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Zinc Wine Bar & Bistro – Albuquerque, New Mexico

One of the best restaurants in Nob Hill, Zinc

Zinc is one of Albuquerque’s very best restaurants for lunch, brunch and dinner

Albuquerque’s Nob Hill district largely owes its emergence as the city’s first “suburb” to Route 66, the great Mother Road which carried Americans westward.  Because of Route 66, the Nob Hill area has been, since before World War II, a thriving residential community replete with restaurants, motels, a modern movie theater, pharmacies and restaurants.  Today it remains the city’s cultural heart and, thanks to the preservation of Route 66 era architecture, retains much of the charm that captivated west bound sojourners.

New tenants such as Zinc Wine Bar & Bistro which launched in 2003 hold court in well preserved brick buildings and seem completely at home.  Antique mirrors, distressed wood floors, stained glass and warm colors coalesce with intoxicating aromas to make this classy bistro one of the city’s best launches (and lunches) of the new millennium.  The French rotisserie, visible from the main floor and the open mezzanine above, turns out some of the best meals in the city.

There’s just a bit of whimsy in the decor at Zinc

While considered a premium fine dining destination, Zinc’s generous portions are comparatively value priced–your bill may approach three figures, but you’ll feel you got your money’s worth.  Meals are well paced with appetizers and entrees brought to your table at seemingly prescribed intervals that allow you to savor and reflect on the quality of the former without pining for the latter. Portion sizes are reasonable–generous, but not profuse.

There are nearly as many floor levels at Zinc as there are layers of flavor in some of its terrific food. There’s a downstairs bar with a lighter menu, a street-level dining room and a mezzanine floor that provides perhaps the best vantage point of any floor. Comfortable spacing between tables is available at all three levels.

Duck Confit Egg Rolls–Absolutely Wonderful!

Zinc is the brainchild of twin brothers Kevin and Keith Roessler, two veteran restaurateurs who also own Season’s Rotisserie & Grill on the northern outskirts of Old Town. They also own Savoy, a Swanky fine-dining restaurant launched in 2007 in Albuquerque’s Northeast Heights.  The menu at Zinc seems to be a fusion of eclectic American comfort food with departures into New Mexican and French cuisine. The menu is inventive and inspired with something for everyone, including a nice selection of vegetarian entrees.

The clientele isn’t quite as eclectic as the menu. At any given meal, you’ll see young urban professionals climbing the ladder and more seasoned and affluent diners who have already ascended to or near the top of the ladder. Most will order wine with their dinner and will linger in conversation long after their meal is over.

Steak Au Poivre

Steak Au Poivre

The wait staff is attentive without hovering and informative without being pedantic. They are well-versed in their craft and capable of clearly describing the nuances of the restaurant’s menu. Their recommendations don’t necessarily lean toward the most expensive items on the menu.

One item everyone at Zinc recommends are the crispy duck confit eggrolls served with peanut curry and chile-lime dipping sauces. The duck is amazingly tender, the result of slow-cooking. It is wrapped in a won-ton type wrapper and is sliced diagonally (giving it the appearance of four egg rolls).  Other components of this delicious appetizer are ginger, mushrooms, sesame oil, scallions, chopped peanuts. soy sauce, spinach and carrots though it is the duck itself that will win you over.  These are easily among the best egg rolls in the city and are outstanding even without the dipping sauces. The peanut curry sauce stands out. It’s entirely unlike and better than the peanut sauce served with satay at most Thai restaurants. Unlike the Thai peanut sauce, it’s not cloying. It’s a savory sauce with a piquant punch to it.

Grilled Lamb Loin Mignon: Accompanied by chorizo-sweet potato tart with goat cheese bechamel, winter vegetable melange and pomegranate demi glace.

Another excellent value appetizer are the two pounds of steamed Maine black mussels for only ten dollars. Bathed in a basil-chardonnay broth and crowned with colorful julienne vegetables, these mussels are top tier. You’ll want to sop up the broth with the restaurant’s wonderful hard-crusted yet yeasty bread.  The mussels are available for both lunch and dinner and are a bargain at ten dollars, a price that’s been retained for several years.

Lest I forget, the complementary basket of bread is among the city’s best. I believe the bread is made by Albuquerque’s Fano Bakery, one of the very best bread-making companies in the state and a purveyor of artisan style rustic and specialty breads.  It’s  the type of bread you could eat by the loaf–with or without butter.  The butter served at Zinc is soft and smooth for easy spreading.  During Saturday and Sunday brunch, the bread plate may include croissants and scones.  The wait staff will replenish them happily.

A basket of breads for brunch

Lamb is certainly a specialty at Zinc and is accented with seasonal touches.  The grilled lamb loin Mignon, available in the fall and winter menu, for example, is accompanied by a chorizo-sweet potato tart topped with a goat cheese bechamel, contrasting elements which bring out each others best qualities.  A cleanly simple winter vegetable melange–baby asparagus, carrots, roasted onions–is perfectly prepared, so good even finicky children would love it.  The lamb loin, prepared at medium rare, sits on a puddle of pomegranate demi glace, an ever-so-slightly tangy sauce with a lightly lacquered texture which couples so well with the lamb that they rhapsodize on your taste buds with a subtle medley of flavors you’ll remember long after your meal.  The lamb has none of the gaminess for which lamb is often disdained.

