Restaurant Review: Sugar Skull Cafe

A great place to begin the day in Trinity Groves.

I could start every morning sipping a cortado and watching the sky lighten over the city from Sugar Skull’s deck in Trinity Groves. The baristas are skilled, and owner Jonn Baudoin picked Ascension Coffee blends especially for bold, chocolatey flavor. Eyes open, you’re ready for Sugar Skull’s take on Mexican forms and flavors. Reinvented migas are made not with tortilla chips but gnocchi-like pillows of fresh masa engulfed in a bright-orange, velvety sauce. Bountiful, too, are breakfast tacos, big as burritos, packed with egg (except the vegan) and wrapped in house-made flour tortillas. Barely contained chorizo dripped spicy juices mingled with honey. With the exception of limp chicharrón, simpler street-style tacos presented single, well-executed proteins. Shredded beef cheek barbacoa was remarkably tender; plancha-grilled bistek held a deep sear. My favorite, though, were signature tacos. Thick corn tortillas—fresh masa, with ground corn for bite—were a fitting backdrop for spicy shrimp, achiote-rubbed chicken accentuated by pickled shallot, or a garlicky tangle of grilled vegetables. Despite the appeal of housemade dulce de leche, churros are a heavy ending if you’ve run taco-wild. Mañana there will be marvelous coffee—and pan dulce.

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