Posted By Chris Ayers & Amy Briesch
12/17/2007 5:11:00 PM
There's not much on the road between Albuquerque and Farmington, save the scattering of restaurants in the small town of Cuba. We had intended to sample the posole stew at neighboring Frontier Café, but had to make a new plan upon finding it closed. Based on the strong showing of cars in the lot, we decided to try El Bruno's Restaurante and Cantina. We have encountered many a Mexican restaurant where the introductory salsa makes us question whether the food to come is worth the gustatory investment. Luckily, however, El Bruno's salsa was spectacular (spicy, flavorful, and accompanied by fresh chips), and whetted our appetite for the main course to come.
What better way to sample the culinary staples of New Mexico than by stuffing them into a big, warm sopapilla? This version was stuffed with chicken, beans, cheese, green chile, lettuce, and tomato. The dish was quite good, and enough to satisfy a hefty appetite, although we did long for a little more spice from the fillings. For our second dish, we chose the tried-and-true cheese enchilada plate. At El Bruno's you can have your enchiladas made with blue corn tortillas, which is a special treat seldom found outside of the Southwest. A classic version of New Mexico-style enchiladas, these tortillas are stacked rather than rolled, with layers of cheese in-between. Although we concluded that our preference is for the traditional rolled style, the enchilada sauce is flavorful and served in enough abundance to enhance the boilerplate beans and rice.
High on the list of our favorite things about New Mexico is the fact that Native American-style fry bread often marks the conclusion of a meal. Here, a pair of warm sopapillas comes as a complimentary accompaniment to the enchilada plate. We love how bottles of honey are thrown around like ketchup in New Mexican restaurants, and we liberally drizzled our doughy pillows with the sweet stickiness.