Several months ago, sleek black business cards started appearing on tables in downtown Albuquerque bars, printed only with the word “Shhh...”, the company name and a URL. It seemed as though anyone who happened to get one of these cards was invited to The B2B Bistro Club, some esoteric foodie coven rumbling in the Burque underground. “Huh. Okay. Neat!” I thought to myself the night I found one, then returned to nursing my drink.
That did it. I had to know what this secret was. Recently, I got the chance to find out.
Nestled into half of the space formerly occupied by now-defunct Vivace, Bistronomy B2B is a small restaurant that specializes in burgers and beer (that’s what the B2B stands for), as well as salads and mixed drinks. Inside, a square bar dominates the dining area. Behind it, a wall of 33 taps pump out an assortment of local microbrews—Marble, Chama River, Turtle Mountain, etc. Bistronomy is yet another proponent of the locavore trend, so the beer and food both call Albuquerque home.
Then it was on to our entrées. I opted for the lemon ginger chicken salad ($8) and a Mimosa Sunshine with cranberry and orange juice ($4.33), while my friend settled on a prickly pear margarita ($4.33) and a Rosa burger ($9).
The salad was like a treasure chest chock full of goodies: mixed greens with moist crumbles of ground chicken, walnuts, tomatoes, goat cheese, mushrooms, green onions and dried cranberries. The piquant tangy zing of the lemon ginger vinaigrette, with its notes of lemon grass and Thai basil, married all of the flavors at work in the mix. Sips of the mimosa provided a clean finish to each bite of the salad. This refreshing combo has “summer afternoon” written all over it.
I returned for happy hour on Saturday afternoon (starts at 4 p.m., $2 drinks). This time, I went for the Nawlins black and blue Cajun burger with blue cheese, cooked medium ($9) and served with Cajun frites, and a Mary brew (the B2B take on a Bloody Mary, made in part with lager).
The Nawlins proved to be juicy, spicy beef topped with a rich and creamy blue cheese. The Mary brew lacked the zing that I desire, but pepped up nicely with the addition of a couple of green olives. I finished my meal with the delightful Turtle Mountain Seasonal Nut Brown, a beer with a delicate chocolate aroma and notes of nut and caramel.
Nevertheless, we were all more than willing to forgive these minor missteps because of the overall high quality of the food and service. My friends all sang the praises of the burger buns, which held up nicely through consumption (and were cleverly stamped with “B2B” toasted into the top), and of the courteous service. As we finished our burgers and sipped the last vestiges of beer from the bottom of our pint glasses, one friend made sure to point out that, in spite of the incoming dinner crowd, our party was not being rushed to finish and leave. For all these reasons, I would be more than happy to return, again and again.
Bistronomy’s secret is out. Tell everybody.