Albuquerque’s restaurant scene is thriving, but that scene doesn’t grow and change without input from you, the diners. Which is why we have the Best of Burque Restaurants reader poll each year, so you can cast your votes for the best cocktail bar, the best pizza place, and the best green chile to be found in the city. This is the kind of thing that restaurants will print out and proudly display in their windows for years to come, so, y’know, don’t take it lightly.
Gruet at the Grille—Gruet Steakhouse and Wine Bar is just nine months old, but the success of the upscale steakhouse has prompted business partners Frank Marcello, Laurent Gruet and Farid Himeur to expand the Gruet brand to yet another restaurant. The Gruet Grille opened a few days ago in the old Café Bodega building (4243 Montgomery NE), which now boasts an oyster bar and several other renovations. The bistro-style menu pairs fresh fish and high-end comfort foods with an extensive collection of wines. For the time being, lunch is available from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m., with dinner service from 5 to 10 p.m. Call 888-7004 for reservations—and let us know what you think!
Johnny Orr has been turning people on to gourmet sandwiches, salads and cheeses for well over a year at his casual, yet sophisticated, little sandwich shop in the Northeast Heights. Now, after months of careful preparation, Relish is finally (finally!) open for business at its second location in downtown Albuquerque. I took Chef/Owner Johnny out for a celebratory after-work drink at the Anodyne and made him talk to me about food. He eventually got wise that the small mechanical device on the bar was not a cell phone, but, in fact, a micro-cassette recorder. He was being interviewed.
Hot dogs could be the new California Rolls. And chef extraordinaire Bill Howley of the newly-revamped Howley's Place can cook a lean, mean, old-school dog so good that Chicago itself should take note. His lovely wife and co-owner Tia is a superb sommelier with a smile for every diner at no extra charge.