New Clock–El Paso, TX

New Clock Restaurant
8409 Dyer St.
El Paso, TX
(915) 751-6367
New Clock Restaurant

New Clock Restaurant


Every once in a while when visiting restaurants I like to return to some of my old favorites, such as New Clock which is located in northeast El Paso a few blocks from where I used to live. Although it has been around as long as I have been in El Paso, it was called “New Clock” back then. To find the “Old” Clock I think you have to go to the Oasis Restaurant at Pershing and Copia which was the inspiration for the restaurant and where the original owner Lyle Dautrich worked before opening what became a chain of Clock Restaurants (the one on Dyer is the only one that is still open).

The "clock" sign

The iconic “clock” sign in front

I really do not have any idea how many times I have been to New Clock, but it was enough that I knew I wanted to go back. If the food has changed at all I think it for the better, because I have memories of it being a “greasy spoon” which is really not the case now. An old menu on the wall shows that it was mainly an American family style restaurant with an emphasis on breakfast items. It still has a coffee shop concept, but the Mexican menu has been greatly expanded so that they have a wide choice of items. The Mexican food in particular seems to have lost the greasy taste I experienced before, and I think it is competitive with the best Mexican restaurants in town.

For those who would like a review in a nutshell I will compare it to other coffee shops. Good Luck Cafe, for instance, served a Mexican plate on which I thoroughly enjoyed everything that was served. New Clock, on the other hand, has hits and misses. In my opinion the good items at New Clock are really at a level that I would call some of the best in El Paso (I did not find this at Good Luck Cafe), while some of the items at New Clock are below the standard of Good Luck. I tend to go to restaurants such as New Clock because there are certain things I especially like, while Good Luck Cafe would be a good choice if my main emphasis was variety rather than one specific dish I was craving.

Breakfast

Enchiladas montadas

Enchiladas montadas

Enchiladas Montadas are a popular dish at New Mexican restaurants, but at the New Clock they are served on the breakfast menu. This is because they have an egg on top and they come with hash browns. The enchiladas are served flat and come with either red or green sauce (or it can be served half and half as I got it). The red part of the enchilada was one of the most flavorful I have ever eaten. In addition to being served flat as in New Mexico, it was spicy like New Mexican food and the flavor was very comparable as well. This is definitely an excellent choice.

I liked the Green Enchilada as well, but not as much as the red. I thought the green sauce was more of a border style with some type of filler, although the green chile itself seemed to be the real deal (and probably came from New Mexico).

The eggs are cooked the way you want and were very good as well. I thought they added to the overall flavor, and were a good way to cut what would have been a very spicy dish.

The Hash Browns were a very big disappointment compared to the last ones I had (at El Camino in Socorro, NM). Granted that I have a limited number of hash brown experiences recently, but I know that the ones at New Clock are really not the best you can find.

The Beans were good but did not seem to be among the best in El Paso.

Huevos rancheros

Huevos rancheros

I also sampled the Huevos Rancheros topped with chile con queso (there is an extra charge for the chile con queso). I thought the flavor of the chile con queso was a little subdued compared to the two sauces on the enchiladas, but it makes a good choice when you want something less spicy than the enchilada sauces. The green chiles on top were not terribly spicy, so overall this is a pretty mild dish but still with a border flavor.

Chips and Salsa

Chips and salsa

Chips and salsa

The chips and salsa were so good this influenced me to give New Clock a rating more toward the high end of the scale (thinking that the hash browns were an anomaly). It also made me think that the Mexican food is really what this restaurant does the best.

Other Notes
Although there is a large choice of menu items, I think Mexican food is really what is most popular here. I know that I can really recommend the red enchiladas. I do not know if they purposely serve the food New Mexico style, but the enchiladas were closer to this style than the typical ones served in El Paso (especially because of the spice level).

