Forque - ¿Qué? (Albuquerque)
Went to Forque ("fork", not "for-kay"), the new in-hotel restaurant at the Hyatt downtown today. I've read raves on Urban Spoon, but wanted to report that this was not the experience I had.
First, the clearly good stuff. The place was clean and had been somewhat remodeled from when it was McGrath's: it looked more modern and - I'm grateful to report - the exhaust system of the kitchen appears to have been upgraded, as there was NONE of the smell-of-cooking-food-getting-on-your-clothes issue that McGrath's used to have. Service was nice and on-it - great maitre d', really fast food delivery and very with-it drink refills and check-ups.
The food was fine, but wasn't in any way "WOW!" And it wasn't really all that cheap. There was a buffet that offered salad, desultory looking flatbread pizzas, and a nice-for-a-hotel looking selection of desserts. My friend (who treated - and it was a lovely time visiting) got that ($11.95) and never commented at all on it. I'm watching my girlish figure again, so I just grabbed a Cobb salad. (I'd considered a green chile & jack burger, done low-carb, but the burger is only 1/3-lb for $12 and I wanted more volume than that.) Meh. It was fine ($14) but kind of on the skimpy side, especially considering the price (the old Cafe Dominic in SF - $10 - and the Rio Chama in SF - $13 - just blew this one out of the water - and they're in pricey downtown SF, not "the Q" as Mayor Marty tried to get us to call Burque).
Anyhow, it was good to try it out. It's entirely possible that my diet caused me to pass up the exciting items on the menu, but one would think that my friend's buffet should have included something with a little zing. I'll try it again sometime and I'd be curious to hear what other Chowhounders think, but I can't in good conscience recommend that anyone rush down there. You're better off going to 4 Aces Grill a little ways N on 4th Street.
320 S Guadalupe St, Santa Fe, NM 87501
414 Old Santa Fe Trl, Santa Fe, NM 87501
See now, the name alone would have put me off this place.
Why do they do things like this with the spellings of words in names of businesses? What's wrong with FORK? What was wrong with WHISKEY? Do they think the "que" is elegant? Is it some reference to AlbuquerQUE. If so, how come it's not 'for-kay'? Or should I say, por que?
I left with a better impression of the food, but yes the items can really add up when you get a look at the final bill.
There is someone in the kitchen who knows flavor combining, but they've got some plating issues that are not hard to fix. Overall, I think it is a good addition to downtown.