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Authentic Mexican Brunch At El Centro

Posted by Michelle Zippelli  November 2, 2011 08:29 PM

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I love everything about the restaurants on Shawmut Street, but finding a spot for breakfast or lunch on a Saturday is not an easy task. Jacki and I almost lost hope for good food last Saturday when we realized Coppa and Franklin Cafe don't open until dinnertime, then we walked down the street to the always reliable Orinoco, and it too was closed for a private party. It was starting to rain and we were starving and hungover without a plan. That's when the stars aligned and we noticed El Centro across the street, the sign outside read "open for Brunch." Umm what? Brunch on a Saturday on Shawmut? YES. It does exist.


El Centro joined Shawmut’s all-star restaurant lineup back in May, and apparently just introduced a brunch menu into their repertoire. I enjoyed dinner at El Centro a few times, and adore their authentic dishes; the owner uses his father’s original recipes from Sonora, Mexico in everything from the tortillas to the churros to the chilaquiles (i'll get to those in a second). The restaurant itself also has a very authentic vibe, the salt shakers, photos on the walls, and even the toilet came straight from Mexico.


We started the meal with some spicy sangria (which is a must-try at El Centro) and a couple fish tacos (because brunch appetizers are standard procedure on Saturday and Sunday mornings). The crispy fish taco was topped with a mild avocado sauce and a crunchy cabbage slaw, the warm and stretchy homemade tortilla really made it. After eating this I wanted to order every taco, but decided I should probably refrain given the Mexican egg dishes we had already ordered...

huevos rancheros

Nothing says Mexican brunch like huevos rancheros. This version was pretty good, the pico de gallo added a lot of flavor, and the crispy tortilla was soaked with the yolk of the runny eggs. However, I have to comment on the lack of black beans, isn't that a major component of huevos? Maybe in the American version of the dish and not authentic Mexican? No se, pero yo queria frijoles negros.


The chilaquiles were the highlight of brunch. I have only tried this dish in Mexico, so it was exciting to see it on the menu. I was so excited that I broke my "no chicken for breakfast" rule and ordered it anyway. Chilaquiles are fried tortilla strips topped with sauce, meat and cheese. This version was piled high with pulled chicken, a ranchero-type sauce, eggs over easy, lots of cheese, and a sour cream-like sauce. It was like an inside-out breakfast chimichanga explosion on my plate, with a side of refried beans.


Finally we tried the scrambled eggs with cactus, cheese, poblano peppers and chipotle sauce. The chipotle gave the entire dish a smokey taste, which is definitely out of the ordinary for scrambled eggs. This dish was also a favorite, especially for our spice-loving friend who came and joined us at brunch; the flavors were truly unique.

El Centro brunch is one of a kind, and the prices are very reasonable. The fact that it was open on Saturday made our day. Definitely check it out if you ever get sick of ordering bloody marys and eggs benedict at brunch week after week.

472 Shawmut Ave
Boston 02118

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
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About the authors

Michelle Zippelli is a Boston based hedonist who is committed to finding the best food that Boston has to offer. She has lived in Boston for 6 years and works in online marketing. Michelle loves meatballs, live music, exotic cheeses, Mexican food, spur of the moment dance parties, and all things pickled.
Jacki Morisi is a self-proclaimed bon vivant extraordinaire. A Boston native whose waking hours are exclusively focused on travel, music, food, and fare ... emphasis on food and fare. She's a firm believer that just because you're living on a young professional's budget doesn't mean you have to sacrifice taste, and carries this mantra into each and every dining endeavor.
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Jacki and Michelle also co-write the Boston-based food blog
Email Jacki and Michelle:
Follow Jacki on Twitter @jacki_mo and Michelle @Meeshz
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