Friday, November 30, 2012

Sophia's Place

Sophia's Place
6313 4th St NW
Los Ranchos, NM

You know how on Christmas morning how disappointed you felt when you opened up that beautifully wrapped box under the tree only to find two pairs of new socks in it? That’s what it was like for us when we had lunch at Sophia’s Place. You might know that this restaurant was featured on the Food Channel’s “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives” and got a rave review from the host, Guy Fieri. We saw that episode and were excited to go to Sophia’s and have a wonderful meal. Unfortunately, our experience and Guy’s were not the same.

The first thing you must overcome when entering the restaurant is the EXTREME rustic nature of the place. It’s small, unorganized, absent any sort of décor, has a soda machine in the dining room, and the bathrooms are outside around the corner – rather like the bathrooms at a gas station. It was clean, but that really is all you can say about the ambience. There were several small Formica tables sitting haphazardly around the small room, the walls need paint and except for the gorgeous beamed ceiling (go figure) the place had no redeeming esthetic qualities.

When entering Sophia’s Place, you walk up to the cash register and order your meal from offerings written on blackboards posted on the walls. After you place your order you may get your own drinks from the soda fountain using a plastic cup (ugh) and find a seat. There is seating outside, which would be preferable, but it was a cool day and we chose to sit indoors.

We ordered the Lamb Enchiladas and the Baja Tacos with salmon. Service was relatively quick and soon we had our plates, which looked appetizing.

The Lamb Enchiladas were a huge disappointment. The lamb was ground lamb, which would have been fine had it not been cooked into oblivion and crunchy. Overall it was like the leavings left in the frying pan after you make hamburgers – those small, hard, pebbly pieces. All the lamb in the enchiladas was that way – tasty, but truly offensive. And there wasn’t much of it between the corn tortillas. There were diced potatoes mixed into it and the whole thing was covered with green chili. The chile tasted sweet and not spicy, and was not delicious. It came with a fresh mesclun salad that had a nice, refreshing vinaigrette, and was very good, and there was a serving of black re-fried beans that were spicy and delicious. The beans were the highlight of the plate and would be the only thing we would want again. 

Under the sea of chile and cheese are lamb enchiladas 

The Baja Tacos were filled with salmon that had been deep fried, had pico de gallo that was fresh and good, but the avocado slice looked old with its black pock spots and stringy texture. On top of that was a scoop of coleslaw and pickled onion. The coleslaw was thick with mayonnaise and way too heavy for a fish taco. It would have been nice if they had just added some cabbage instead. The taco itself was okay, but needed salt and we’ve had better fish tacos many times. The plate came with pinto beans and rice, both of which were dry and flavorless. And it came with the same mesclun salad that was the highlight of the plate.

Baja Tacos with salmon

Twice while were eating Native American hawkers came through trying to sell us jewelry, which was uncomfortable. As we ate we noticed that the empty tables weren’t being cleared and there were several dirty tables awaiting service.  There was only one other party inside and a couple outside. 

Our lunch – without tip – was over $31.00. That’s pricey for lunch, but worth it if the food is really good. Sadly, the food was not, the experience was not fun or even pleasant, and we don’t plan to return. We were so disappointed when we left Sophia’s.  After the stellar recommendation of the Food Network, we can see that things must have changed. There is no way Mr. Fieri would have highlighted what we got on his show!

Sophia's Place on Urbanspoon

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