Have you ever been absolutely, completely and pleasantly surprised about something? That is what my experience was with the recent addition to the food world that is the New England Kitchen.
I have to be honest, I’d been avoiding the place because it looked a little sketchy. However, my experience was anything but. You’d be surprised to learn that the menu is pretty much lacking in actual New England cuisine.
The menu is about half Mexican food and half Mediterranean food. After getting past that surprise, I ordered the Specialty Gyro, New England Plate, Pork Tenderloin Kabob, Sopa de Pollo and the Alas de Pollo.
On closer inspection, the truck looked clean and, honestly, quite homey. The staff was kind and friendly, although there was some confusion regarding one of the menu items I ordered. The outdoor seating is perfect for a sunny, temperate day. Plus, you’ll get to smell the amazing scent coming out of the kitchen.
Honestly, everything was so delicious. I have little negative to say about the food’s quality, taste and originality.
The Sopa de Pollo, or Chicken Soup, was surprisingly good. The shredded chicken and rice clumps were accented by a warm, lime flavor that seems perfect for a sick day.
The Alas de Pollo, or Chicken Wings, come in mild, spicy or barbecue flavor. I chose the spicy, and I was so happy with it. They were bone-in and well cooked with a great spice and excellent flavor. They did not fall into the trap of choosing between spice factor and actual flavor. It was like a buffalo but with an interesting spin.
The Pork Tenderloin Kebab was not what I expected. It did not come on a kebab. It was served on a bed of lettuce and veggies and rice. The pork was so well cooked. Its slight dryness was excusable by the crisp outside and wonderful flavor and spice.
The New England Plate was a similar experience, but slightly more amazing. It included a lamb and ground beef mixture thinly sliced over the same bed of lettuce, veggies and rice. The lamb was so, so good — crunchy and slightly dry on the outside and more tender and moist toward the center. The slices are delicious on their own or as a wrap for the veggies and rice.
The rice on both dishes was amazing. It was a nontraditional orange Spanish rice with two distinct flavors. The rice with the pork dish had a dark, tomato-based flavor that complemented the lightness of the pork. The rice with the lamb dish had a lighter flavor that I couldn’t quite put my finger on (definitely reminiscent of a creamy dairy flavor) that complemented the darkness of the lamb.
Finally, the Specialty Gyro was absolutely amazing. It was sweet, savory and light. The sliced lamb was well cooked, and the combination of flavors and textures from the pita bread, herbs, spices, lettuce, tomato, onions, parsley, cucumber and yogurt sauce was just mouth-watering. The crisp outside of the lamb slices and the veggies provided a great contrast to the softness of the pita and tender bits of lamb.
Overall, I highly recommend the New England Kitchen. Actually, as I’m writing this, I’m about to head there to order another gyro. It is located on the corner of South John Redditt Drive and West Frank Avenue in the parking lot with Etech and the Lufkin WorkForce Center.
Olive Waldorf is a pseudonym for the food critic of The Lufkin Daily News. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.