How many of us are old enough to remember the amusement park test of strength in which testosterone laden men slam an oversized hammer on a target in an effort to propel an object up a pole to ring a bell at the top? Ringing the bell labeled you a powerhouse while propelling the object to a lesser level attached a label corresponding to your relative strength (such as wimp, wuss, milksop or worse).

At Chilepeos, red and green chile scales label the heat of the day’s chile. The scale’s labels are wimpy, gringo, macho and muy hombre (much man). Far too many New Mexican restaurants serve chile deserving the wimpy or gringo label. As such we were very much looking forward to sampling the chile at Chilepeos, a chile two very reliable sources assured me would get our attention.

As is often the case with restaurant recommendations, Murphy’s Law rears its ugly head and the restaurant recommended to us had an off night. Such was the case during our inaugural visit to Chilepeos. Not only was the chile not particularly piquant (gringo at best), it was drastically over-salted (a problem plaguing many New Mexican restaurants). Despite Murphy, we genuinely liked our meals and agreed the chile was flavorful and delicious. How good then must Chilepeos be when it’s on its game?

My entree, Nanas enchiladas–layered corn tortillas and beef stacked with red chile and cheddar cheese and topped with an egg–was quite good. Better were the rellenos, two large whole green chiles stuffed with cheddar cheese, dipped in batter, deep fried then smothered in chile and topped with melted cheddar cheese. The salsa was reminiscent of the salsa at Sadie’s although not quite as hot. We had two bowls full and were tempted to ask for a third. The sopaipillas were light, flaky cloud-like puffs of dough–as good as they could be made.

Chilepeos is one of the triumvirate of New Mexican restaurants in the Duke City area owned by The Perea/Gutierrez family, a restaurant lineage that brought us Perea’s in Albuquerque and Seferino’s in Rio Rancho.

12467 North Highway 14
Sandia Park, New Mexico
LATEST VISIT: 21 February 2005
COST: $$

By Gil Garduno

Since 2008, the tagline on Gil’s Thrilling (And Filling) Blog has invited you to “Follow the Culinary Ruminations of New Mexico’s Sesquipedalian Sybarite.” To date, nearly six million visitors have trusted (or at least visited) my recommendations on more than 1,200 restaurant reviews. Please take a few minutes to tell me what you think. Whether you agree or disagree with me, I'd love to hear about it.

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