Milagro Cafe, Stonington


By Dan Pearson

While the dishes at Milagro’s in Stonington Borough are happy comfort food, they are by no means the mauve monochrome glop of typical Tex Mex. No, chef (and owner) Martin Zavala is just that: a chef. And the dishes coming out of his kitchen represent a refined take on authentic Mexican. The standard lunch and dinner menu features all the favorites, with tacos, quesadillas, chiles rellenos etc. But Chef Zavala uses the daily specials to flex, invent, and inform. A recent Saturday, for example, saw a chorizo cactus soup, elegant avocado and tuna taquitos, chorizo and flounder with a cactus and green sauce, and a cochinita pibil (a slow roasted pork dish wrapped in banana leaves.) Milagro’s has been a fixture in the Borough for years. This winter,  however, when a pipe burst, the restaurant decided to see this as an opportunity to conduct a long-anticipated renovation and expansion. The previous Milagro’s was dark and cramped, despite the lively decor, but now it has brightened, added upstairs seating, lengthened the bar, and opened the kitchen so the diners may see Zavala and his crew at work. A word of warning:  weekend evenings lately have been mobbed, with wait times of anywhere from a half hour to an hour. But the system works: The bar takes your cell number and calls you when a table is ready. In addition to bottled Mexican beers, the Milagro’s tap list includes a changing selection of local craft draughts. House margaritas remain generous. And, speaking of margaritas: While many of us associate tequila with a night in the college infirmary after a daring succession of upside-down margaritas, Zavala and his staff continue to sing the merits of tequila taken neat and savored. The bar offers flights and stocks an extensive gantry to educate patrons to learn that tequila done right has all the smoke, diversity, and complexity of a single-malt.

142 Water Street in Stonington

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