But when I found you, in your inconspicuous niche at Jefferson and Singer, I discovered your chile was as fresh as it was hot. With your complimentary fresh salsa bar and your free-form use of hard-to-find chiles, like arbol, guajillo and chipotle, I knew we could have a good time together.
The fun begins by loading up on chips and cups of housemade salsas of roasted tomato-arbol, jalapeño-tomatillo and more of the Lizard’s creative concoctions.
They are hot enough to cause major tongue tingle but not so hot as to scald away the flavor. A quibble, however: The quality of the commercial chips is not up to the great salsas.
If you happen to be heat-averse, order the breakfast burrito ($6.49) with green chile, creamy style, and on the mild side. Big enough to feed two, it is served with scrambled eggs, jack and cheddar cheese, breakfast potatoes, red or green chile and bacon, ham or chorizo for 30 cents each, on a tortilla the size of a Frisbee.
Mine arrived fried halfway toward becoming a chimichanga. I don’t know if that was an aberration or the Lizard’s style.
With tacos and tortas on the menu, the Lizard has one foot (claw?) in New Mexico and one in Old Mexico. The liberal use of tomatillo and the availability of black beans are also Mexican touches.
The carne asada taco ($3.60) tastes like those grilled on the other side of the border. The accompaniments on the platter ($10) of cilantro-lime rice, black beans, savory pickled onion and roasted tomato crema show care and make an outstanding lunch choice.
There are a few little twists on standard tacos that keeps things interesting here, with pork belly, marinated in house seasoning before hitting the deep fryer; chipotle chicken; sensational chipotle shrimp; and pork al pastor featuring guajillo-rubbed grilled pork highlighted with pineapple, about $3.50 each. My favorite may be the Ensenada fish tacos, tilapia lightly fried and served with shredded cabbage.
The Lizard serves a decent Cuban sandwich ($8.99) as well as the “Cubana Mexicana” a satisfying combo of pork, ham, milanesa steak, tomato, onion, avocado, pickle and Monterrey jack cheese ($9.49).
You can order salads here ($6-$8.50) but why would you?
Now, a word: As small as you are, my lizard friend, you are mighty in your choice of ingredients. One doesn’t expect to find such quality in a modest establishment such as yours, but there you are, making fresh tortillas and sandwich rolls from organic flour every day.
You conscientiously avoid GMOs, and your chicken and pork are from South Valley producers. Your eggs are cage-free, and your pinto beans are Estancia-grown.
Krazy Lizard is about the food, not the décor. The service is minimal, as you order at the register, but the little place is clean and sunny, with a couple of outdoor tables for those who enjoy resting in the sun.
You are one Krazy Lizard, my friend, in a good way.