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ABQ- Zinc and Church street Fail

  • j
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Hi All-
I had a group visiting this weekend and we did some dining out. A late dinner at Zinc on Thursday night, Frontier, Owl, Sushi King and Church Street were all on tap and we also went to the Shed in Santa Fe for lunch on Friday. It was my first time at the Shed and, though there was a wait, service was efficient and food was yummy and reasonably priced. I'll be back. Every other place on the list performed admirably except Zinc and Church Street. In both cases there was a perfect storm of major cooking mess up and inattentive/poor service.

The server at Zinc was nice and competent, the restaurant was fairly busy but not slammed when we arrived with a party of 4. The timing was fine through the apps then things slowed down significantly. When we finally got our entrées the spaetzel and cabbage were burnt black on the pork chop dish. Completely inedible. The food runner had brought this dish out and I honestly can't believe they bothered it was so obviously destroyed. We showed the waitress and she looked embarrassed and came back with a side of spaetzel. The whole plate should have been comped or replaced in my opinion. I tasted the pork and it tasted of charcoal. I think they must have tried to keep it warm as they dealt with some delay in one of our other dishes. My lamb was cooked unevenly, one half was perfect and the the other half too raw to eat. SO disappointing as I have had pleasant experiences at Zinc before. I really don't think I'll go back.

I had never been to Church street but I had heard good things about their breakfast and my friends wanted to see old town so there we were. Disaster. Our server was a mess. As one of my friends said, it's not just that he isn't a good waiter. "it's as if he's never been to a restaurant before."

The food took forever to come, 3 of us got the exact same dish, breakfast quesadilla, and 2 out of the three got the dish with no chile in it, 1 of the three inexplicably got no sides. We pointed all this out to the waiter and he said "the kitchen is off this morning" and brought us a bowl of cold green chile. Again, how do you bring out an incomplete dish? In this case the runner didn't bring it but the waiter. You would hope he would notice before he put an incomplete dish on the table. Won't be back to Church street even thought it's near my house and a great old building.

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Frontier Restaurant
2400 Central Ave SE, Albuquerque, NM 87106

Zinc Wine Bar & Bistro
3009 Central Ave NE, Albuquerque, NM 87106

Church Street Cafe
2111 Church St NW, Albuquerque, NM 87104

Sushi King
118 Central Ave SW, Albuquerque, NM 87102

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  1. I know a lot of people who like Church Street, but I can't count myself in their ranks. We didn't experience anything as egregious as you (perfectly competent server, dishes were complete), but we did find the food a little amateurish. Everything felt a little heavy and clumsy; Southern stuff was too heavily battered and over-fried (loved their spicy remoulade though), ingredient combinations often lacked finesse. Sooner or later, I'd like to give them another chance; if nothing else, it's one of the only places in NM that fills that upscale casual niche.

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    Church Street Cafe
    2111 Church St NW, Albuquerque, NM 87104

    2 Replies
    1. re: finlero

      As I recall, Church Street cafe in Albuquerque serves a tourist oriented style of New Mexican food. I don't think they do Southern food or remoulade at all. They serve Carne Adovada, Chile Rellenos and such. It's not Southern food, and not even Southern New Mexico style food. I haven't eaten there in years, but Finlero, could you have your restaurants mixed up, or am I just totally missing your point?

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      Church Street Cafe
      2111 Church St NW, Albuquerque, NM 87104

      1. re: rpl

        Yikes, you're totally right. I was thinking of SLATE Street Cafe, and I stand by my above post for it. I have never been to Church Street Cafe. Thanks for giving me a chance to set the record straight!

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        Church Street Cafe
        2111 Church St NW, Albuquerque, NM 87104