EVERETT — Sopapillas are small, heavenly puffs of dough.
At The New Mexicans, they come warm, dusted with salt and accompanied by homemade honey butter.
Part doughnut, part salty beignet, part dinner roll, the combination is a scrumptious treat. At $3 for two, they’re worth doubling up. In fact, they’re worth the trip to this new Tex-Mex establishment.
If the rest of the food at this new downtown Everett restaurant wasn’t equally delicious, I’d be tempted to recommend the New Mexicans for the sopapillas alone.
The former tavern has transformed into an homage to the Southwest. While the menu resembles a Tex-Mex diner, the decor makes you feel like they’re visiting a pueblo or a Wild West movie set.
It’s down home cooking from a native New Mexican and delivers a dose of spicy, just north-of-the-border fare to Everett’s good restaurant choices.
Big comfy chairs and sofas fill the front, adding a loungelike atmosphere, while tables and a big bar dominate the remainder of the space. The kitchen is open, with pots and pans hanging from above and the day’s baked goods spread out on a big table to cool.
While the space is a bit dark, the service lightens things up. The waitress on my two visits was friendly, fun and efficient.
The New Mexicans offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. I had lunch twice, sampling most of the small menu.
A beef brisket sandwich ($8) featured slow baked meat slathered in a tasty barbecue sauce. My friends tried the pulled pork sandwich ($8), which was equally tender and juicy.
Both sandwiches came with a side of the pinto beans. The menu says the bean recipe is simple. I hope the cook decides to unsimplify and kick things up, adding a bit more flavor to the sauce. It also would be great to have the sandwiches come on homemade rolls offered elsewhere on the menu instead of onion buns (which paled next to the sopapillas).
On a repeat trip I had the green enchiladas ($5): a big plate of white-corn tortillas in a zingy cream sauce filled with green chiles and onions. It’s hard to find another plate of food that packs the value and flavor of those enchiladas.
A co-worker raved about her red enchiladas (2 for $8, 3 for $10) that come with a pair of eggs on top. Crisp greens added crunch and the heat had a spicy bite.
The fresh, bright green spinach salad ($3 for small, $6 for large) came with red onions, toasted pecans, slices of Bosc pear and dried cranberries. There was just the right amount of a house dressing, another co-worker said.
Other choices include a burger, salads and a house-smoked kielbasa hot dog ($5 or loaded with chili, onions and cheese for $7).
The restaurant has an in-house baker for those incredible sopapillas, and several more tantalizing items.
For breakfast, the giant cinnamon roll ($4) looked great, but disappointed a bit. It’s probably best right out of the oven with a cup of hot coffee.
There was nothing bad about the chocolate cake ($4). One portion easily was split among four people and still left us all satisfied. This isn’t fancy bakery cake. It’s like what your mom might have prepared: moist and fresh with buttery chocolate icing.
Jackson Holtz: 425-339-3447; firstname.lastname@example.org.
The New Mexicans
1416 Hewitt Ave., Everett; 425-512-8607.
Specialty: Tex-Mex and barbecue.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Price range: Moderate.
Liquor: Cocktails, wine and beer.
Vegetarian options: Limited.