Albuquerque: why do so many New Mexican restaurants close so early??
It's hard to find a real NM restaurant in Abq open past 8, or even 7. I think it's because they get most of their business at lunchtime, a lot of NM-ers go out to eat dinner around 5, and these places don't find it cost-effective to stay open much beyond an early dinner service. I think El Patio, in the University area, is open until 9:30 or so. They serve very simple, homestyle NM food (by that I mean everything's kind of gloopy, but flavorful). It's in a crumbling old adobe house that could use a thorough cleaning, and it's generally packed and noisy, but some things there are authentically northern NM and tasty. El Pinto on 4th NW is open until 9 (10 on Fri & Sat). It's a bigger, more well-kept restaurant, and has a beautiful patio, but I don't like the food that much. Others will disagree, though. It's very popular and may be worth a try.
Yeah, all the later places I really like are up in Santa Fe and further north. El Patio is fine. A few open-later choices I like semi-sort-of-well: Sadie's, a few branches of Garcia's, El Pinto (easily the nicest digs), Los Cuates. The original Range in Bernalillo has some decent NM options amidst a broader menu, and the local color is pretty fun; see also the Frontier. And if you don't mind no frills, the Taco Cabanas on San Mateo and Mongomery are locally owned and bear almost no resemblance to the rest of the chain, having been modified into what I think is some of the better New Mex in the state, including killer homemade flour tortillas. Flying Star is a local chain which actually has some remarkably decent NM stuff on its menu, and although they don't make a big deal of it they also use a lot of local and natural ingredients.