Numex Chile, a sizzling local favorite in St. Petersburg’s Grand Central district, features a chile-centric menu with a modern twist. It's New Mexican flavor and a side of heat!
The cuisine is flavor-forward with just the right amount of heat to allow the New Mexico-inspired savory goodness to sparkle across your tongue and warm your soul. Numex's specialty is a unique strain of chile peppers from the Hatch Valley of New Mexico known as NuMex #9 Heirloom peppers. They can be found in almost every dish on their inventive menu.
Authentic Mission from an Inspired Local
Owner and Pinellas County native, Ray Smith, spent years in the restaurant industry. After years working in Colorado and sampling chiles from the Pueblo and the Rio Grande regions of the Southwest, he returned to St. Petersburg with a mission to recreate the rich authenticity of New Mexican cuisine. That mission is beautifully reflected in NuMex - once you've experienced the food there, you'll never go back to a typical Mexican joint again.
According to Ray, “Our menu is inspired by a unique community of people, farmers and street food found only in New Mexico.”
Green and Red Chiles from New Mexico's Hatch Valley are the basis for most menu items at NuMex.
Chili-centric Appetizers and Entrees Shine
An appetizer of chips & trio is a great place to start on your chile pepper journey at Numex Chile. The trio is made up of red chile and green chile salsas plus green chile queso or optional guacamole and accompanying crisp tortilla chips. Along with the signature hatch chiles, the green salsa is made with serrano, tomatillos, and jalapeno. It’s mild and slightly sweet, with just a touch of heat that blooms across the back of your tongue like the start of fireworks on the 4th of July. The red salsa has a similar heat sensation with a delicious, earthy flavor. Sampling these salsas gives you a hint of the flavor profiles found in many of the dishes at NuMex.
Entrée selections include enchiladas, burritos and a Machaca Plate - featuring beef marinated in green chile, onions, garlic, and tomato. It’s so flavorful and tender that it pulls apart with a fork. This beautiful Mexican comfort food is served alongside pinto beans, posole, and rice.
The carne adovada plate is, hands down, one of the shining stars on the menu. The pork is marinated in red chile with onion, garlic, and Mexican oregano. The flavor of the red chile stands out in this dish; the spices are front-and-center, and it finishes with a warm heat.
NuMex dishes are flavor-forward and inspired by the authentic culture of New Mexico.
Two specials on the menu on the day I was there were flautas and chile rellenos. The flautas can come in either ground beef or chicken sitting on a bed of green chile cream sauce and a drizzle of habanero aioli. This is the perfect combination of textures. In a single bite, you get the crunch from the corn tortilla shell and the soft and flavorful meat filling along with the creaminess of the green chile base. The flavor and heat from the aioli is a perfect compliment to the savory filling. This is one special entrée that is not to be missed!
The chile rellenos are a roasted hatch green chile that is stuffed with cheese and coated in batter before taking a bath in hot oil. Start to finish, this was just delicious.
Standard entrees are complemented by a list of daily specials, keeping the menu always fresh and exciting.
Don’t skip dessert at NuMex. The sopapillas are unlike anything you’ll find in this area. The flour mix is made in Valencia, New Mexico, and fries up so light and airy, you’d think angels were in the kitchen making them to order. They are served with locally sourced honey from Brick Street Farms and are the perfect finish to a memorable meal shared with friends and family.
The best restaurants can transport diners to a different place and NuMex does that. You might be in St. Petersburg’s Grand Central District when you walk in but it’s not long before the flavors and textures take you to the Hatch Valley in New Mexico. It’s a place you’ll want to visit over and over again. And if you want to take a little of the Hatch Valley home with you, pick up a jar of the NuMex fire-roasted hatch green chiles to go.
Facade photo courtesy of the writer. Food photos courtesy of NuMex.