Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - Coco Iñiguez and daughter Vanessa Villegas continue their fine breakfast and lunch items for which the ladies have been famous in Southside for years, as Cinnamon French Toast with cream cheese, Pancakes, Omelets as Greek Feta, Eggs al Gusto or Benedict.
However, a visit during 2011 Vallarta Restaurant Week proved that Coco's Kitchen is also a great spot for an evening meal.
The front covered airy dining area overlooking passersby on the sidewalk is lovely, but on a fine evening the rear garden seating is the preferred spot. There you sit in open air, surrounded by dozens of small to enormous plants, one almost becomes part of the jungle.
The floors and walls are old brick and tables are sheltered by white canvas umbrellas. A big Ficus (Higuera) tree soars overhead. At night the clear sky sparkles above in the darkness broken by hundreds of twinkling stars.
Coco's brother Ruben heads dinner with an emphasis on Greek (especially on Monday nights.) He hails from his Karpathos days. A complimentary dip of Skordalia, a purée of potato or stale bread with garlic and olive oil, with crisp crackers emphasized the Greek leanings.
Coco's 2011 Restaurant Week Menu features 3 sumptuous starters:
Coco's Salad: presented slivered with beets, mango, almond and goat cheese tossed in a guava vinaigrette. A regular menu pleaser offered nightly.
Grilled Polenta: With red bell pepper, freshly grated Parmesan and basil. Two firm squares of cornmeal polenta were lightly fried, then displayed on intense pesto featuring the straight forward flavor and aroma of fresh basil.
Cream of Pumpkin Soup: Highly puréed pumpkin, cream and ginger, with Crema Mexicana, fresh butter-rich table cream, swirled in circles on top. Smooth and impressive.
Three entrées are offered on the May Restaurant Festival menu:
Baked Sea Bass Fillet: Stuffed with shrimp, served au gratin - cheese melted over the fillet - enhanced by dill cream sauce.
Chicken Breast: Stuffed with zucchini blossom and goat cheese moistened by a sauce of puréed orange-colored squash flowers and cumin laid over herb green rice.
Beef Medallions: Good-sized portions of tender beef generously covered with Bordelaise sauce, a rich red wine shallot brown demi-glace, accompanied by a scoop of mashed potatoes lightly dusted with chile.
The desserts ensured everyone would remember they are in the tropics:
Passion Fruit Cheesecake: Rich and creamy smooth cheesecake baked with pieces of fresh bold passion fruit.
Coconut Flan: Firm custard, with no overheating bubble holes, mixed with small shavings of fresh coconut then served with the usual thin browned sugar syrup.
Coconut Ice Cream with Caramelized Mango: Creamy and wonderful filled with mango pieces and covered with mango cooked in a caramel sauce.
If the weather permits, the garden is most enjoyed, but the interior protected seating is pleasant if the skies open up. The place exudes comfort, relaxation and friendliness. This is often the result of a family wishing to welcome guests and make their stay as enjoyable as possible.
Open Thursday through Tuesday (closed Wednesdays) for Breakfast and Lunch from 8 am to 3 pm and 5-11 pm for dinner, Coco's Kitchen is located at Pulpito #122 on the South side of Puerto Vallarta. Catering is also available; ask for details. For more information, call (322) 223-0373 or visit CocosKitchen.net. Please Note: Credit Cards are NOT accepted.
The author was supplied one choice in each of the 3 courses on the special Restaurant Week menu and this review is in no way connected to his independent restaurant guide, "Puerto Vallarta Restaurant Guide Beck's Best", where write-ups receive no compensation.
Restaurant Week continues through May 31st at some of the most recognized restaurants in Puerto Vallarta. For a list of participating restaurants and Restaurant Week 2011 reviews click HERE.