In the entire world, there may not be a national anthem that inspires as much heart-felt pride among its citizenry as the Mexican ballad Mexico Lindo Y Querido. It is a hauntingly stirring proclamation of the balladeer’s profound love for his native land–a love so intense that even his guitar awakens in the morning inspired to sing with alacrity about that land he loves. The song speaks to the country’s volcanoes, prairies and flowers serving as talismans for the love of his loves, the country of Mexico itself.
While the country of Mexico is indeed blessed with awe-inspiring wonders, its greatest beauty lies in the soul and character of its people. From the downtrodden descendents of its indigenous peoples to the scions of Cortez, most Mexicans remain God fearing, finding His presence in the simplicity of nature and glorifying His name in the way they approach life. There is also much simplicity in the daily bounty they receive with sincere reverence and gratitude. That simplicity is most often evident in the ingredients used to prepare Mexican food–corn, flour, peppers and beans being but a few staples.
Lindo Mexico (literally Beautiful Mexico), a restaurant which launched in 2005, celebrates the culinary heritage of Mexico. Its menu features many of the grilled Mexican food standards diners have come to know and love as well as mariscos (seafood) entrees. Lindo Mexico occupies a commodious and attractive edifice on Central Avenue and Louisiana. In 2022, a second instantiation of Lindo Mexico opened up in the Promenade Shopping Center in the Northeast Heights. Occupying a large space which previously housed a retail shop specializing in soccer equipment and before that a Chinese restaurant, both instantiations of Lindo Mexico are among the most vibrantly appointed restaurants of any genre in Albuquerque.
On the xeriscaped are preceding the restaurant’s entrance in the Eubank location you’ll espy hard-working skilled workmen extracting the pulp from maguey, the first step in making tequila. On a bench by the restaurant’s entrance, you’ll be serenaded by a mustachioed mariachi. Step into the restaurant and you just might experience a bit of sensory overload. There is so much to see. Personal space proximity seating is on equipales, seats crafted from fibrous materials removed from the multi-purpose maguey cactus. Equipales seats are fixed in place with leather bands. The bar area is like a coruscating kaleidoscope awash in color.
30 January 2023: If it’s available, ask your server to seat you under the watchful gaze of Freida Kahlo, Mexico’s legendary painter. It’s a great spot for people-watching and for enjoying the colorful artwork not to mention for perusing the menu. That menu is a compendium of grilled Mexican favorites and mariscos, the incomparable Mexican seafood. As you study the menu, treat yourself to one of Lindo Mexico’s aguas frescas, the thirst-quenching and delicious beverage. Choose from horchata, melon, pineapple and more. For my Kim, it’s copious amounts of cinnamon that make horchata her favorite. Lindo Mexico is accommodating.
In its September, 2012 edition, Albuquerque The Magazine named Lindo Mexico’s salsa the third best in the city from from among 130 salsas sampled throughout the city. As flavorful as it is, the salsa does have room for improvement–especially in one area. It’s a thin, watery salsa that doesn’t facilitate scooping up Gil-sized portions. Try scooping it up and you’re likely to get backsplash on your shirt. This is a salsa meant for dipping which (for me) means barely discernible heat. Lindo Mexico not only serves complementary salsa, but con queso as well. The con queso is thicker, but is quickly disposed of because the portion size is so small. The chips are crispy and lightly salted.
There’s no possible way you can leave Lindo Mexico hungry. Portions are generous (to say the least). Nor are any of the numerous combination plates or family meals monotonous one note meals. Several plates offer a combination of grilled meats for the landlubbers among you and mariscos for the seafood lovers. My Kim has a carnivorous bent while my tastes lean toward seafood. In my younger days the trencherman in me would have mocked any menu labeled “serves 2 or 3.” Increasingly now, my preferred portion size is slightly larger than a kiddie’s plate. Thirty years ago, I would have wiped out the Charola Marisquera (six loaded oysters, two small shrimp cocktails, shrimp ceviche, three breaded shrimp and three shrimp wrapped in bacon.
