Best Chef & Best Restaurant in Albuquerque: Jennifer James, Jennifer James 101
Eric Williams ericwphoto.com
UNM Area: 2201 Silver SE • 262-CHAI (2424) North Valley: 7520 Fourth Street NW • 254-2424 chaishoppe.com
The Duke City loves the seasoned tofu scramble, the tempeh bacon, and all of the vegan and gluten-free options. Seriously? How do they make that GF burger bun? And can someone sell us a gallon of that garlic Vegenaise? And 20 pounds of the masala fries?
2) Thai Vegan 3) Tie: Fei’s Health Café, Mint Tulip Vegan
The name says it all. When you see this large, green-hued truck parked by the Journal Center, east of Nob Hill or by the Downtown Growers’ Market, you best pull over and tuck in. The concise menu of inspired vegetarian, vegan and raw foods is made with local produce and love you can taste.
Practically everything about Zinc whispers romance. The extensive wine list, the dark and sultry ambience, the five-star food. If you want to get to know someone better, or reacquaint yourself with someone you love, Zinc sets the mood.
2) Artichoke Café and Wine Bar 3) Seasons Rotisserie & Grill
If you aren't among the folks who voted for Two Fool's, the excellent Irish tavern in Nob Hill, your attention needs to be directed to two places: the Scotch eggs and the boxty Reuben. The first is a hard-boiled egg covered in sausage, battered and then deep fried. The second is a traditional Reuben sandwich wrapped in a potato pancake. Pair either (or both) with a Guinness and you'll understand where our readers are coming from.
One of the toughest tests of any restaurant is how it fares with New Yorkers. They are a notoriously picky bunch, with the zenith of virtually every cuisine on the planet (except, it should be noted, Mexican and New Mexican) available a few subway stops away. But you know what? The food and service at Artichoke floors our NYC guests every time they visit us in Albuquerque. They can keep their fancy metropolis. We’ll keep our fancy Artichoke.
2) Zinc Wine Bar & Bistro 3) Tie: Jennifer James 101, Lucia, Vernon’s Hidden Valley Steakhouse
In case you're unclear on Flying Star Cafe's devotion to local ingredients, just take a gander at the giant map over the cash register. It points out all the places in state where your food came from. The meat, the cheese, the fresh produce: all sourced from right here in New Mexico whenever available.
2) Jennifer James 101 3) The Grove Café and Market
What a big impression the brains inside this old house made. The menu offered their creative takes on organic and sustainable ingredients. In the 2010 Alibi poll, Casa Vieja took home the coveted Best Restaurant prize. The wine list crowned owner Kate Gerwin Best Wine Steward. But alas, the walls of the 300-year-old adobe could no longer shelter this Corrales favorite. We can't wait to see what the Gerwins do next.
There’s a lot to relish about this place—upstairs and downstairs, for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Slate Street accommodates Downtown’s many changing moods, be it a power business lunch, a lazy weekend brunch or a glass of wine with your pals after work.
2) Artichoke Café and Wine Bar 3) Tie: Gold Street Caffè, Lucia
Scalo was Nob Hill before there was Nob Hill. Through the city’s booms and busts, Scalo has remained the neighborhood’s rock, anchored by excellent food, sterling service and unrivaled atmosphere.
2) Zinc Wine Bar & Bistro 3) Tie: Brasserie La Provence, Yanni's Mediterranean Grill and Opa Bar
Best Restaurant in the North Valley
6313 Fourth Street NW • 345-3935
We’re so glad the Alibi’s readers are handing this award over to Sophia’s Place. When chef and owner Dennis Apodaca ushered his culinary philosophy—local ingredients paired with soul-food comfort and a few surprises—into the North Valley, he gave the whole city a gift. Keep it up. We’ll keep eating.
2) Sadie's 3) Tie: Casa de Benavidez, Mary & Tito's
Best Restaurant on the Westside
Mimmo’s Ristorante & Pizzeria
3301 Coors NW • 831-4191
For more than 26 years, Mimmo's has brought New York flare to Albuquerque. The pizza crust is made fresh, the Italian-American dishes are authentic and the Italian wines flow. The pollo al Marsala and any of the veal entrées are tops.
Not only is it the best restaurant in Rio Rancho, it’s also among the best breweries in New Mexico. Turtle Mountain’s well-rounded menu and rotation of inventive beers ensure the people of Rio Rancho are in a good mood.
Albuquerque’s best-known celebrity chef, the James Beard Award-nominated Jennifer James, is this year’s crème de la crème. The name of her restaurant suggests that it’s an entry-level introduction to her talents. If so, we anxiously await her 200-level offering.
Best Restaurant in Albuquerque
Jennifer James 101
When you call your restaurant Jennifer James 101, it better be good. And it is. The food and service are about as perfect as you can find in Albuquerque, yet you don’t feel pressured to act all high society when you dine there. If anything, an air of reverence for good food is expected—and earned.
2) Tie: Slate Street Café, Yanni's Mediterranean Grill and Opa Bar 3) Tie: Thai Vegan, Zinc Wine Bar & Bistro
Results reported by Sam Adams, Jessica Cassyle Carr, Christie Chisholm, Marisa Demarco, Ari LeVaux, Laura Marrich, Devin O’Leary and Mina Yamashita