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PHX: New Mexican Food Downtown

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Several restaurant operators have cited business difficulties due to light rail and other construction projects, and a few have even closed. Given the difficulties of operating with torn-up streets, it is inspiring to see a new restaurant open directly along the path of the light rail line. The owners of Suenos New Mexican Cafe have done just that, opening in Spring of 2007 just a block west of the 12th St. / Washington (westbound) and 12th St. / Jefferson (eastbound) light rail stations currently under construction. Suenos is located in Azteca Plaza, a shopping center on Washington Street dominated by wedding-oriented businesses, and occupies a space that was once home to the popular but long-defunct Menudo Pot restaurant.

Suenos serves a familiar array of border specialties, including tacos, enchiladas, burros, tostadas, chimichangas, and flautas. All are competently prepared with quality ingredients. What makes Suenos different from numerous other restaurants nearby is its half dozen New Mexican specialties, all of them named for places in the Land of Enchantment. Nearly all feature a choice of red or green chile stew with meat, and several incorporate sopapillas. The most interesting item is the Las Cruces, Sonoran-style enchiladas which are stacked rather than rolled and then topped with a fried egg and red or green chile. All entrees are preceded by complimentary chips and hot sauce.

Service is fast-casual in style, with orders taken at the counter and food delivered to each customer's chosen table. Staff are consistently friendly and helpful in answering questions about unfamiliar menu items. The only disappointment with Suenos is the beverage selection, which is currently limited to fountain sodas and bottled water. A selection of fruit juices, aqua frescas, or similar drinks might add variety. No alcohol is served. Suenos is open from 10 AM until 6 PM Tuesday through Friday, and 9 AM until 3 PM Saturday.

1010 E. Washington St., Phoenix, AZ, 85034
602-528-3535

Map: http://tinyurl.com/3x8rme

Photos and more restaurant mini-reviews available at PHX Rail Food: http://phxrailfood.blogspot.com

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  1. silverbear,

    You've mentioned this place before and it's an excitng new option. Would you please comment on some of the food they have? Can you compare/contrast the red and green chili? Is beef the way to go, or are there viable pork/chicken/veggie options?

    Beans ... la olla, borracho, frijoles? Whole, mashed. lard, no lard, black, pinto, none of the above? Sorry to fire so many unfair questions, but it's always great to hear about a new place with a fresh approach.

    1 Reply
    1. re: misohungrychewlow

      Hi. I don't have all the answers to your questions, but here's what I have observed after three visits:

      -- Green chile is hotter; both are good.
      -- Green and red chile stews are made with beef, I believe. I don't think there is any pork on the menu. Tacos, flautas, and enchiladas (standard, not the Sonoran ones) come in beef and chicken versions. Meatless (although not necessarily vegetarian) options include the bean and cheese burro, the bean tostada, and cheese enchiladas.
      -- Most dishes involve frijoles, but some of the New Mexican specialties include whole beans (pinto, I believe). I'm not sure about lard content; that's usually something I'd rather not know.

    2. It is indeed a bold move to open in the path of the light rail construction, but this is a great opportunity and a great find, sb.

      1. I can't wait to try this place. I love the New Mexican take on red and green sauces and will be sure to try them out... repeat if good.

        1. Update: Suenos has closed. In its place, Los Dos Molinos has moved in and opened for business as of yesterday. This is a fifth location rather than a replacement for any of the existing four sites.

          -----
          Los Dos Molinos
          1010 E Washington St, Phoenix, AZ 85034

          1 Reply
          1. re: silverbear

            Wow. Unexpected, since all of the girls seem to already have their own places. I wonder who's running this one.