I believe the breakfast menu is available all day, or at least it was available when I went at lunch time. For some of the items, such as the enchiladas montadas, the only thing that really distinguishes them as a breakfast item are the fact that they are served with hash browns and that there is an egg on top. I think breakfast is their most popular and quite likely their best meal, with the understanding that the breakfast menu is quite varied and many of the items are suitable for other meals.


RATING: 23

Cuisine: Mexican and American
Cost: $$
Hours: Open daily except Sun. evening
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: N/A

Most Recent Visit: May 6, 2018
Number of Visits: 5
Best Items: Enchiladas Montadas (Red), Salsa

 

Mexican Food Details

Chile Index: chile 4
Cooking Oil: N/A

 

Special Ratings
star 5 Red Enchiladas
star 5 Green Enchiladas
star 5 Huevos Rancheros
star 5 Rice
star 4 Beans
star 3 Hash Browns
star 5 Chips
star 5 Salsa

Le Rendez-vous–Las Cruces, NM

Le Rendez-vous Cafe
2701 W. Picacho Ave.
Las Cruces, NM
(575) 527-0098
Le Rendez-Vous

Le Rendez-Vous


I will admit that I like almost any kind of dessert, but I also recognize those which stand out as being a special treat (as the ones here do). Le Rendez-vous is a cafe which serves sandwiches and French dishes such as quiche (it serves breakfast and lunch every day except Monday). It seems to be competing with A Bite of Belgium on the food items, although the people at A Bite of Belgium actually recommended Le Rendez-vous to me as having a better selection of dessert items.

Almond crescent

Almond crescent

The bakery items at Le Rendez-vous are definitely on the expensive side but also very rich so that they go a long way. They do have some items, though, which are less rich and less expensive, such as the Almond Crescent. I just think of these items as ones which I can eat all at once, but even the crescent was one that was so good I wanted to save some for a later time. It is not terribly sweet, but the chocolate, nuts, dough, and almond paste filling make a very nice treat.

Lemon tarte

Lemon tarte

The Lemon Tarte was my favorite of the items I tried on my first visit in 2017, and also the one I cut into the smallest pieces to make it last a long time. This had a strawberry filling, coconut sprinkled on the sides, and a lemon topping. The balance between a sweet and tart flavor was quite nice, and I was a little surprised about putting lemon and strawberry flavors together (but it really worked).

Lemon tarte

New version of the lemon tarte

Although hard to read, the “Citron” is the new version of the lemon tarte they have served in 2018. It does not have a strawberry filling and in appearance is almost completely different from the old one, although the lemon flavor is just as good as before, and it is still my favorite item at Le Rendez-vous. The best way to describe it is to compare it to the best lemon pie I have ever tasted.

Cream puff

Cream puff

The Cream Puff also had a strawberry filling, but there was more than in the old version of the tarte and it included whole strawberries as well. The cream was very rich, and I also thought this was an excellent pastry.

Sable and macarons

Sable and macarons

Sables are a best seller here, and are very good to take home because they have a fairly long shelf life. All cookies have a chocolate swirl, in addition to half of it being covered with either more chocolate or a white frosting (as shown in the photo). The Macarons also make good snacks or desserts.

Fruit cup

Fruit cup

I have not yet tried their meals, but there is a very large selection of breakfasts, sandwiches, and other items. In looking at their Facebook page, it also appears that they frequently serve Cajun or Southwestern style specials for lunch. The fruit cup makes a very good snack or side dish.

I think most people probably come for the pastries, and while it can be hard to choose I think it is hard to go wrong with anything you get. The lemon tarte was one I initially was not going to choose but was recommended by the staff. The fact that it exceeded my expectations tells me that you probably will do all right by following the employees’ recommendations.


RATING: *

Cuisine: Cafe & bakery
Cost: N/A

Most Recent Visit: Apr. 26, 2018

Number of Visits: 3

Best Items: Lemon Tarte, Cream Puff, Sable

Special Ratings

star 5 Lemon Tarte
star 5 Cream Puff
star 5 Almond Crescent

Sofi’s–El Paso, TX

Sofi’s Mexican Restaurant
4709 Crossroads Dr.
El Paso, TX
(915) 219-7706
Sofi's

Sofi’s near Mesa & Doniphan


For many years I have thought that while the Mexican food in El Paso is very good, it tends to be only certain dishes at certain restaurants that are the best. Many restaurants did not seem to live up to their potential, and it was very hard to find places where I could say that just about everything they serve is consistently good.

