Right Idea, So-So Execution
Imagine my joyful surprise when I heard about a new restaurant that opened recently in San Francisco.
Called the Green Chile Kitchen, it proclaims to “…serve New Mexican inspired food focusing on the distinctive flavors and traditions of this unique region.”
“We use Bueno chile in all our dishes, which has been owned and operated by the Baca family since 1951.”
Hold on. I know (and have eaten of the) Bueno chile.
Can it be? Is it so?
Is there actually true New Mexican cooking near enough to me to make it matter?
So you know what happened next. I made The Good Man take me there (he’s better at navigating San Francisco and the part of town where this is located is really unfamiliar to me).
Well. It’s ok, I guess. So-so on the “I’m from there and know better” scale.
I chose the usual first dish I try at a restaurant to see if it passes muster: a plate of green chile chicken enchiladas.
Here’s how the plate looked.
Not bad, right? Pretty enough.
First thing I noticed was they used green chile pieces but not any sauce on the enchiladas. Hmm. I’m used to a plate dowsed in sauce and melted cheese. But the cook does say this is more Santa Fe style, so ok. I went along with it.
The enchiladas are made how I like, sort of stacked style, but even though I ordered the hot chile, I have to say the whole plate lacked that zing I like (and crave).
They could use a lot more cumino along with a heavy dose of both garlic and onions.
And this is just me, but I like refrieds more than whole beans with enchiladas. Also, I’m pretty sure they didn’t cook the beans with fatback which is a sin against nature my home state, if you ask me.
So I’d give this whole meal about a B, maybe a B+. Far better than anything else I can get around here. No where near as good as Nopalitos.
Oh, and you can see in the top corner of the photo, I tried the Green Chile Cafe’s horchata. I consider myself an aficionado. This version was pretty bland, I thought. They seriously need to cut loose with the cinnamon shaker. If we go back I wouldn’t order it again. Four bucks it too much to pay for GOOD horchata, much less disappointment in a glass.