Favorite Dishes #50: Fonda's Oaxacan Black Mole Enchiladas
Enchiladas smothered in chocolate-imbued Oaxacan mole
Mole is so much more than a sauce; it's an obsession. I speak from personal experience. While mole assumes countless forms, chef Roberto Santibañez at Fonda (434 Seventh Avenue, Brooklyn; 718-369-3144) excels at the chocolate-imbued negro style typical to the Oaxacan region of Mexico. Because it's most familiar to American eaters, the dish needs special attention to stand out in a crowded field. His enchiladas de mole negro Oaxagueño kick the competition to the curb.
To set the mole standard, Santibañez starts by stone-grinding a proprietary blend of cacao, nuts, chiles, and herbs until the resulting sauce attains a lush viscosity. Its unctuous, roasted flavors are brightened with a gentle drizzle of sour cream, crumbled queso fresco, cilantro, and sesame seeds. All of this blankets the tender protein at the center of the dish: chicken braised for so long it falls apart with the touch of a fork, rolled into three handmade, soft corn tortillas.
For $21, Fonda's black mole chicken enchiladas are by no means the cheapest dish you'll find on a Mexican menu, merely one of the best. As an added treat, pair it with their sensational mezcalita — one of the best mezcal cocktails in the city.
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