Previously known as the oldest restaurant in town, El Sombrero can now lay claim to some of the best Mexican food in the valley thanks to new ownership and new chef — Oscar Sanchez, formerly of Envy the Steakhouse.

Dining here on a Saturday afternoon, we were treated to an excellent array of dishes, starting with the well balanced quesillo fondue Mexicano ($12), with its blend of creamy cheeses, peppers providing hints of heat in a sauce with a touch of acidity. Following that was an excellent rendition of calamari — the spicy calamari a la brasa ($13). Different from your typical restaurant version in that it wasn’t breaded and fried, this charbroiled version delivered a subtle heat that lingered on the tongue.

El Sombrero has plenty of familiar dishes, like tacos, burritos, and tamales. But their food shows a passion and refinement that separates it from other spots. The depth in the roasted garlic tomatillo sauce in the tamal  de pollo ($14) elevates the dish and makes it anything but common.

The deft touch of the chefs is evident in their platters of meats. A filet, rib eye, and braised pork rib make up the Del Patron ($35). Both the filet and rib eye showcased a nice char and ample seasoning, while the pork unfortunately fell flat with its tough meat. A trio of sauces accompanied the platter but the beef hardly needed it. Side dishes proved to be as good as the proteins. The potatoes were excellent and the cream corn was a showstopper — the type of dish that will leave a lasting impression.

The highlight of the meal, however, was the mole semana santa ($16). Braised, bone-in chicken was smothered in a mole sauce comprised of more spices than you’ll ever pick out. It’s a blend of heat and smoke with hints of bitterness and ever so subtle sweetness  that will awaken you palate.

Ending the meal was a dulce de leche bread pudding dense and moist from a rich custard that packed enough sweetness to end the meal on a sweet note.

This isn’t the Mexican food found at lesser restaurants or chains. Dishes aren’t over-sauced, they’re perfectly seasoned, executed with the precision and passion that is superior to anything else of its kind in town.

4.5 Stars

807 S Main St
Las Vegas, NV 89101
(702) 382-9234

El Sombrero on Urbanspoon

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