- Matthew Schniper
King’s Chef Diner #3, 6436 S. U.S. Hwy. 85/87, Fountain, 434-2479, cosdiner.com
The Purple Castle stands as a legend, dating back to 1956 (under current ownership since 1997). The Acacia Park location created enough seating to host the masses for King’s Chef’s famous green chile. But many locals still don’t know about the Fountain location, opened more than a year ago. (Hell, their website still hasn’t been updated to note it.)
One major difference here: a liquor license, handy for the Hail and Farewell parties hosted on-site and reflected partly in its decor. We also learn of a Thursday-Saturday dinner menu, off which you can also order during day hours. So we try out mixed street tacos and a steak sandwich alongside mugs of Elevation Coffee Traders diner coffee (the perfect kind you crave when you aren’t in a third-wave mood).
The carnitas taco bests the chicken and flank steak ones, with ideal texture and decent flavor; the other two need more seasoning despite fresh garnishes and shredded cheese and generous protein portions. I like the sandwich’s toasted potato bun and caramelized-onion sweetness, but again there’s a blandness problem with its flank steak (and button mushrooms), even if the meat’s tender and juicy enough. I’d look to a carne asada-like prep to perk it up.