Hitting the Sauce
Gravy adds a little something extra
After several delays the restaurant finally opened in late 2014. And that’s really when the trouble began. Most restaurants suffer through a rocky opening period (in fact, our review policy at the Alibi is to give eateries at least 6 weeks before we’ll write about them for precisely that reason), but because of the high visibility of its location, the chaos of still-ongoing construction and the weight of expectations, Gravy’s debut verged on hellish.
Yelp reviews from the first few weeks of 2015 tell of long waits, harried servers and food arriving cold, among other problems. The most telling comments mentioned the fact that construction was still going on and that dust was prevalent, as well as ventilation systems breaking down and other woes. To put it simply, Gravy wasn’t ready for the kind of crowds and attention that it got, and the flood of one-star reviews that hit Yelp shows it.
Now, five months later, I’m pleased to say that Gravy seems to have resolved the issues that dogged its early days.
The first time I stopped by Gravy was soon after the opening. I lucked out by coming in during a quiet, midweek morning. The servers were clearly shell-shocked, and when I asked them how business had been, they simply shook their heads. I made up my mind then to give them a little while to get their act together.
Now, five months later, I’m pleased to say that Gravy seems to have resolved the issues that dogged its early days. Oh, you might still find service a little on the sluggish side during high-traffic weekend brunches, but nothing inexcusable. And more importantly, the food is excellent.
If you prefer a heartier, meatier breakfast, there is one option that you should absolutely not pass up: the breakfast sandwich. This isn’t some Egg McMuffin kind of deal—for starters the heart of the sandwich is a slab of fried chicken with cheddar cheese, a fried egg, bacon and white gravy oozing over it. The whole deal is pressed between a flaky, golden biscuit, but you’re not going to manage this delicious mess with your hands. A fork is definitely required.
As befitting any diner, Gravy’s lunch and dinner menu leans heavily on comfort food. In addition to the chicken, there’s a salmon steak on a bed of succotash that’s worth your time, and steak frites—a cut of beef with a peppery, brown gravy and a helping of Gravy’s hand-cut fries. For appetizers, my group chose the fat, clean-tasting, shell-on BBQ shrimp and Asian chicken wings. I was impressed with the quality of the shrimp—though the BBQ flavor was lacking—but the wings were a sweet assault on the senses, only somewhat mitigated by the horseradish dipping sauce.
Importantly, for the modern ale-obsessed Albuquerque, Gravy offers a stout selection of microbrews, several featuring local favorites like Marble. These days, a few local beers are par for the course, but there are at least a dozen taps here. Even the most jaded hophead hipster should be able to find something to appeal to their palate.
All in all, Gravy is a welcome addition to the EDo restaurant scene, and if anything, the early hits to their reputation only prove that patience is a virtue. If you’ve waited this long to try them out, go now. The wait is over.
725 Central NE
Hours: 8am to 10pm, Monday through Sunday
Vibe: Diner done right.
Booze: Beer on tap.
The Alibi recommends: Breakfast sandwich, cinnamon roll pancakes, fried chicken, steak frites