La Cosecha Comes Alive

Park-side restaurant fuses Mexican flavors with California favorites

By Greg Sabin
June 2019

Face it, we’re an outdoor town. Nine to 10 months out of the year, you can dine alfresco, sip drinks on rooftops or throw a party on the riverbank.

In March, we saw more rain than sun, but when that sun came out so did everyone in town. Drake’s BARN in West Sacramento had so many people on the first sunny day in March that it nearly ran out of beer. Paragary’s legendary Midtown patio has full seating on any day the sun shines. Picnics abound. Spontaneous gatherings coalesce around decks, poolsides and porches.

Sipping margaritas and eating fine Mexican fare by a bustling Sacramento park, then, makes all the sense in the world. La Cosecha is a festive, unfussy restaurant that takes full advantage of its sizable patio space, outdoor bar and natural surroundings. Tucked into the south side of Cesar Chavez Plaza, this Sacramento restaurant takes over a city-owned building that has been more of a grab-n-go snack shack in previous years.       

Restaurateur Ernesto Delgado moved into the space in 2017 and put some signature spins on the concept right away. His first move was to partner with chef Adam Pechal to help design the menu. Also lending a hand was cocktail expert Chris Sinclair. The blending of styles and influences makes this spot a true expression of Sacramento dining. Whereas Delgado’s other restaurants, Tequila Museo Mayahuel in Downtown and Mesa Mercado in Carmichael, are much more about highlighting the bounty and diversity of Mexican cuisine, La Cosecha is a delightful fusion of Mexican flavors and California-casual favorites.

On La Cosecha’s menu you’re just as likely to find a queso-laden burger as you are a taco. In the bar, you’ll find mezcal in your Moscow Mule and maybe even snuck into your Old Fashioned. The mash-up of flavors and ingredients makes for a fun, cheeky dining experience.

On a bright summer’s day or languidly warm evening, the large outdoor patio surrounding two sides of La Cosecha’s cozy interior is a place to dine, drink and enjoy the weather. On an especially hot weekend, sneak in early and take advantage of a wonderfully fun brunch under spreading leaves in the City of Trees.

You can start your meal with a perfectly serviceable guacamole or step a little bit livelier with a dish of chilled shrimp in salsa verde or a bowl of esquite, a mixture of corn kernels, lime, cotija and crema. Or you could just stick with the surprisingly good chips and salsa. It seems odd to mention chips and salsa in a restaurant feature, but, trust me, they’re good enough to mention.

On the more traditionally Mexican (or at least California-Mexican) side of the menu, the Mission-style burritos are spot on with beautifully browned tortillas, well spiced rice, and more meat and beans than are recommended in one sitting. The fish tacos are a real standout, featuring gorgeously fried fish, crema and pickled vegetables. My good friend Bob, the same chap who last month proclaimed that Luigi’s Pizza had his favorite crust in town, claimed the fish tacos are some of the best he’s had in recent memory. Now you might think him a generous critic, but I know he rarely gives praise if it isn’t due.

On the fun side of things, the Torta Delgado is simply one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had. Expertly sautéed shrimp, jicama slaw, bacon and a creamy chipotle sauce all served on perfect ACME bread make for bite after bite of pure joy. My wife watched me eat the thing with a look of amazement on her face as I tried to wedge the sandwich through my rather goofy smile. I will be back soon, and often, for that sandwich.

Without a doubt, the bar is a gathering place. A large outdoor area and a smaller indoor space make La Cosecha a pretty good bet day or night. A creative bar menu, mixing Mexican spirits with American recipes, makes for some fun and refreshing combinations. Seasonal sangria can tempt even the most temperate souls on a particularly hot day.

Thanks to its prime Downtown location—just blocks from the Golden 1 Center, across the street from City Hall and just steps from city-center hotels—La Cosecha is a convenient and laid-back destination whether you work, live or play Downtown. It’s a good spot to enjoy the weather, no matter what the weather may be.

La Cosecha is at 917 9th St.; (916) 970-5354; lacosechasacramento.com.

Greg Sabin can be reached at gregsabin@hotmail.com. Our Inside Sacramento Restaurant Guide and previous reviews can be found and shared at the all-new insidesacramento.com.  

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