Unfortunately the kitchen wouldn’t split the Charola Marisquera. Our astute server suggested I order the ceviche camaron (shrimp with lime juice, tomatoes, jalapeno, cilantro) along with a half-dozen loaded oysters (fresh oysters loaded with fresh shrimp ceviche). So much for my previous statement about “monotonous one-note” plates. Aside from the oceanic-mineral notes from the oysters, lime infused (an understatement) ceviche was the dominant flavor profile. Even without adding the additional lime juice provided, my mouth practically burned and stung my tongue with citric acid. A little lime juice goes a long way. A lot of lime juice goes even further. Much as I love ceviche, it’s best in moderation.
My Chicago born-and-bred bride may not be exclusively meatatarian, but she certainly does enjoy a good steak as often as she can. Lindo Mexico certainly accommodates diners of a carnivorous bent with your choice of New York Steak, Porterhouse or Rib Eye. Eschewing the Porterhouse (her favorite), my Kim ordered the Rib Eye (12-ounce rib eye steak accompanied by green asparagus, salad and a baked potato). After one bite, she declared Lindo Mexico does a better job seasoning its steak than do many steak restaurants. Indeed, it just may although not enough fat was trimmed off for our liking. The asparagus inherited the wonderful seasoning of the steak. By the way, if you’ve never had a baked potato Mexican style, you’re in for a treat. Mexican baked potatoes are wrapped in tin foil and baked until perfectly soft (not mushy and overdone) and served with a heaping portion of melting butter. These terrific tubers are surprisingly moist and an excellent side dish. The queso fundido complements everything well, but is a bit too elastic for chips. You may need to slice off a hunk or three.
The dessert menu includes such traditional Mexican favorites as flan and tres leches cake, but also features a couple of delicious departures from the standards. The dulce de leche cheesecake is befitting of its name which translates literally to “candy of milk,” but which is meant to describe the caramelization of sweetened milk by heating it slowly. Dulce de leche has many uses though cheesecake was a new one for us. The cheesecake was rich, creamy and delicious atop a Graham cracker crust. Lindo Mexico’s tres leches cake is among the very best in the city. True to its name, it’s so moist every press of your fork will see milky leakage onto your pate.
13 November 2013 (Central Avenue): We were elated to find parrillada de carne asada (marinated, grilled beef) on Lindo Mexico’s menu and even happier to find that it was pretty good. The waifishly thin cut of beef is more than a bit tough and more than slightly stringy (fairly typical in Mexican restaurants), but there is no mistaking the wonderful tastes and intoxicating aromas of well-seasoned beef. Served in a platter for two, the parrillada platter includes warm tortillas (flour, corn or both) just off the comal, sliced sausages, a bowl of queso fundido, two fried jalapenos and two baked potatoes, all of which were quite delicious. Also quite wonderful is a plate of charro beans, well-flavored with sausage and tripe.
Both versions of Lindo Mexico are so beautiful that they just might inspire a ballad to be sung in their honor. The Central Avenue location is one of the most beloved Mexican restaurants in Albuquerque with near capacity crowds for lunch and dinner. Expect the Eubank location to gain similar acclaim in time.
5250 Eubank, N.E.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Web Site | Facebook Page
LATEST VISIT: 30 January 2023
# OF VISITS: 1
BEST BET: Ceviche de Camaron, Horchata, Agua Fresca de Melon, Salsa, Con Queso, Loaded Oysters, Rib Eye Steak, Pastel Tres Leches
7209 Central Avenue, N.E.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Web Site | Facebook Page
LATEST VISIT: 13 November 2013
# OF VISITS: 4
BEST BET: Parrillada de Carne Asada; Horchata; Tostada de Ceviche, Volcano Lava Cake, Dulce De Leche Cheesecake, Salsa and Chips