I think this situation has now changed, largely because of some of the new upstart restaurants such as Sofi’s. Actually I think the Mexican restaurant scene is returning to the way it was in the 1970’s and 1980’s when I first explored the El Paso Mexican restaurants and found them to be so good I had a hard time imagining why people would want to eat anything else. It is possible that the very good restaurants have been here all along (and I know some of them have been), but now I think they are more numerous and easier to find.

If I were to put Sofi’s into the big picture I would say it is a fairly new restaurant (the oldest reviews I can find are from 2015), it is a homey inexpensive place like Good Luck Cafe, but it strikes the balance a little more toward upscale food with a little bit higher prices than Good Luck Cafe. Like Good Luck I enjoyed everything I had on the Mexican plate, but there were some subtle differences such as the cheese and the taco meat that made it better. The chile relleno was better at Good Luck Cafe, though.

In El Paso you can make endless comparisons between different Mexican restaurants, but the main theme about the Mexican plate at Sofi’s was that everything was good. In my opinion it is a very good representation of El Paso style Mexican food.

Mexican Plate

Mexican plate

Mexican plate with taco, enchilada, chile relleno, rice, and beans

Something I found surprising was that they only had one Mexican Plate (combination dinner), just like at Good Luck Cafe. In fact, the list of items served at the two restaurants is the same, as it is at quite a few restaurants in the city. There is also enough variety on the Mexican plates that I seem to never get tired of them, even though all of these restaurants have a number of other items on the menu to order.

I did not have a favorite item from the plate because they were all good, but the Deshebrada Taco was one thing I thought was significantly better than at other restaurants. If the meat had been served on bread instead of a tortilla it would have made an excellent roast beef sandwich, with very flavorful roast beef like the kind I have found in upscale restaurants. This really seems to be one of Sofi’s specialties.

The Enchilada stood out from others because of the Mexican style cheese they used. This, along with the flavorful red sauce, made it one of the best I have tried in the city.

The Chile Relleno was a little more greasy than most, which was offset by a sauce that was more flavorful than most.

The Beans were very good but it seems that there are always some that are better (such as the ones at Chope’s in New Mexico).

Chips and Salsa

Chips and salsa

Chips and salsa

The Salsa here was exceptional, with large chunks of green chile providing much of the flavor. The Chips were exceptional as well, with a good flavor but no oily aftertaste.

Other Notes
I came away with a couple of overall impressions at this restaurant. One was that everything was good, and some items that normally do not impress me much (such as the taco) were an integral part of the Mexican plate. Another impression was that the cheese was the main factor that set Sofi’s apart from other restaurants, but other items such as the sauce used on the chile relleno kept any part of the dinner from being a weak link and one that would detract from an overall good experience.

This is a family restaurant and was very busy when I went. I did not find the service lacking considering how many people they had to accommodate.

The menu had so many items that I am sure that some of them might not be as good as the ones I tried, but on the other hand some might be better. One thing I look for in a really good restaurant is that the beans, rice, chips, salsa, etc. have the same quality as the main dishes, and I found that here.


RATING: 25

Cuisine: Mexican
Cost: $$
Hours: Open daily except Sun. evening
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: N/A

Most Recent Visit: Apr. 22, 2018
Number of Visits: 1
Best Items: Red Enchiladas, Deshebrada Taco, Chile Relleno

 

Mexican Food Details

Chile Index: chile 4
Cooking Oil: Vegetable

 

Special Ratings
star 5 Red Enchiladas
star 5 Deshebrada Taco
star 5 Chile Relleno
star 5 Beans
star 5 Rice
star 5 Chips
star 5 Salsa