Make mine mole

miguel.jpgFonda San Miguel serves the best mole poblano on this side of the border. That’s not just my opinion. We took advantage of the holiday depopulation of Austin to avoid reservations and waits on Monday. The mole is so popular that it was tough to persuade others at the table to order other dishes, but here’s what I sampled. The off-menu specials tried were both too delicious to believe. Tacos al pastor came with flavor-packed morsels of lean, browned pork enclosed in hand-formed homemade tortillas and accompanied by two salsas, one of which was an orange mystery that seemed to contain pineapple among its complex and mouth-watering flavors and the other of which was a tomatillo sauce very different from the salsa verde that, along with a salsa roja, accompanies the tostadas that come to the table with the menu. These tasty items should be on the menu all the time. I ordered another special, duck enchiladas that were accompanied by an earthy and tasty sauce that contained poblano peppers. Upon these, also, I would gladly feast again. Someday, I hope to return to my old favorite, fish of the day prepared veracruzano-style, but it’s tough to bypass those special items right up front before the regular dishes on the menu. The mole, of course, was wonderful. The additional tortillas come to the table hot from the comal and are never wasted. Replete, we did not order desserts or even any coffee, which has always been among the better cups in town. In fact, there was a time when San Miguel and Chez Nous offered the only decent after-dinner coffee to be found in all of Austin. The constants here remain: friendly yet discreet professional service; one of the best bars in town, with bartenders stumped by no unusual order (planter’s punch, anyone?); classic and generous Margaritas, straight up and not sweet; a talkative bird in the comfortable courtyard; and an oasis of civility, where the diner receives full value.

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