Alibi V.29 No.11 • March 12-18, 2020 

Restaurant Review

A Food Hall For All

Sawmill Market is set to be the next big thing in eating

One of the many things you can choose to chow down on at Sawmill Market.
One of the many things you can choose to chow down on at Sawmill Market.
Eric Williams Photography

I’ve got to say that I’ve been really proud of Albuquerque over the last few years. That spark of ingenuity and freshness is finally back on the upswing, giving us a constant flow of new and exciting places to see. The rise of locally owned businesses growing into huge spaces is fantastic and a part of a growing trend. We can dig into a lot of the economic reasons why this is happening, with the initial capital needed to launch a business being difficult to muster, which is what gave rise to the food truck revolution, but, ultimately, isn’t it more fun to have a location with a little bit of everything for everyone? Smaller local businesses can finally get a foothold and step up with places like these, meaning there’s room to grow. Thankfully, we have a new place called Sawmill Market that’s doing just that, becoming New Mexico’s first food hall.

It’s unique design makes it feel a world apart from Albuquerque.
It’s unique design makes it feel a world apart from Albuquerque.
Eric Williams Photography

We were in attendance of the ribbon cutting for the new market, getting a chance to look over all that’s going on inside those walls. The best way to describe the inside is like an artisan food court, featuring high-end eateries in place of junk food joints. With over 15 different food vendors under one roof, you’ll never have to struggle to find a place where everyone can go to eat ever again. On top of that, there are bars featuring local beer and wine, as well as a craft cocktail lounge. So, as it opens to the public, what should you expect to find? We’ve got a nifty guide to help you out. Note that some of these locations were not ready to launch immediately but will be coming in following weeks.

Aesthetically, you’ve got one of the most interesting new locales in the city. With a heavy focus on wood (the Sawmill theme coming in strong) you’ve got an interior that’s polished and glowing, combining wood and metal, it’s a design choice feels more modern than what you usually see in Albuquerque. With two floors, an outdoor patio called The Yard, an upstairs dining hall, as well as lounge areas sprinkled throughout, you’ve got a very upscale place to spend time with friends. At the ribbon cutting, even though there were hundreds of people in attendance, you never felt crowded or smooshed, with a large open floor plan that allows for plenty of freedom to move around without being at the mercy of others.

Blue Door Patisserie

One of the first places we stopped by was Blue Door Patisserie, which has a focus on French pastries and cuisine. With fresh bread, croissants, jams and candies, they’re the French pick-me-up your stomach has been looking for. Item to be on the look out for: green chile jam filled donut.

Eric Williams Photography

Botanic Bar

Using botanicals and refreshing tonics, Botanic Bar is the craft cocktail lounge for those looking to indulge in drinking, while keeping an eye on making healthy choices. The best part of it, besides the drinks, is that it’s located within a small greenhouse. Item to look out for: the botanical gin and tonic I had was without a doubt one of the most refreshing drinks I’ve tried in a long time.

Cacho’s Bistro

We don’t hear a ton about Venezuelan food around here, which is a shame, considering how delectable it is. Cacho’s Bistro has been a Railyard Market favorite for a while, so seeing them get their own location is great news. With a focus on bistro bites, expect things like cachitos and cachapas to be the highlights of the menu. If you’ve never had a cachapas, they sit somewhere between crepes and tacos, with cornmeal pancakes folded in with a soft cheese, and sometimes a protein. I’m personally very excited for them to be in full operation. Item to look out for: cachito with ham, mozzarella and green chile.

Dr. Field Goods

Dr. Field Goods describes itself as a casual farm-to-table restaurant and butcher shop. The first thing you’ll see when you walk up is their fridge, displaying all the cuts of meat they’ve freshly prepared for sale. With a mix of burgers, hot dogs and some incredible potatoes that were on sample that night, it’s good to see the butcher shop has a few surprises up their sleeve to keep the public excited. Item to look out for: Field Good Potatos Patatas Bravas Style, which consists of fried potatoes tossed in a red or green chile aioli with sharp cheddar cheese and New Mexican gremolata.

The soon to be well-loved Yard.
The soon to be well-loved Yard.
Eric Williams Photography

Eldora Chocolate

We love Eldora Chocolate. The bean-to-bar chocolatiers have made even the simple pleasure of chocolate something to treasure, crafting incredibly indulgent desserts worthy of the goddesses and kings of the land. They’re absolutely some of the nicest chocolates you’ll find around, and you’re doing yourself a disservice if you haven’t stopped by to have some. Items to look out for: any of their truffles. They’re heavenly.

Flora Mexican Restaurant

Using locally sourced ingredients to make from-scratch Mexican food, you already know you’ll be in for a meal worth remembering. Flora Mexican Restaurant knows the competition in this town, and is ready to face off against them with wood, charcoal and rotisserie cooking, as well as a fairly elaborate bar that will be making fresh juice cocktails. Item to look out for: A whole rotisserie chicken, made to serve a table of 4.

