CA transplants in Albuquerque...recs needed please!!
Hi there!! My parents moved to Albuquerque not too long ago and are looking for restaurant recs. Any place that you would suggest with great food is fine, but specifically they are looking for Chinese and Non-New Mexican Mexican food. I know New Mexico is known for the red chile and green chile sauce (and quite obsessively ;) !!), but that is what my parents do not like. They grew up on Texas Mexican, but love CA Mexican the best (funny how there is a difference). I don't know if there is hope for that request (or perhaps a specific way to order Mexican food???), but I thought I would give it a shot!! Again, any restaurant with wonderful food please let me know!! Thanks!!
Just a quick note that they may not have much luck with either of what they're searching for. Neither ABQ nor Santa Fe has any great Chinese to speak of. I've had the best luck finding decent Asian food at tiny places in strip malls - especially one near Ta Lin market. Ming's is considered one of ABQ's best, but I've never eaten there and I think "best" is really relative.
What I wouldn't give for a truly good CA burrito. Also supremely hard to find. If they're not enjoying everything coming drenched in chile, ask for it on the side - or not at all. Other than that, I think they'll have to set their sights a little lower.
Gil's web-site is an awesome resource for someone new to the State. I do recommend Ming's Dynasty up on Eubank for Chinese, especially dim sum on the weekends but his other food is good too. I have heard good things about ABC Chinese but have never been. As to other recommendations, I've always enjoyed Giovanni's on San Pedro for NY Style pizza. Cafe Dalat or May Hong for Vietnamese. Shogun or I love Sushi for sushi. La Cafe Miche, Seasons (it's been a while), Artichoke Cafe, or Rancher's Club (steakhouse) at the Hilton for more upscale. India Palace, Marisco's La Playa (Mexican Coastal, the Santa Fe locations rock, haven't tried ABQ yet), Mykonos Cafe Taverna (Greek) and Dagmar's Delectables (German) offer more exotic fare. They have great food and are reasonably priced.
re: high desert chow
ABC was the go-to place for all the transplanted Chinese grad students at UNM when I worked there in the chemistry dept. It's definitely "Chinese" Chinese.
As for "Mexican" Mexican, Los Equipales is better than decent. The chef is a hoot; your parents will adore him. And it's not a dive kind of place either. You might even have to call ahead.
Man, learn New Mexican food if you live there! Chimayo vs Hatch chiles. Gollie Gee, what a dilemma. Drive south on 4th St. and soak in the ambiance of great, inexpensive, authentic. NEW MEXICAN FOOD! Have a green stuffed soppilia for me w/ a bowl of menudo for dessert.
ps Why does it only cost $.50 to talk to the devil in Tx?
A local phone call!
ABQ everyday chinese is weak compared to what I had back East. For "bistro" Chinese, Chow's is good - I haven't been to the new one on the west side, but the one on Juan Tabo is fine (better, in my experience, than the original in Santa Fe). Chen's on Juan Tabo just N of Central is as good as I've found for "regular" Chinese.
For "Mexican" Mexican, there are lots and lots to choose from. I'm a big fan of Ruben's Grill on Candelaria just E of Eubank.
That's New Mexican Mexican and how I miss it. Ruben's struck a chord; I knew it well in my UNM and Grants days. I've found a NEW Mexican restaurant in S. Hadley, Ma., only a 7 hr. drive; can't wait. Get my chiles maile to me. Eat a stuffed sopapilla for my w/ a pozole chaser.
I know it's hard to believe but we do not like New Mexican food *gasp*!! The sauce and chiles are not our taste at all. This probably comes from the CA and TX roots. We are very particular in Mexican and Chinese cuisine (my dad is half Mexican and Chinese and grew up on the best of the best). Unfortunetly he had a stroke not too long ago and can't cook all the time, which is why I hoped to find places that catered to those type of cuisines. This has actually helped out a lot, thank you all!!
As a self-professed foodie and transplant from the SF Bay Area, after living in ABQ for 5 years, I'd recommend the following:
Chopstix has the most authentic and probably best Chinese food in town. You can get uncommon dishes such as pigs feet, Chinese lettuce, homemade dumplings with garlic chives, and beef noodle soup.
Amerasia is OK for dim-sum. They have a small selection, somewhat non-traditional items, but the quality is pretty good. Ming Dynasty's dim-sum is not very good but it's all ABQ has for traditional dim-sum.
Vietnamese food is quite good in ABQ. My favorite is Pho #1 on San Pedro, south of Central. There are several others in that area as well.
Sushi isn't great in ABQ. My current favorite is Crazy Fish in Nob Hill. Eurasia Bistro was quite good but unfortunately closed down. Avoid Azuma and Samurai.
Tucanos off 1st & Central is a very good value, with a great salad bar and a variety of grilled meats brought to your table. Very nice atmosphere as well.
Scalo is a nice Italian place in Nob Hill with incredible Tiramisu, and is a nice place to take guests.
I had a positive experience at Mirai Express on Harvard south of central (Japanese bento-style food at value prices)
My wife likes Annapurna near UNM for vegetarian Indian food.
Hope this helps.