I was among the many diners who mourned the demise of Le Café Miche in 2009. From the beginning of Chef Claus Hjortkjaer’s tenure in 1996 until it closed, Miche was one of Albuquerque’s most popular venues for upscale continental dining. Hjortkjaer tells me that the location coupled with the advent of ABQ Uptown brought him to an economic impasse and closing.
After Café Miche, Hjortkjaer moved through the city’s restaurants, often behind the scenes. He was executive chef at Four Hills Country Club and was a guest chef at numerous events in New Mexico and out of state. Eventually he found himself working at La Provence as its executive chef.
Hjortkjaer tells me he’s excited about bringing his new menu to the thousands of diners he’s fed over the years. If you’re on his email list, you’ve already heard about his monthly cooking classes. But he gets positively giddy when he tells me about the continental breakfast beginning on Aug. 1.
“We’ll open at 7 a.m. with croissants, Danishes—of course, since I’m Danish—and really good French coffee.” He’ll also have a quiche for the egg dish. Hjortkjaer says he’s very aware of his location next-door to UNM. He sees the La Provence as part of the neighborhood—a place where folks can enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner, take advantage of the free Wi-Fi, or drop in for a glass of wine at the end of the day. With a sunny patio, banquettes, bar and dining room, the revamped Brasserie La Provence is saving a seat for everyone.