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.
The Village Voice is counting down to our Best of New York City issue in October. We’re combing the city every day, one dish at a time, to guide you to the most delicious food in NYC. These are our 100 Favorite Dishes for 2015, in no particular order, save for the top 10. To read about previous dishes, browse our 100 Favorite Dishes page.