fan though I am, I went for a single taco gobernador ($5.50), which is marlin and shrimp, after being assured the tacos are large. (A poster on the wall showed two on a plate, but an order is just one.) A few minutes later, the cook brought it to my table and presented it with a near-flourish. The taco was indeed large, in a handmade corn tortilla, with small shrimp, chunks of marlin and a bit of melted cheese, the whole thing grilled. On the side was shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes and onions, and a cup of avocado cream sauce.

The result was delicious, especially spiked with the condiments. This would not have constituted a meal under most circumstances, but being moderately hungry, the taco was moderately filling, so I left satisfied.

El Sinaloense also serves beer and Micheladas (the restaurant’s name ends with “Tacos & Beer”) and $25 towers of meat and vegetables for groups. As I left, the dining room that had been near-empty at 6 p.m. was getting busier. I’m glad I pulled into El Sinaloense.

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