HAWT Pizza Co.

Not all pizzas are created equal, and if you think that they are, you’ve brought great shame to your family. HAWT Pizza Co. uses a wood-fired oven to make their pizzas, which sit comfortably between New York style and Neapolitan style, making something uniquely their own. The oven itself makes a loud statement in the space, demanding your attention, as well as the amazing smells emanating from it. You’ll be hard-pressed to find complaints with the pizza they serve up. Item to look out for: Let’s be real. Any pizza you get is going to be amazing, but the NM White has our interest.

Restaurant fronts become conversation hubs easily.
Restaurant fronts become conversation hubs easily.
Eric Williams Photography

The Mercantile Café

Locally sourced and seasonally driven is the name of the game at Mercantile Café. Featuring a café menu as well as a full prepared food menu, you’ll find it nestled right up near the Sawmill entrance, housing a shop that features New Mexican merchants. They were the ones in charge of serving food at the ribbon cutting to those out on the floor, with dishes such as a shrimp and agua chile, or potatoes with bell peppers, pickled fresno and a tahini sauce. Item to look out for: With the ever-shifting menu, just be on the lookout for what catches your eye. You won’t make a mistake ordering what your heart desires.

The Mercantile Wine Bar

The flipside of the café, the wine bar features local wine, a classy seating area and, of course, food to go with. From charcuterie boards to other simple finger foods, you’ve got the perfect evening with friends laid out to enjoy a glass of wine and small bites to pair. From the layout they had at opening, every single cheese was unique and wonderful, the meats fresh and tender, with the olives marinated in coriander and chili flakes, giving the salty flavors a nice spicy kick. Item to look out for: Is it wrong to recommend the charcuterie board for a wine bar? Sure, wine is great. But cheese! Barley buzzed with lavender and espresso! It’s too heavenly for words.

Mr. Powdrell’s Barbeque

We don’t need to tell you about Mr. Powdrell’s Barbeque, because anyone who knows anything knows that they’ve been making good barbeque in this city for over 50 years. If you’ve never been in to try them, now you have absolutely no excuse. Item to look out for: The half-pound brisket dinner has always been a personal favorite.

Naruto Ramen

Yes, this is the same Naruto as the one on Central in our now world-famous “Noodle District,” if you’ve never been in to try their Hakata-style ramen, made with select pork bones and eggless thin noodles, you’ve deprived yourself of one of life’s simplest joys. To call it just another soup is to do a disservice to the level of quality they offer. It’s colorful, it’s decadent, it’s ramen straight out of a Miyazaki film, steaming and waiting for you to slurp it down. Item to look out for: The namesake Naruto Ramen is inarguably too good to miss out on.

Paxton’s

“But what about my craft beers!?” you might be shouting. Don’t worry, Paxton’s has you covered, housing an enormous tap list of local beers. With their open floor plan, access to The Yard and comprehensive coverage of styles and brewers, you’ll be perfectly at home in your craft brew heaven in this bar within Sawmill Market. Bored of New Mexico beer (you heathen!) but still want something unique? Fear not, they’ll be carrying some regional beers for those who have experienced it all in the city. Item to look out for: Let’s be real, you know which beers you want, and nothing I say will change your mind.

Plata Coffee

Plata Coffee is looking to be the next coffee shop all your influencer friends are raving about. With locally roasted coffees and small batch teas, as well as artisanal goods, they’ve got the platform to succeed down in Sawmill Market. Not to mention, their logo looks so freaking cool. It’s simple yet complex. Hopefully that is the same style for their coffee. Item to look out for: Lavender latte made with Los Poblanos lavender syrup and a local bee pollen sprinkle.

Tulipani

Tulipani labels themselves as a tiny pasta shop. Making all their pasta in small batches, the dishes here are anything but tiny. The samples they had out for the night were absolutely delightful and brought to mind dinners my Italian grandmother had spent all day working to make. The simplicity of good ingredients that weren’t overloaded all coming together to make something special was at the forefront here. Item to look out for: Can there be such a thing as a bad dish of spaghetti? No, trust us, you’ll be fine picking anything they offer.

Simply Olive Oil

Speaking of Italian grandmothers, Simply Olive Oil is focused on high-end olive oils and balsamic vinegars, allowing you taste and learn about them and how to utilize them in cooking. I almost exclusively cook with olive oil when given the choice, and the difference is noticeable. Item to look out for: This is a total cop out, but olive oil!

XO Waffle

I spoke with the owner of XO Waffle, and plan on doing a full review for them in the near future, but the concept is simple, with them making a Belgian Liège style waffle, using brioche dough and pearl sugar to cause a caramelization, making a crunchy texture with a sweeter flavor. I’m very excited to stop in as soon as I can. Item to look out for: Peaches in the Air, featuring baked peaches and candied walnuts with ice cream and caramel.


1909 Bellamah Ave. NW
(505) 563-4470
sawmillmarket.com
8am-10pm