Steak and Spirits
High Noon Restaurant and Saloon
“Oh, yes,” she answered, seeming slightly bored. “The guys from the Albuquerque ghost tour were just in here with their equipment.” Our hostess clarified that she hadn’t seen the phantom herself, though she added she’s nervous about using the ladies room, one of its favorite haunts. Certainly the building itself lends a certain credence to this vague spook story. It’s an ancient adobe home built in 1783 with low ceilings and thick walls. The first room past the foyer is a shadowy space where carved wooden santos peer out from niches in the wall. In the next room, the ceiling vaults upwards into a spacious dining area, but even here there are oddities: Ceramic lamps hang from above, their perimeter decorated with eerie masks, light pouring from open eyes and mouths.
“Oh, yes,” she answered, seeming slightly bored. “The guys from the Albuquerque ghost tour were just in here with their equipment.” Our hostess clarified that she hadn’t seen the phantom herself, though she added she’s nervous about using the ladies room, one of its favorite haunts.
But no apparitions materialized as we were taken to our seat in a cozy corner of the main dining room and handed menus. With an eye out for paranormal appearances, we delved into the starters. The tres amigos ($12) is a triptych of salsa, guacamole and queso, each in its own tostada bowl. The queso is the standout here, light bodied, nearly fluffy in fact, with a creamy richness far from the usual processed cheddar you find in such dishes. Next we tried the red chile beef bites ($10). A tenderloin cut’s worth of flash-fried cubes arrives swimming in a buttery red chile sauce with a flour tortilla on the side. The beef is soft and rich with a spicy marinade and a sweetness the server told me comes from a brown sugar glaze. One peculiar addition to the appetizer menu is a brie empanada ($11) that’s far more suited to dessert, so more about that later.
With a traditional margarita, a traditional New Mexican combinación platter only makes sense. The Plaza platter ($16) comes with a taquito, a cheese enchilada, a pork tamale and a relleno stuffed with tender pork rib meat. Order it with the smoky, cumin-touched red chile. The enchiladas here are flat and cooked in a bit of oil to give them some toothiness.
If your habits run more toward a naked carnivorism than tradition, the braised short rib ($13 at lunch, $22 for a plateful during dinner) is a sure bet. Super tender pork that falls apart in your mouth with a sweet, slightly fruity peach barbecue sauce and served on a bed of green chile mashed potatoes (which, after tasting, has forever changed my perspective on mashed potatoes), this is a must try. At dinner the meat options expand with several steaks, including a brown sugar-cured tenderloin ($30). The touch of caramelized sweetness sets off the rich meat and gives each bite a pleasing interest.
Then comes the penultimate question: “Did you save room for dessert?” We had to unbutton our jeans and steel ourselves mentally, but we said “Yes.” And I am glad. We had a difficult time choosing among favorites like flan and tres leches cake, but in the end we decided to try something more unusual. At our server’s recommendation, we ordered our meal-closer from the appetizer menu: the aforementioned brie empanadas ($11). Two triangular, flaky pastries stuffed with, naturally, brie, drizzled over with a slightly spicy apricot-
425 San Felipe NW
Hours: 11am to close, Monday to Saturday
Noon to close, Sundays
Vegetarian options: Yes
Paranormal activity? In the bathrooms and by the bar
Vibe: Quaint and ever so slightly spooky
Extras: Happy hour and live music
The Alibi recommends: Plaza platter, braised short ribs, beef tenderloin, brie empanadas