Cook’s Restaurant–Clovis, NM

Cook’s Restaurant
4700 Mabry Dr.
Clovis, NM
(575) 762-9423
Cooks Restaurant

Cook’s Restaurant


Probably the biggest factor that makes Cook’s Restaurant popular is the fact that it is open from 6:00 A.M. to 10:00 P.M. daily (and open 24 hours Thursday night through Saturday night-Sunday morning). This is a diner and truck stop located about halfway between Clovis and Texico, New Mexico, but is close enough to Clovis to be considered one of the city’s local hangouts.

When I entered the restaurant somewhat close to 10:00 P.M. (on a day they were open 24 hours) one side of the restaurant was filled almost to capacity (the other side is presumably open when they are even more busy such as at breakfast time). I did not make note of whether breakfast is only served during certain hours, but it seemed to be a large part of the food served here. In talking to the employees they indicated that some of the breakfast dishes were quite popular.

I also noted that over half of the late night crowd appeared to be eating Mexican food, so I naturally assumed this was one of the most popular items on the menu. They do have a large menu of American diner-style items, so I think there is something for everybody here.

Chips and Salsa

Chips and salsa

Chips and salsa

Having decided to order one of the Mexican dinners, I was given some chips and salsa which turned out to be excellent. The salsa was not on the spicy side but had a robust flavor that I would call New Mexican style (the chiles were fresh and seemed to be sourced from somewhere nearby).

Red Enchiladas

Red enchiladas

Red enchiladas

I do not remember the entire Mexican food menu, but the best options seemed to be a choice between red enchiladas or green. I chose the Red Enchiladas which were served with beans and rice (they said the green was not spicy). I noted on the menu that the dish came with “Red Chili” (the Americanized spelling of “chile”) so this was somewhat of a red flag, but is really the standard spelling I have seen in eastern New Mexico.

I really have mixed feelings about this dish because it was certainly not the best example of New Mexican food I have had, but it was New Mexican food nonetheless. The waitress said it was New Mexican red chile, and this was borne out when I tasted it. While New Mexican style enchiladas have either a red or green chile sauce, though, this was more of a gravy that was thick as if they put a filler in it. I have seen this style of New Mexican food before, most notably in Tucumcari, but it is a style of food I do not find very satisfying. There was enough chile “bite” in the dish, but I did not find the flavor to be very good.

The beans were good, but the rice was burned along the edge (about half of it was edible).

There was really nothing else open at that hour and I was glad to get a meal. Enough of it was good that I enjoyed the food (particularly the chips and salsa). For New Mexican food, though, I had a better experience at Leal’s (located a couple of miles west on the same highway but not open as late in the evening).


RATING: 17

Cuisine: American and Mexican New Mexican
Cost: $$
Hours: Open Daily (open 24 hrs. Thu.-Sat.)
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking

Most Recent Visit: Nov. 30, 2017
Number of Visits: 1
Best Items: Chips, Salsa

Mexican Food Details

Chile Index: chile 3
Special Ratings
star 2 Red Enchiladas
star 5 Chips
star 5 Salsa

Family Pho–Weatherford, OK

Family Pho and Rolls (Closed)
1021 E. Davis Ave.
Weatherford, OK
Family Pho

Family Pho and Rolls


Family Pho and Rolls follows a popular trend in serving both Vietnamese food and sushi (at least the style of sushi that includes California rolls, etc.). Outside of a couple of Chinese restaurants I think this is the only Asian restaurant in Weatherford, so I think it makes sense for this restaurant to provide any other dishes they can that would be popular in this small college town.

While Chinese food tends to become more Americanized in smaller towns, Vietnamese food has tasted pretty much the same everywhere I have tried it (but the menu choices are more limited in small towns). This is good for me because I love what most Vietnamese restaurants are serving, and these tend to be reliable choices even where Chinese restaurants are not. Family Pho was exactly as I thought it would be–good food but with a rather small menu.

After my comments about Chinese restaurants I need to point out that I have liked the ones I have tried in Weatherford. My favorite place in town, Young China, has closed, but the people at Family Pho told me the owners have now opened the Hibachi Buffet.

Vermicelli Bowl

House vermicelli

House vermicelli

The type of dish I was wanting happened to coincide with what seemed to be the restaurant’s special dish, the House Vermicelli. This did not come with my normal choice of chicken, but the pork they served had a very good flavor and is another type of meat I like. It had the added benefit of an excellent spring roll. The fish sauce was very good, and I especially liked the chile sauce (which can be seen in the small bowl on the lower right side).

Two things I normally like in a vermicelli bowl were lacking–peanuts and mint. Everything else was good enough that it pretty much made up for these deficiencies (I can say for sure that the spring roll was more satisfying than the peanuts would have been). Overall this was definitely a very good vermicelli dish.

