Sombrero's Southwest Grill

30 Indian Head Rd. Kings Park, NY 631-544-5000

Sombrero's Southwest Grill

(Credit: Newsday/Joan Reminick)

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Critic rating: 1.5

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Type: Tex-Mex, Southwestern Price range: $$ (Moderate) Description:

New to the burgeoning Kings Park dining scene is Sombrero’s Southwest Grill, a Tex-Mex/Central American eatery under the same ownership as the nearby Dixie’s Smokehouse BBQ and Anderson's Deli. Executive chef Rogelio Nunez hails from Honduras.

Hours: Daily 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Ambience: Fair Service: Good Credit cards: Accepted Accessibility: wheelchair accessible
Sweet potato chipotle soup is garnished with tortilla

Sweet potato chipotle soup is garnished with tortilla strips at Sombrero's Southwest Grill. (April 28, 2012) (Credit: Johnny Simon)

1.5

A short walk from the Kings Park railroad station is a hacienda-like structure. Inside, walls are hung with bright sombreros and serapes, along with a sculpture of the mythic flutist Kokopelli. You don't need a written menu to tell you burritos are in the building.

Sombrero's is a Tex-Mex eatery with a dual identity. At lunch, you move down a line and point to ingredients on a steam table. Dinnertime, there's full service and ordering from a menu -- although most everything comes from those same trays behind the counter.

While tables are tight and the room can reverberate, you may not care after a bowl of fiery rich sweet potato chipotle soup. The "cheesy" chicken tortilla soup makes for a lively alternative. One night, though, a well-seasoned shrimp and black bean soup is short on shrimp, hot enough to burn the roof of the mouth. Better is a subtly spicy bowl of chicken chili.

Chicken wings, fried but not breaded, work best with a habanero barbecue sauce. A simple shrimp quesadilla oozes molten cheese -- and comfort. Less appealing is an oddly sweet arepa, or corncake, stuffed with mozzarella. Mama mia.

Roasted pork carnitas -- moist hunks of tender meat -- hold up well on the steam table. They're great in assemble-your-own flour tortilla fajitas, with peppers and onions served with rice, beans and sour cream; pico de gallo comes on demand; guacamole costs extra.

Carnitas show up again in the very good Albuquerque burrito bowl -- all the ingredients of a burrito without the tortilla -- along with rice, black beans, Cheddar cheese and barbecue sauce. The Santa Fe burrito features somewhat dry grilled chicken with rice, black beans and cheese, plus salsa and sour cream. It's hefty but, unfortunately, lukewarm. And while a Margarita shrimp salad with tomatoes, cucumber and pico de gallo isn't bad, it's somewhat bland.

Tacos here are either crispy corn or soft flour. Sampled with fried tilapia as well as pork carnitas, they are best when kicked up with a side of guacamole.

Dessert is a churro -- basically, a stick of fried dough. Better to spend calories on what comes before.

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Sombrero's Southwest Grill 30 Indian Head Rd., Kings Park

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