MILL VALLEY (CBS SF) – There is a new culinary kid on the block in Mill Valley – Playa – giving diners and imbibers reason to hang out even when the sidewalks are rolled up. This new spot is serving inspired Mexican fare with well crafted cocktails and a kitchen that remains open until 10:30pm most nights of the week.
At the helm in the kitchen Executive Chef Omar Huerta with cooking credentials all over the Bay Area including: Comal, Copita, Picco & Zero Zero.
The team behind Playa is also impressive: Bill Higgins (Bix, Bar Bocce, Zero Zero Fog City in San Francisco and in Mill Valley: Buckeye Roadhouse) and Bungalow 44 with Peter Schumacher. For Bill’s brilliant wife Vanessa, Playa was and is her passion project. She works the room like a Politician but with heart, a hand shake here and a hug here checking on orders and taking diners to their tables. Vanessa “owns” the room. And partner Jim Whaley General Manager extraordinare who gets service and conviviality like no other.
Playa sits on a sundrenched slice of downtown Mill Valley. The charming redbrick building, former home to the town’s cherished Sonapa café for more than 35-years has been thoughtfully restored to create a welcoming, contemporary environment. It offers al fresco dining to be enjoyed equally on warm days and cool nights.
Drop in for a crafted cocktail at the Playa bar. The Kill Bill Margherita is a kick in the pants and inspired by Bill Higgins. It’s a personal favorite.
Best seat in the house for me at least, is at the counter along the wide open kitchen as dinner theatre with the chef and cooking crew unfolds before you.
Chef shared the recipe for his Bohemia Battered Cod Tacos. One of five taco options on the menu but these crispy, fishy tacos happen to be my favorite.
Enjoy my tasty talk with Chef Omar Huerta and the team behind Playa.
No matter where you are in the Bay Area it’s worth the drive to Mill Valley to Playa for lunch or dinner. I cannot wait to return for more.
Chef Omar Huerta’s
Bohemia Battered Cod Tacos
Makes 6 tacos
- 6 small corn tortillas
- 9oz Pacific Cod cut into 1.5oz pieces
- Rice oil
- Mexislaw; Finely sliced purple and green cabbage
- 3 tbsp cup Orange Juice
- 2 tbsp cup Lemon Juice
- 2 tbsp cup Lime Juice
- 1 diced Shallots
- 1 1/2 Tbsp Toasted Cumin
- 1/4 cup Raw Agave
- 1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Avocado
- ¼ cup Sour Cream
- 1/2 Tsp Salt
Chile Arbol Salsa:
- 3 Toasted Chile Arbol
- 1 Garlic Clove
- 2 Tbsp water
- Pinch of salt
- Micro cilantro as a garnish
- Mix all the dry ingredients for the batter and add the beer until it’s a light thick consistency.
- Dip the fish in the batter and drop into the deep fryer (use rice oil) for 2 minutes or until a light golden brown. Take out and pat the fish dry on a napkin.
- Spread across tortilla 1 tbspn of avocado cream and place the fish on top.
- Place 1 tbsp of Chile Arbol Salsa on the fish.
- In a separate bowl mix the Mexislaw with the Cumin Citrus Vinaigrette and place a small amount on top of the fish.
- Garnish with Micro Cilantro. Buen provecho
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