Steve's Gastronomic Home Page

Lucy's Restaurant

4119 N. Mesa St.
El Paso, TX
(915) 577-9049

Lucy's and the King's X Night Club are in the same building

I know a lot of us long for the "good old days," but when it comes to the traditional style of El Paso Mexican food that is sometimes hard to find nowadays, Lucy's Restaurant is still turning it out for a large group of devoted customers.

Formerly with a location downtown, it now has two locations on Mesa Street (the one closer to downtown is only open for lunch) and one on the east side. One of the boxes above states that I have been to Lucy's over ten times, but it has actually been well over 50--most of them at the old location downtown when I used to go there on my lunch hour. Even though the locations have changed, the food remains the same.

Probably well over half of my visits have been for the Milanesa; a pan-fried steak, but much better than most American versions. I have not tried all the versions of milanesa in town, and there may be some better ones, but the one at Lucy's is my idea of its authentic representation.

Any attempt to go vegetarian at Lucy's will probably be less than satisfying. The Red Enchiladas have left me totally unimpressed. The Green Enchiladas are better, but do not come close to the wonderful ones at the Little Diner or L&J Cafe (but the ones at Lucy's are still much better than the El Paso norm). They are made with the puréed green chile, and are extremely spicy (almost too much so!). Diners should keep in mind, though, that the enchiladas are cooked with lard, so they are not vegetarian. I really cannot think of anything that can be ordered at Lucy's that is not made with meat products.

One of the best items I've had recently has been the Chile Relleno. The chile was somewhat tasteless and full of seeds. The batter was not too exciting either; it just did not have the best flavor or texture. The sauce poured on top of the relleno, though, was wonderful, even though I normally don't like rellenos with sauce. Surprisingly, the relleno did not have a noticeable amount of grease. El Paso style rellenos are prepared differently than ones in other areas, and this enters into my opinion. Considering that I generally prefer New Mexico style rellenos, though, it is somewhat surprising that I like the ones at Lucy's as much as I do.

Lucy's caldillo served in a bowl with rice and tortilla on the side
Lucy's caldillo served in a bowl with rice and tortilla on the side

The Caldillo is a green chile stew made with pork, and is one of the more flavorful dishes at Lucy's. I think I like it in spite of the fact it is made with pork rather than because of it. Otherwise, though, the green chiles, tomatoes, and spices floating around the soup were all very enjoyable. The broth was the best part of the dish, with a soup so infused with the different spices used it was almost like one of the very good Chinese soups that I try to make a regular part of my diet. I had the idea that caldillo is supposed to be a thick stew that sometimes is put on a plate as part of a comida corrida lunch special or a caldillo dish. The thin, soupy version at Lucy's, though, seems like a worthy alternative, and certainly a delicious one.

The Beans are greasy as are most of the ones in El Paso, and I'm sure are loaded with lard.

The Rice has a nice flavor and is usually fresh and not overcooked.

The high point of Lucy's, though, is the deep red Chile de Arbol salsa that is quite hot and served only on request (thanks to fellow Chowhound Amy Sue for recommending it). It is not always available but certainly worth requesting.

When I have been forced to eat the regular salsa because the red salsa was not available, I have found it way too spicy without much flavor (although the chile de árbol is just as spicy). I think the regular one is made with jalapeños, and this is probably the reason I do not find it as flavorful.

Special drinks can also be requested, and Lucy's is very accommodating in trying to fulfill special requests. When available the home made Mexican style Lemonade is excellent--probably better than at most restaurants that include it on the menu.

Lucy's has always seemed to serve good, solid El Paso style food, with the meat items being the most memorable. The salsa and other items are great, but I do not like the "lard" aftertaste of some of the food. I would mainly suggest staying away from the enchiladas and the beans to avoid the aftertaste.

The "bar" part of Lucy's is actually much larger than the dining room, and for me personally the atmosphere detracts from the restaurant. I like Lucy's open kitchen, though, that is visible to customers, as well as the friendly staff (some of whom I have known from the days when the restaurant was downtown). It is easy to see why Lucy's is such a favorite with locals. I am not sure of the restaurant's hours but it never seems to be closed when I want to go there.



Cuisine: Mexican El Paso
Cost: $
Accessible: Yes
Cooking Oil: Lard
Smoking: No Smoking

Chile Index:

Most Recent Visit
Aug. 19, 2007

Number of Visits: 10+

Best Items
Milanesa, Caldillo, Chile de Arbol Salsa

Special Ratings
Chiles Rellenos:
Flour Tortillas:
Salsa: chile de árbol