The Shop - Promising New Cafe/Restaurant in Albuquerque
Had breakfast today at The Shop - Breakfast & Lunch in Nob Hill. It's on Monte Vista just north of Central (in that tiny plaza at the South-Eastern corner of the UNM Main Campus, where Girard, Central & Monte Vista all intersect kind of awkwardly).
I think this is a place to watch. -- Still working out some stuff, but with its heart in the right place.
Here's the menu: http://www.theshopbreakfastandlunch.c... They serve shrimp and grits for breakfast, which I think, in and of itself, makes them worth a visit.
The price range is about the same as Flying Star, but there's a lighter touch and more of a home-made flavor to the food. It feels like an earnest young chef and crew are trying their best to do something that's a few steps above what you get in most restaurants at this price point in Albuquerque.
There's a little awkwardness in some of the dishes -- a weird butter sauce on the shrimp and grits, a jumble of salsas on the huevos rancheros, -- but even the missteps seem to come out of a considered effort to make something wholesome, fresh, and different from the usual chile cheese melt. Overall, the flavors are nice and the ingredients seem to be of good quality.
They serve Ohori coffee which thrilled some people. (I don't drink coffee, so I don't know.) The service was calm, friendly and efficient, but it was nearly empty when we were there so I can't say how it would be in a crush.
The Shop is solidly good now and they offer a more interesting breakfast selection than most other places in the city, but I think it has the potential to be really good and maybe even great. -- I hope it lasts long enough to get there.
Went there again a couple of days ago, and it's even better (service was good even on a busy day). The carne adovada is excellent and my Mom fell in love with the tacos with rajas in them that were a daily special. Seems like they're using organic ingredients wherever feasible (salad greens, etc).
Please try this little restaurant some time if you have a chance and are so inclined. Nothing fancy, but nice, earnest*, flavorful food.
( * - a word I'm borrowing from finlero because it's so perfect for a certain kind of cooking.)