Tea
I was disappointed that they did not have any hot tea, but iced tea was available. I would say this made the restaurant somewhat Americanized, but the food was good and it did not have a great impact on the meal.

An Assessment
Everything I had was good, but the negative aspects were the things I was not able to have (peanuts, mint, hot tea, etc.). In spite of this I would not hesitate to come back. At restaurants I usually like to order things again that I enjoyed previously (in this case it is the House Vermicelli). They do have other types of vermicelli bowls, though, as well as other items (mainly the pho and rolls implied by their name).


RATING: 23

Cuisine: Vietnamese
Cost: $$
Hours: Closed Mon.
Accessible: Yes, but maybe the sidewalk is a little steep
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: N/A

Most Recent Visit: Nov. 30, 2017
Number of Visits: 1
Best Item: House Vermicelli

 

Asian Food Details

Tea: Iced Tea
MSG: No
Buffet: No

 

Special Ratings
star 5 House Vermicelli

 

Sushi Neko–Oklahoma City, OK

Sushi Neko
4318 N. Western Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK
(405) 528-8862
Sushi Neko

Sushi Neko


My review for Sushi Neko is in two parts due to making visits around 2005-2006, and again in 2017. In that time the menu changed, prices increased, and I felt that it had become more upscale (I think they just dropped some of the less expensive items from the menu). This is a fairly common trend with restaurants, and it seems to fit the neighborhood along North Western Avenue which is known for having some of the city’s most popular upscale restaurants.

Sushi Neko offers both sushi and grilled items, and in this respect has not changed since its early days. Musashi’s across the street (owned by the same people) has a different concept by putting on a knife show and cooking the food on a grill in front of your table, so there is a choice if you are looking for a Japanese-themed restaurant.

Rear entrance

Rear entrance to the restaurant

A change in the menu items was really the biggest difference I noticed between the early and later visits to Sushi Neko. Earlier I saw quite a bit of similarity between Sushi Neko and Tokyo Restaurant, offering a wide variety of cooked items that made them similar to West Coast Izakaya style restaurants. However, there now seems to be a distinct difference between these restaurants with Tokyo keeping its emphasis on both cooked items and sushi, while Sushi Neko has now streamlined its menu of cooked items and seems to have added more sushi items, particularly the popular “rolls” (such as California rolls).

I have not tried the standard sushi (nigiri, sashimi, etc.) recently, but on previous trips it was one of Oklahoma City’s best. The cooked food I tried was good on all of my trips.

Tea

Green tea

Green tea

The Green Tea was expensive and did not seem to have a corresponding special quality that elevated it above other green teas. It was very good, though, and they gave me a to-go drink in a very nice paper cup that I ended up using for the rest of the day (so I really got my money’s worth).

Appetizers

Edamame

Edamame

The Edamame was better than most I have had, but to me it was hard to justify paying extra for this when some restaurants (such as Tsubaki Sushi) give it to you free with the meal.

Miso

Miso

Miso

Miso comes free with the meal, and I wrote in my notes that it had a “thick and flavorful broth” (a rare enough occurrence at restaurants that it is noteworthy when I find it).

Sushi

Philadelphia roll

Philadelphia roll

The Philadelphia Roll I was able to sample was really quite good, and I won’t make any comments other than this was one of the better ones I have encountered.

Grilled Salmon

Grilled salmon

Grilled salmon

I came here expecting the salmon teriyaki I had ordered on a previous visit, but found that it is no longer on the menu. Instead I was able to order Grilled Salmon from the lunch menu which was somewhat comparable because it came with a glaze that was a good substitute for the teriyaki sauce. I thought the salmon here was probably more impressive than at Tokyo (where I usually like to get salmon teriyaki) and the presentation was very nice (I especially liked the bok choy). This was quite a good lunch although a little expensive compared to places that serve teriyaki salmon (such as Tokyo).

Overall Assessment
The salmon was really so much better than at most other restaurants I thought it was well worth paying a higher price for it. At the same time, though, I cannot afford this often so I treat this restaurant as a “special occasion” place (there was really not very much on the menu that would be any less expensive).

The thing I missed, though, was the “box lunch” concept they have at restaurants such as Tokyo where the lunch comes with side items such as a salad, tempura, or gyoza.

The service was good here, and I was glad I was able to experience the “new” Sushi Neko.


RATING: 23

Cuisine: Japanese
Cost: $$
Hours: Closed Sun.
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking

Most Recent Visit: Nov. 29, 2017
Number of Visits: 3
Best Items: Grilled Salmon, Miso

 

Asian Food Details

Tea: Green (brewed)
MSG: No
Buffet: No

 

Special Ratings
star 5 Grilled Salmon
star 5 Miso
star 4 Philadelphia Roll