Picked up my girlfriend from Long Beach airport today and we went to Santa Fe Station for the first time, it's just three minutes up the street. We just spent some time in Taos so we we're very excited to get some New Mexican.
We got there early, 11ish, and the owner/host/waiter was incredibly friendly and generous. I recommend getting there before the lunch rush if you want the extra attention.
I had the green chile stew with carnitas. It was very good, not great. Very similar to Tomasita's in Santa Fe, my favorite is at Emmas Hacienda in San Luis. In fact everything was good and not great, but hey, this is L.A. not N.M.
My girlfriend had the chile rellenos, with red chile sauce. The chile's we're maybe "too fresh", and reminded me of eggplant. She had a chile relleno burrito at Monte's Chow Cart in Taos which she loved, but really liked the Station's. She wrapped them in their flour tortillas which they say are from Albuquerque. The tortillas we're okay, kind a thick, nowhere near as good as the tortillas as Birrieria Chalio in East L.A. on 1st.
The side of roasted veggies--carrots, zucchini, eggplant--were very very good, the zucchini was the best.
The two sopapillas were a little too bready and not pastry enough, similar to Michael's Kitchen in Taos. My all time favorites are El Seville's in Questa, N.M.
The salsa was fresh and hot, the chips were nice. The owner who also ownes a 1950's diner a block away brought us three other special salsa's. The first was made with jalapenos and garlic, which was sweet and spicy. The second was red chilis and tamarind, a smoky tangy slow burner. The third and final one was mild a habanero, but it still kicked my butt.
For dessert we had a sopapilla stuffed with warm arroz con leche, laced with ribbons and chocolate and caramel, very nice. The coffee was also very nice, Gavina I think.
The bill was around $30, and we had leftovers.
The Mexican owner, not New Mexican he pointed out, told us he sold the place, and in a few months it will be just be new Mexican place. SO, if want some New Mexican, pick a friend up and get some green chile before it's gone. The San Luis Valley is 15 hour drive.
Excerpt from J. Gold's review
"...the green chile, the real stuff, a fairly magnificent bowl of earthy, pungent, roasted Hatch peppers, coarsely puréed, stewed down with pork and thinned with a little broth, edged with spice but not quite so hot as to melt your fillings, and served with a couple of sopapillas, a kind of New Mexico fry bread, for ballast. The dish is the work of a purist, almost brave in its frank plainness. The musky, gravylike red is fine in its way, but Santa Fe Station is all about the green."
Santa Fe Station, 4101 Lakewood Blvd. @ Carson, Lakewood; (562) 492-8700. Lunch and dinner, Mon.Fri., 9 a.m.10 p.m.; Sat. and Sun., 7 a.m.10 p.m.. Beer and wine. Lot parking. AE, MC, Visa. Lunch or dinner for two, food only, $14$30.