“We’re trying to give people the real, authentic Mexican experience here,” says chef owner Adam Monteverde about his newly opened Mexican Kitchen on North Front Street in New Paltz. “Everything is made in house using only fresh, local ingredients and we’re really letting the flavors speak for themselves.”
The Woodstock native and Culinary Institute grad says he was inspired by Mexican cuisine on his travels to Mexico. He recently returned to the Hudson Valley after years of working in kitchens all across the country, from Los Angeles and San Francisco to Las Vegas, Florida, Nantucket Island and New York City. “I’ve been on this kind of expansive culinary journey across the country,” he says. “I like to travel. But I love the Hudson Valley, and that’s why I’m always drawn back here. This is where I want to have roots.”
The concept for the new eatery was influenced by the type of neighborhood Mexican restaurants Monteverde found while living in Los Angeles. Not those chains that serve combination platters smothered in sauce masking the flavors but rather those places that cater to their local community, serving fresh authentic Mexican cuisine: a tamale steamed in its husk or a soft corn tortilla taco accented by a squeeze of lime and homemade salsa made with plenty of fresh cilantro. And breakfast served all day; Huevos Rancheros and chilaquiles.
“That can be hard to find here,” says Monteverde. “And I wanted to bring that to New Paltz. I thought it would be well accepted here. The idea is to keep it simple and straightforward; ‘go narrow and deep’ to the source and keep refining it.”
Mexican Kitchen opened on May 5 — Cinco de Mayo makes for a good anniversary date — and seems aptly named, comfortable in the same way that the kitchen at home tends to be the gathering spot when people come over. There’s patio dining outside, with plans to expand that at some point, and inside it’s brightly lit with natural light in the daytime, its walls painted a cheerful yellow and adorned with paintings and strings of lights.
Lunches have been busiest, says Monteverde. “It’s quick service, fast and casual. People can get in and get out.” Almost everything on the menu is served ala carte, and take-out is encouraged (order at the podium). A beer and wine license is pending, expected to come through in a matter of weeks.
Breakfast will be served all day ($6.50-$7.10). Soft corn tortilla taco options include shredded chicken ($2.85), pork and pineapple ($2.85), chorizo sausage ($2.70) tilapia ($4.15) and beans ($2.10). Tamales are available with pork, chicken or veggie fillings ($2.80). Vegan cheese and vegan sour cream are available at no extra charge and there are gluten-free choices. (Much of Mexican food is gluten-free to begin with, points out Monteverde, but the menu is labeled anyway to make selection easy.) Specials will be run occasionally — they’re refining a nopales (cactus) dish at this time — but in general they plan to stick to the menu, which will be refined as time goes on to reflect what the community is receptive to.
Mexican Kitchen is located at 15 1/2 North Front Street (next to Enchanted Toys). They’re open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. All major credit cards are accepted. Call them at (845) 256-5070 or visit Mexican Kitchen on Facebook. A website is in progress at www.mexicankitchennewp.wix.com.