By Daniel Johnson, Investigative Reporter | Photo by Daniel Johnson
Los Compadres is a family-owned and operated authentic Mexican and New Mexican cuisine restaurant located at 2437 Central Ave NW near Old Town.
Manager Fred Gallegos said that this quiet little restaurant has been preparing some of the best authentic New Mexican and Mexican cooking for more than 20 years.
“The name Los Compadres was decided upon because it means “the buddies” in English which was meant to represent the group of friends that wanted to open the restaurant,” Gallegos said.
The menu consists of family favorites like carne adovada and menudo, which are prepared in traditional Mexican styles, he said.
Sitting down at the table during lunch to feast on a meal and to smell all the great mouthwatering aromas gives an atmosphere that elevates one’s senses and overall mood in one shot.
The entrées chosen by this reporter were carne adovada and eggs, with menudo, a carne deshebrada stuffed sopapilla, and a green chile smothered chicharron burrito.
The carne adovada is slow-cooked and simmered in a succulent red chile that provides just the right amount of heat yet packs a punch in the flavor category.
The carne deshebrada is rich and tasty, while still keeping its integrity of being a slow- cooked meat, without all the greasiness that a lot of slow cooking can cause.
The sopapillas are made from scratch and are light and fluffy while still capable of being stuffed and packed with mounds of mouthwatering marinated meat.
The chicharron burrito is definitely not a hand-held version, as it is served smothered in green chile and cheese and gives an explosion of spicy flavors that makes this reporter’s taste buds dance with joy.
The chicharrones were cooked to precision by having just the right amount of exterior crunch to go with the right amount of tenderness once bitten into that can bring out the carnivorous side in us all, but without making the jaw feel like it did all the work afterward.
Lastly, but most definitely not the least, is the award winning menudo that is prepared in a way that really does call to mind the memories of a Mexican grandmother slaving away in a kitchen for hours to make this menudo just right.
Unlike most menudo served at other restaurants where it is cooked way too greasy and the tripe is under or over-cooked with mushy hominy, Los Compadres cooks their menudo to perfection.
It is seasoned with red chile and has enough flavors to surprise but not destroy your taste buds, or have you regretting it the next day.
Los Compadres seems to pride themselves on having a well cooked and consistently scrumptious menudo that is worth writing home about via self-foodie photos and hashtags online.
Tripe by nature can be gristly and if over-cooked it tends to be a slimy and leathery mess of nastiness to eat sometimes.
But when cooked properly it can be tender and consumed in a matter of seconds, as Los Compadres cooks it every time and is definitely the standard for traditional Mexican menudo by far.
Overall this is a restaurant that has a great tasting menu no matter what you get, and also makes your wallet happy too, because even though Los Compadres is located next to the Albuquerque Aquarium and Historic Old Town where many restaurants are not cheap, they keep the prices to the standard of a family affordable establishment.
The restaurant is now owned and operated by Robert Martinez, his brother Fred Gallegos and his sister Marissa Candelaria, who are all children of the original owners Roberto and Janice, he said.
“The idea was to make sure the food that was offered was the same as what we all grow up eating at home,” Gallegos said.
People love the ability to come in and sit down to a meal that will be prepared the same way as it would if you were to walk in to a Mexican’s house who had been cooking for her family and friends for years, he said.