Serious Eats: New York

De Mole's Lighter Take on Enchiladas

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[Photograph: Max Falkowitz]

The average junky enchilada is all about a flood of cheese, some bland meat, MOAR CHEESE, and some mild salsa for good measure. At De Mole, a more than solid Mexican restaurant with branches in Sunnyside and Astoria, they do things differently.

There are a few enchiladas on the menu, but most noteworthy may be the spinach version ($11). Two corn tortillas come stuffed with lightly cooked spinach that still has some vegetal bite. The rest of the parts list is standard: rice and beans on the side, lots of salsa verde, and cheese.

But that salsa verde has such a lively acidity and surprising heat it'll take you by surprise. It takes the spinach by surprise too, making for a far more flavorful—and blissfully not cheese-based—enchilada than most out there. The dairy you do find is a restrained sprinkling of fresh, lightly salted queso blanco, not an oozing blanket of melted Jack. It adds a pleasing saltiness to the salsa without overwhelming its prickly flavor.

Cheesy, oily mega-enchiladas have their place. When you're not in that place yourself, these lighter ones do quite well.

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