House Mole a Standout at Aqui En Bella Puebla Inc.
"La mejor de Mexico esta en Puebla"--which roughly translates to "the best part of Mexico is Puebla"--reads the menu of Aqui En Bella Puebla Inc. The board is lengthy: dozens of antojitos, a long list of protein fillings for your tortas and tacos, six kinds of soup, a steam table with more options, and a clapboard of specials that you'll want to peruse before committing to anything.
Even if enchiladas drenched in house mole poblano ($12) are not documented in ink, the kitchen will happily make them. And, if you ask nicely, it may whip up a side of grilled nopales ($4), charred and tender, without the mucilaginous strands that plague novice cooks.
But about those enchiladas: The mole, rust-colored and smooth, is lovely. It pools on the plate, as slick and glistening as an unregulated oil spill. The sauce is on the sweet side with treble notes of piloncillo, the cones of unrefined brown sugar you can find wrapped in plastic on the bottom shelf of most Mexican-operated bodegas. That flavor is countered with clove, bitter chocolate, and toasted chile; thick rings of crisp white onion and salty crumbles of dry cheese further offset the sugar. Chicken swaddled in the warm corn tortillas is tossed with the mole first then wrapped and sauced again, offering a fermata of spice that sits on the palate long after the plate has been wiped clean. It lingers in the mind for days.
Aqui En Bella Puebla Inc.
94-11 Roosevelt Avenue, Queens
Scarlett Lindeman is a Brooklyn-based writer, covering the city's best taquerias, fondas, and cantinas. She writes the ¡Oye! Comida column for Fork in the Road.