Trío de Mex­ico

Pasatiempo - - RESTAURANT REVIEW - Alex Heard

In this city, you never know when you’ll find a promis­ing restau­rant tucked away in an un­ex­pected spot. Tres Colores is a good ex­am­ple: It’s in the Fash­ion Out­lets of Santa Fe, which you can reach ei­ther by tak­ing one of the ex­its off I-25 or go­ing far south on Cer­ril­los Road, well past the Santa Fe Auto Park. Lately there’s been ma­jor road work out there, so be pre­pared for pos­si­ble or­ange-bar­rel con­fu­sion.

The out­let mall sits in a windswept part of town, and when you duck in­side Tres Colores — tucked be­tween a Puma store and an empty com­mer­cial suite — you get the homey feel­ing of en­ter­ing a quiet, color­ful refuge. It’s a roomy place, with sturdy wood chairs and ta­bles evenly spaced on a beige-tile floor. Over­head, a huge, blue-trimmed sky­light gives the in­te­rior a bright glow, and there are fam­ily-restau­rant touches here and there, in­clud­ing hand-painted wall mu­rals, a cab­i­net full of Mex­i­can clay fig­urines, and an old-fash­ioned tamale cart. Added bonus: The food is usu­ally pretty good, so when you’re out that way, Tres Colores is worth try­ing. I wish there were a clone of it closer to down­town.

The menu is la­beled “Cui­sine of Southern Mex­ico,” which in prac­tice seems to mean that Tres Colores serves a few dishes that fea­ture mole (in­clud­ing mole chicken en­chi­ladas), a shrimp salad, and a Ver­acruz-style posole with chicken, shred­ded cab­bage, lime, and radish. Be­yond that, mostly what you’ll see is a range of fa­mil­iar Mex­i­can and New Mex­i­can of­fer­ings — carne asada ta­cos, tamales, bur­ri­tos, tostadas, chi­laquiles, flau­tas — along with tor­tas, ham­burg­ers, and sal­ads. There’s a menu for kids (it in­cludes French toast and a que­sadilla), spe­cialty drinks like Mex­i­can hot chocolate and rice hor­chata, and a six-item break­fast menu, with both break­fast and lunch/ din­ner food avail­able at any time Tres Colores is open.

On a re­cent visit, we sam­pled things from both sides of the aisle, start­ing with Mex­i­can hot chocolate that was dis­ap­point­ing (it was thin and had a weak chocolate taste) and an or­der of gua­camole that was worth cheer­ing about. Good, fresh av­o­ca­dos were mixed with tomato, onion (chopped very finely), cilantro, and jalapeño, and the por­tion was gen­er­ous — enough for two peo­ple to work through a bas­ket of tor­tilla chips and have guac left over to slather on en­trees.

The two break­fast selections we or­dered were a mixed bag. We both found the vege­tar­ian break­fast bur­rito a bit bland — the main in­gre­di­ents, wrapped in­side a large flour tor­tilla, were scram­bled eggs, un­re­mark­able roasted potato chunks, onion, squash, and bell pep­pers, with bright-yel­low ched­dar cheese melted on top. I liked a house spe­cialty called huevos à la Tres Colores — eggs scram­bled with toma­toes, onion, and jalapeños and grouped with sides of black beans and roasted pota­toes. The beans were bet­ter than the pota­toes, which could use more sea­son­ing.

An­other strength at Tres Colores are the tamales, which are billed as be­ing house-made and cer­tainly seem like it. We tried two — chicken mole and green chile veg­etable — and both had a good fill­ing-to-masa ra­tio. The mole used here is tasty and cho­co­latey enough, but not very spicy.

Dur­ing a sec­ond trip, I tried a Cubana sand­wich, which com­bines what the menu calls “sub-bun bread” (which turns out to mean white bread in a round, rather than ob­long shape), roasted pork, ham, Swiss cheese, and thin smears of re­fried black beans, rel­ish, and chipo­tle spread. This is a just-OK sand­wich that could use some fine-tun­ing; one thing that would help is bet­ter bread. The bun is big, dry, and dull.

We also tried the mole chicken en­chi­ladas — which were fine, and ap­peared to use ex­actly the same sauce that we saw on the tamales — and a trio of asada ta­cos, which com­bine soft corn tor­tillas, grilled mar­i­nated beef, salsa, gua­camole, and pico de gallo. The es­sen­tial el­e­ment here is the carne, and this tasted more like chopped roast beef than any­thing grilled and spicy. Fix that, and th­ese hum­ble ta­cos would ex­ist on a higher plane.

The take­away is that Tres Colores prob­a­bly isn’t good enough yet to be­come your go-to Mex­i­can restau­rant. But it’s us­ing high-qual­ity in­gre­di­ents with more than the usual amount of care.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.