You really should try Le French Corner (3905 San Mateo, south of Montgomery) for breakfast some day. I know, I know, the name is bad Frenglish and the place isn't even on a corner, but don't let that get in the way of a deliciously memorable meal. When eating another breakfast burrito is too boring to contemplate, switch it up with a simple but oh-so-satisfying French breakfast. Picture this: a big hunk of crusty baguette, a big pat of butter and two kinds of jams, and a cup of café au lait. Doesn't that sound good? If you want something more substantial, Le French Corner also has a Brie and pecan quiche (a diet buster for sure), huge chocolate-filled croissants and meat- and veggie-filled omelets. Plus, there's a huge case full of éclairs, tartlets and other goodies. They open at 7 a.m. Monday through Saturday. Don't go on Sunday or you'll be looking at a closed sign through your tears.
Two new finds near Century Rio 24: Asado and Japengo. The restaurants, one a Brazilian churrascaria and the other a sushi joint, line the back side of Blue Corn Café and face the movie theater. Asado (345-4546) is the Albuquerque location of a restaurant that also has locations in Santa Fe and near Chicago, Ill. Owner José Venzor also runs Carmen's Pizza, a Chicago-style pie place that's been in the capital city for years and briefly had two locations in Albuquerque. Asado makes a stab at Brazilian décor (whatever that is) with peppy music, brightly painted interior and a big waterfall along one wall. It's noisy but not so loud you can't hear each other talk. Like Tucanos, Downtown's churrascaria, Asado grills up skewers full of meat and brings them around to your table. Also like Tucanos, this place is all-you-can-eat, but the salad bar is much better (don't miss the garlicky grilled eggplant) and it seems like the quality of the meats is higher. The price is comparable, nearly $20 per person.
Next door to Asado is Japengo (344-4469), a Japanese restaurant with a décor and vibe that is the exact opposite of Asado. Where the Brazilian restaurant is bright and lively, Japengo is serene and relaxing. The high walls are painted off white and the room is furnished with blond woods; muted fabric covers the banquette cushions. At both places the service is good, although Japengo was nearly deserted mid-week so we had their undivided attention. It's a fairly typical sushi menu here and the range of rolls and ngiri we tried were good—except for a rather fishy mackerel. Choose Japengo when you want someplace quiet and something light before the movie. It's not the best sushi restaurant in town, but it's certainly good and moviegoers can't beat the location. Check them both out during Cinema Center's Restaurant Village tasting and tunes event, Thursday, Nov. 11, from noon until 2 p.m. They'll be giving away free samples and gift certificates good for movies and food.
By the way, Maximito's, the Mexican restaurant at 606 Broadway SE, is now open for the late-night crowd on Friday and Saturday nights. After way too many cocktails downtown, you can hoof it over to Maximito's, stuff your face with tacos from 1 to 4 a.m. and sober up before driving home.