Alibi V.28 No.3 • Jan 17-23, 2019 

Restaurant Review

Drool-Worthy Deals in the Off Hours

Indigo Crow delivers satisfying small plates and sammies

Duck wings and a brew make for a very happy hour
Duck wings and a brew make for a very happy hour
Eric Williams Photography
Foodies know that few things are more frustrating than biting the bullet on a fine dining experience (I'm looking at you New Years/Birthday/Valentine's Day Dinners) only to regret the meal as overpriced and ultimately disappointing. Is there any way to insulate ourselves from that kind of mishap? I'm happy to say there is a solid tactic to rely on—let's call it off-hour reconnaissance—to spare ourselves both disappointment and sticker-shock. In broad strokes, it's trying a new spot for anything but dinner before committing to it for a show-stopper special occasion. The dossier we're compiling today is on the Indigo Crow, in Corrales. It's a cozy and embracing space (I mean, what's not to love about dining in an old converted adobe home?) rife with fireplaces, fine art and fancy flatware—all the earmarks of a luscious and luxurious occasion. But will the juice be worth the financial squeeze?

I popped over to Indigo Crow first for some happy hour bites, and then a lunch to measure the delivered dishes versus the high expectations, and am glad to report that everything about my off-hour reconnaissance made a big meal (and the bill that came with it) an absolute no-brainer.

Arriving right at 3pm, we had our pick of tables and—being so damn cold out recently—took a two-top right next to a fireplace. Ambiance absolutely sorted! The happy hour had some wallet-friendly drink specials of all stripes, but their glass of Duckhorn Merlot ($14 and one of the best new-to-me wines I've had in a decade) was a smooth and minerally slam dunk. The vittles on offer all sounded so good that we refused to choose and just took one of each.

The duck wings ($8 for six wings) were slathered with a terrific honey sriracha glaze that balanced sweet and hot in each rich and smoky bite. It was an upgraded twist on a happy-hour favorite in portions perfect for sharing, even if you won't want to!

So too with the fish and chips ($8)—two thick fillets atop a pile of what I'll call crinkle-spiral-petal fries. Whatever you call them, just don't call yourself late to happy hour because—as generous as the portions are—the light, flaky white fish beer-battered to perfection won't last. There are even a couple hush puppies thrown in for good measure, along with a fresh-made tartar sauce—though I'm a proud malt vinegar heathen.

The brisket sliders ($9), like everything else, would make a great starter if shared—but will probably satisfy most appetites as an entrée. Two flour-dusted dinner-roll sized sliders layered with juicy, shaved brisket and almost dripping with a house-made barbecue sauce alongside a few spiral-petal fries truly want for nothing more—but I'm asking for some sliced onions and maybe a quick pickle or even pepper next time.

The architectural Catalina salad with Grenache Rosé
The architectural Catalina salad with Grenache Rosé
Eric Williams Photography
Lighter appetites will love the wedge salad ($7)—a quarter wedge of iceberg with gorgonzola dressing, sprinkled with bacon bits, tomatoes, gorgonzola crumbles and topped with bright pink pickled onions. The balance of cream and crunch punctuated by the sturdy blue cheese and the salt and fat of the bacon makes this simple salad a crowd-pleaser.

Finishing off the happy hour bites are the teriyaki beef skewers ($7). Two skewers with approximately 10 chunks of steak, over fresh arugula and resting in teriyaki sauce. The dish was smaller, but the steak was grilled to juicy perfection and finished with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and a few ribbons of sushi-style pickled ginger. Based on happy hour, Indigo Crow didn't put a foot wrong … but how about lunch?

For that, I started with the Catalina (half $9, full $13): diced romaine in Louie dressing mixed with chunks of avocado, bacon, tomatoes, chopped hard-boiled eggs and both gorgonzola and parmesan, all spring-formed into a cube. It's an innovative architectural presentation that alone would makes the dish a standout, but combined with the sturdy, creamy salad makes it truly a memorable plate. The guacamole slathered green chile cheddar baguette of the smoked turkey sandwich ($13) is a delightful warning shot across the bow of your average sandwich. Melted cheddar holds the bacon and green chile to the slices of moist turkey, and I took it with onion rings on the side. It's a dish light appetites might make two meals out of, which ramps up the overall value a notch.

The same is true of the chicken bacon avocado ($12), a favorite combination of mine. As a favorite, I've had many a version of this and can safely say it ranks up there with the best. The fresh romaine plus sliced avocado and tomato handles your serving of veggies, the grilled chicken breast covers your lean protein, and the bacon delivers your recommended daily crispy bacon allowance! It's served on focaccia making it a sandwich you've really gotta get your mouth around, but you won't regret it once you do.

Rarely does a spot deliver on absolutely all fronts, but based on my off-hour recon, I'd happily try a special occasion brunch with drinks, or a fancy dinner for your favorite folks without hesitation. It won't be the cheapest meal you've had, but I've always believed special occasions justify the expense. Give them a go if you think so too.

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4515 Corrales Rd.
(505) 585-3061
http://indigocrowcafe.com

Hours: Tue-Sat: 11:30am-9pm Sun: 10am-9pm Closed Monday