Let’s all say Mucho Bueno and a well deserved Mucho Gracias to Restaurateur Irma Aguirre for transforming the 64 year old El Sombrero Restaurant on 807 S. Main Street. She has done a remarkable make over to bring a fresh new face and bright lively tastes to the once old school Las Vegas eatery. Irma will have to knock out a few more walls once the word gets out on how “hot” this little tamale can be as the customers may be lining up to experience the lively authentic flavors of Mexico.
Utilizing the small dining space with open seating and crisp black and white décor, exposed brick wall accented with mirrors. Although the room gets noisy with the excited gossip of the local diners, the space is inviting and casual.
We sampled of El Sombrero’s offerings, along with a conversation with Irma and her staff. We invited a friend to just happened to be in town to join us. She is perhaps one of the least culinary adventurous eaters that we have ever met. Recently she has become more interested in expanding her culinary horizons and she was able to try some real authentic Mexican food. As we tried the house made guacamole with a twang of heat and dotted with chunks of ripe tomatoes she remarked that the chips were the best she had ever had and we had to agree. Usually chips have a tendency to be rather greasy but these were light and crispy, perfect to load up with all the lovely guacamole. Off to a great start, we tried the flavored waters and then homemade Sangrias that were refreshing and authentic.
Scanning the menu, Calamari caught our attention and waited in great anticipation for it to arrive tableside. This gift from the sea, thankfully was not breaded, it was charbroiled and touched off with a homemade sauce of squid ink to our palates delight. This dish alone is a reason to visit El Sombrero for lunch or dinner.
Irma suggested we try the chile relleno and we can see why. This classic dish with a new spin is probably the best we have ever had. A Mexican favorite, this version features poblano chili ala brasa filled with rich butternut squash potato, onion, a blend of Mexican cheeses on a bed of charro beans and a roasted tomato-oregano sauce. El Sombrero’s chile relleno will become a signature that guests will travel for miles to enjoy.
As owner Irma Aguirre states, “This is true comfort food with authentic sauces and ingredients. Anyone can do rice and beans but we do it with love.” That love and respect for authentic Mexican Cuisine comes shining through in every dish. With this unrelenting desire and passion to elevate the palate of every diner, this will indeed become a destination eatery.
For those who want traditional tacos, El Sombrero has a tasty assortment that is sure to please. Select from chicken, chorizo, rib eye, fish and carne asada all served with homemade tortillas and Mexican garnishes. To get the meal started right we highly suggest shredded brisket flautas , spinach and mushroom quesadillas and the bean dip. Don’t forget the wine list featuring very nice Mexican wines to complement your dining adventure.
The El Sombrero experienced put a big grin on our friends’ face as she tasted flavors that she had never even dreamed off. Irma and El Sombrero opened her eyes to a whole new world and we are certain it will do the same to anyone who takes a seat at this newest hot spot at the gateway to downtown Las Vegas.
Aguirre and her team have taken a classic local restaurant spot and evolved it into something exciting. On December 1, El Sombrero Cafe will begin Saturday and Sunday brunch, already growing and changing an energetic and welcome addition to the Downtown scene. Put it on your must-try list.