Rincon Del Sol can become a vice


guessing you were a
big Miami
Vice fan,” said colleague Carin over
lunch at Boulder’s Rincon Del Sol.
“You’re absolutely right,” I replied,
recalling that series’ mix of dynamic
visuals, dramatic spice, and a bit of
cheese, courtesy of Don Johnson’s formidable
thespian talents. A certain degree of
predictability also contributed to my
enjoyment of this show; you could always
count on the shoot-out before the percussive
title credits, the obligatory rock star
cameo, and a Ferrari chase thrown in for
good measure.

Oddly enough, what made me relish
this pop culture relic was pretty darn similar
to the enjoyable attributes of Rincon
Del Sol. Hewing to the contours of the
classic California-style Mexican restaurant,
this brightly colored and folk artfestooned
eatery offers up a textbook
combo plate menu, as well as seafood specialties.
There’s also a menu of burritos as
well as sizzling fajita platters.

Akin to the familiar Vice opening
credits, our meal began with the expected
complimentary chips and salsa. The
tomato-based salsa was better than most,
with a bouquet of fresh cilantro and smoky peppers
(dramatic spice, anyone?), revealing more than a hint of
chipotle. An equally satisfying accompaniment was the
rich and smooth bean dip, which when combined with
the thin, crisp and warm chips, could serve as a standalone

While there are several lunch combination specials
available for well under a 10-spot, Carin and I made
like a couple of cash-flush Vice villains and ordered up
two of the priciest combination plates. I went for my
usual Mexican restaurant benchmark dish, the $15.99
Tampiqueña. By definition a slab of carne asada sided
with an enchilada, this is a selection that
you’re as likely to find in Mexico as you
are in the United States.

Delivered by our professionally lowkey
server, this was a more than satisfactory
option. The enchilada stood out from
others by virtue of its complex mole sauce,
balancing chocolate and spice. Hearty
chunks of chicken, as opposed to the
usual feeble shreds, also lent depth to this
south of the border workhorse. A side of
refried beans was properly creamy and liberally
sprinkled with queso, as opposed to
Johnsonian cheese. Carne asada, the other
star attraction, was chewy, as restaurant
versions of this dish tend to be. On the
plus side, it possessed a rich steak flavor,
which was nicely complemented by grilled
green onion.

Carin’s grandly named $20.99 Tour of
Mexico was similar to my platter, albeit
larger with the addition of shrimp in a
spicy tomato sauce. The shrimp were
chunky specimens, undermined by a
mealy texture. While the sauce possessed
a fair but not overwhelming degree of
pepper, Carin felt the flavor veered too
closely into ketchup territory.
Nevertheless, she enjoyed the asada and
enchilada, and had enough left over for

Pricing our premium combination
plates for less might be more in line with
comparable local restaurants. However,
the lunch special combo plates, with their
archetypical tacos and enchiladas, as well
as less frequently encountered choices
such as arroz con pollo, should satisfy a diner’s need for
economy. Where Rincon Del Sol undoubtedly shines is
with its delivery of a California-style Mexican experience,
as comfortingly predictable as a Miami Vice episode.

Clay’s Obscurity Corner: Today’s stars on Miami Vice

Many remember Miami Vice for its cameos of such pop stars as Phil Collins and Glenn Frey. Today, however, more pleasure is derived from watching the show to see several nowfamous actors in early minor roles. Nearly half the cast of Pulp Fiction showed up on Vice, including a pre-Moonlighting Bruce Willis, Ving Rhames, Paul Calderon and Steve Buscemi. Foreign film fans will note appearances by Lothaire Bluteau, star of Jesus of Montreal and Black Robe, and Like Water for Chocolate director Alfonso Arau. But arguably the greatest cameo was that of singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen as a French intelligence operative.