Monday, March 19, 2012

Doesn't 'Suenos' Mean Tired?!

Chile Mecco Relleno -- Suenos
Suenos

As a testament to her great Spanish language skills, Vodka has been mulling one thing over for the majority of her trek to Suenos: why would anyone name their restaurant "Tired"?!

Upon Ginger's arrival, Vodka poses her question. Ginger (who usually suffers from similar Spanish-induced confusion), tells her that the word actually means "Dreams."  So much for six years worth of Spanish instruction.
Hola, Me Llamo Estupida
We have managed to wrangle our Booze Before Books club members to Suenos despite the noise/taste fail of our last Best Thing I Ever Ate outing at Barbuto.  As our one dear friend kindly reminds us,  "Well, last time you took us to that dumb chicken place."  We're sure Jonathan Waxman would be appropriately horrified by both us and the company we keep.
And We'd Really Like to Know the Last Time Mr. Waxman's Establishment Has Been Called "That Dumb Chicken Place"
To Suenos's credit, it is significantly quieter than Barbuto, meaning we would have been able to discuss our book club choice (Mindy Kaling's memoir) had we ever actually used our "meetings" for such literary purposes.  The decor of this place is remarkably odd, featuring a gigantic diorama of a desert, seemingly straight out of the Museum of Natural History.  It appears to us to be both random and a giant waste of space.
A Bar Expansion Would Have Been a More Suitable Architectural Choice
While we are here to consume Aaron Sanchez's Best Thing I Ever Ate AS GOOD AS MOM'S dish, the chile mecco relleno, we are first in dire need of chips and salsa and a round of margaritas, immediately if not sooner. The two of us order the Real Deal margaritas (a name that is cause for "Who's on First?"-level confusion throughout the evening), while our friends go with red sangria (clearly, they're trying to distance themselves from us).  The margaritas start out fine yet are completely watery by the bottom of the glasses (perhaps we are slow drinkers, or perhaps the margaritas are not quite strong enough), and frankly, Bethenny's Skinnygirl versions are ten times better.
Plus, this Glassware Is Boring. Just Sayin'
As we dive ravenously into our basket of chips (an amount that Ginger mocks when they first arrive, until we devour them all within minutes), our waiter, who we have taken to calling "Danny Zuko" based on his pompadour hairstyle, comes by to take our orders.

"We'll ask Danny Zuko which salsa is the least spicy for the enchiladas," Ginger whispers to Vodka.

"How did you learn his last name?!" our friend interjects, completely incredulous.  We stare at her blankly.

"Danny Zuko?" we repeat.

"Yeah, how do you already know his name?!"

"IT'S FROM GREASE."  By this point, Danny himself is hovering over us, so we shut up about our friend's lack of "Greased Lightning" knowledge.
And to His Credit, Danny Zuko Does Not Comment About How Our Chips Have Gone from This...
...to This in Five Minutes Flat
Vodka and Ginger decide to split the chile mecco relleno, along with the organic children enchiladas with salsa verde (which Danny Zuko confirms is the least hot of the three salsa choices).  As we wait for our food, the sudden inability to understand snarkiness begins spreading around the table, as our friend states that someone has "completely disappeared and joined the CIA."

"How do you just up and join the CIA?!  It's not a club!" Ginger retorts.

"He did not literally join the CIA," our friend explains gently.  Apparently, all of the comic memoirs we're reading for book club are doing nothing for our ability to understand sarcasm tonight.
The Chips Must Be Impacting the Cynical Sides of Our Brains
Danny Zuko eventually escorts our dinners to the table, which include a trio of enchiladas (our salsa verde version, plus one salsa ranchero and one mole).  A great display of confusion ensues when Vodka is insistent on photographing the three plates together mid-service, leaving Danny Zuko and the busboys shaking their heads in despair.
One Little, Two Little, Three Little Enchiladas
Vodka and Ginger dive into the the chile mecco relleno, which consists of pork, black currants, pine nuts, and almonds.  Shaped like corn dogs, they do not appear to be fried, as the only crunchy texture comes from the nuts inside of the chile.
From This Angle, They Have the Decided Look of Overgrown Chicken Nuggets
The meat itself tastes decidedly like short ribs and has a mildly smokey flavor with a hint of sweetness from the currants.  The plate features a sparse garnish of white sauce, pickled onions, and greens, but the pork itself is rather dry.
Please, Sir, We'd Like Some More Sauce
Whatever chile this chile relleno began with is unidentifiable both in taste and texture and is completely overwhelmed by the pork filling.  Within two bites, Vodka takes one look at Ginger and says, "Three?"

"Three," Ginger confirms our star rating, and we plow through the rest of the dish with neither enthusiasm nor disgust.
Instead, We Resort to Our Normal Attitude: Apathy
As we had initially feared the choice would be scalding hot based on Aaron Sanchez's tastes (and the word "chile" in its name), we thankfully find only the linger of spice at the end of each bite.  Overall, the dish is completely innocuous if unremarkable, and since neither of our mothers is one to whip up chile mecco rellenos in our childhood kitchens, we have no basis of comparison for Aaron's AS GOOD AS MOM'S verdict.
Now If This Had Been a Pierogie, We'd Have Another Story on Our Hands
Moving on to our enchiladas, they are, in a word, cold -- spicy, but cold (perhaps Danny Zuko misunderstood our question about the least "hot" salsa).  They taste like they have been sitting out for a long period of time before service.
Hey Suenos, Ever Hear of Cooking Things to Order?
The shredded chicken is rather flavorless, wrapped up all alone in a frigid white tortilla with barely a smattering of cheese.  Our other friends with enchiladas are similarly underwhelmed, and none of us finish our plates.
Thus Rendering the Triplet Enchilada Picture Useless
Our non-Grease-loving friend's cheese quesadillas prove to be the best choice of the night, along with the complimentary plate of black beans and corn bread triangles (which Ginger is insistent on mopping up with her fork once the corn bread has dissipated).
That's an Appealingly Shaped Avocado You've Got There....
Never a Good Sign When the Free Dish is The Best Offering
In the end, Suenos is just not the stuff of Booze Before Books's dreams; perhaps the owners should have stuck with Vodka's original translation and just named the place "Cansada."

Suenos's Chile Mecco Relleno: 3 stars

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