For all intents and purposes, Mexican food is different than New Mexican food.
Never has this been clearer than at El Coyote, a happening new spot located in the Britton District at 925 W. Britton Rd.
Working with the unique flavors and vaunted tastes of the New Mexican region, people, and culture, it has been imported to Oklahoma City for all to enjoy.
On the day I went, it was as cold as a witch’s tit and nowhere near the milky Southwest. I shivered as the lunch spot was warm and inviting, with a folk guitarist playing near the doorway, with all of life’s cares seeming to evaporate with a heavy sigh.
As I was taken to my seat, a basket of chips was set down on the table along with a menu. Looking over it, I was overtaken by the inventiveness, with new ways to make radishes, hominy, and other non-delicious ephemera better.
After I gave my order to the waiter, I dove into the chips and salsa. The complementary tortilla chips at most restaurants are usually subpar, with watered-down salsa to boot. But not at El Coyote.
With a stinging ray of precise flavor, it was one of the best baskets of free chips I've had in a long time. With the slight dusting of chile powder, the lightly assaulted chips were more than welcomed, with the zingy salsa putting in that over time. I'd eventually request another basket.
For my not-free appetizer, I decided on the Red Chile Rib Tips ($10.00). In a medium-sized bowl, a few cuts of meat are braised with red chile jus, a bit of avocado cilantro, and a blue tortilla for show.
I have to say – this was powerful stuff!
Like a warm stew, the rib tips—my favorite cut of meat, honestly—swam in the highly seasoned sauce of their peers, all presided over by the toasted blue tortilla that I used as an edible sponge to sop all that juice. My mouth silently burned, in a good way. I wanted more and more, which is the type of appetizer I'm always waiting for.
For my main course, I chose one of my favorite New Mexican dishes – the Stuffed Sopapilla ($14.00). With simple ingredients like tomatoes, lettuce, pickled onions, shredded cheese, peppers, and cilantro, as well as their own Coyote beans and hominy with green chile sauce, it is one for the ages!
El Coyote does this dish of enchantment proper due and justice!
The hominy is an acquired taste, but I happen to love it. The Coyote beans are a go-to side. But the Stuffed Sopapilla is where the meal comes into its own. Stuffed Sopapilla. Each delicious bite warmed my heart, making me pause and reflect on life's wonders as if I was watching the sun set into the horizon, glistening off New Mexico's deep red rocks.
Yeah, the outside was bitterly cold, but inside…well, El Coyote is a real culinary vacation that anyone can take right now. Cómpralo ya!