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Sofrita ambiance is everything.

Sofrita gets you in the mood to relax with cheery, thatch- covered umbrellas on the outside patio. You can almost imagine yourself in Latin America and upscale Latin American cuisine is the focus of their menu. I love a good taco so that narrowed down my selection to the taco sampler, five different tacos served with green and red salsas. I have to admit I was disappointed in the black bean and potato taco as well as the vegetable taco which contained only yellow squash and zucchini. The black bean and potatoes were an odd combination which needed a good dose of seasoning and sauce, as it was rather on the dry side. When I think vegetable taco I don’t think squash-only taco. I would have liked to bite into some crisp onion, roasted corn and sweet tomatoes along with the squash.

The chicken, pork and beef tacos made up for the lack of flavor in the other two tacos. All were tender meat and well-flavored, although there was no heat. The salsas were very mild as well. That’s okay because you can add hot sauce to boost the fire power. Keep in mind the tacos are small only about 4 inches in diameter. If you want beans and rice they must be ordered ala carte as they aren’t included with the dishes, although they are very reasonably priced extras.

What’s fun about the restaurant are all the small plates. Instead of ordering an entrĂ©e for each guest think of ordering a couple of small plates or tapas instead and share. Try the shrimp tacos and add the Arizona spicy hummus plate flavored with jalapeno, lime and cilantro and served with pita wedges and veggies. The fried potato wedges with mustard aioli round out the meal.

There are lots of gluten-free options and for those who only eat organic, Sofrita offers an organic Tuscan kale salad with oat grains, assorted veggies and raspberry vinaigrette.

Next time I go I’m ordering the bruschetta platter — four slices of toasted bread with whatever toppings you like from their bruschetta menu, such as brie, apples and jam, bacon tomatoes and romaine or chicken salad.

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Name: Dee Power

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