If you want something more lively, the seared flank steak Au Poivre will invigorate your taste buds with a pronounced black peppercorn taste. A nine-ounce steak seared in a cast iron pan, it is served with buttermilk mashed potatoes, fried mushrooms and onions, all of which are wonderful.  Steak Au Poivre is a staple at French brasseries throughout the country (both France and the United States), but is sometimes prepared with an excess of pepper, making it a bit acerbic.  At Zinc, it is perfectly prepared so that the peppercorn taste complements, not dominates, the flavor profile.  It is served with an espagnole sauce, a veal stock roux reduction sometimes called one of the “mother sauces” of classic French cooking.

Enchiladas

Enchiladas, better than served at many New Mexican restaurants

Sunday brunch is an event worth getting up for at Zinc. The menu is only somewhat abbreviated, including more dining options than just about any brunch menu in town. The dulcet tones of soothing guitar music playing soft and low may just make the rest of the world seem so far away and small.  An eye-opening roasted chicken and cashew salad is a great way to start. This superstar salad features sugar snap peas, sweet n’ sour red onions and baby carrots mixed with field greens and a sharp Maytag blue dressing that emboldens the salad. It’s one of several inventive and delicious salad options available for brunch.

Zinc’s pecan-crusted chicken and chorizo relleno, a unique rendition of the traditional New Mexican stuffed chile pepper, is also one of the state’s very best.  A baked poblano is engorged with cream cheese, Asadero cheese, chicken breast and crumbled sausage then topped with a fried egg sunny and covered with a wonderfully smoky and piquant Ancho chile sauce. Ancho chiles are essentially dried poblanos which may surprise some considering poblanos have a very mild flavor, barely registering on the Scoville scale.  Ancho chiles, on the other hand, can have significant heat and a pungent, smoky, wonderful flavor.  More restaurants should employ this very diverse and very delicious chile.

Pecan-crusted chicken & chorizo relleno: Baked poblano stuffed with cream cheese, asadero, chicken breast and crumbled sausage. Topped with sunny side up egg and ancho chile sauce. Hash brown pie on the side

Also worth getting up for is Zinc’s house-made pork sausage patty (a carnivore’s dream), which along with the sausage served at the San Marcos Cafe, may be the best sausage in New Mexico. It’s got the perfect balance of piquant bite and savory flavor sausage lovers appreciate. The sausage is available on several brunch entrees, including an amazing array of surprisingly good New Mexican dishes that for some reason aren’t available on the lunch or dinner menu.  That’s a shame because if Zinc focused exclusively on New Mexican food, it would be in rarefied company with the very best New Mexican restaurants in the state.

Zinc’s fresh ground angus burger, while inflating my waistline, deflated my opinion of Zinc only slightly. Attended by apple smoked bacon, Gruyere cheese, a green chile-Dijonnaise mayo on potato bread Kaiser, the burger is prodigious in size but not quite as big on flavor. The burger’s prevalent tastes are the bread which has the consistency of a toasted bagel (meaning it’s tough to chew) and the beef itself which was charred on the outside and pink in the middle. We were hard-pressed to discern any taste of the mayo or even the cheese. That I didn’t love this burger may be an anomaly because it’s the only thing on Zinc’s menu that hasn’t impressed me.

Stuffed Sopaipillas Zinc style

More than making up for the burger are Zinc’s baked chicken and chorizo sausage enchiladas topped with two eggs over easy and red chile then finished with sour cream, guacamole and breakfast potatoes. Wow! If you’re expecting “gringo” chile, you’re in for a pleasant and piquant surprise. This is red chile with bite! It’s also delicious–perfectly seasoned and wholly sans cumin. It’s better–and more piquant–red chile than you’ll find at 80 to 90 percent of the New Mexican restaurants in the Duke City.

Our waitress told us that some visiting tourists can’t handle its heat and send it back. What a shame they don’t have the heat tolerance of New Mexicans. What a shame that they miss out on enchiladas engorged with absolutely delicious chorizo sausage and baked chicken.  Perhaps more to their heat tolerance level would be Zinc’s rendition of stuffed sopaipillas which aren’t served with chile. Instead, two puffy sopaipillas are filled with lemon-blueberry custard then finished with Bosque Farms BeeSweet honey drizzle.

Chevre Cheesecake Tart – honey granola crust, ruby port gastrique, honeycomb and fig preserves

If you love lip-puckering lemon with real blueberries, this is the dessert for you. If you love real honey, you’ll love BeeSweet and you’ll lament the fact that far too many New Mexican restaurants fill their squeeze bottles with “sopaipilla syrup,” the honey flavored syrup that pales in comparison to real honey.

Another fabulous dessert is the chevre cheesecake tart made with a honey granola crust branded with the letter “Z” (and probably not for Zorro).  Rivulets of ruby port gastrique and fig preserves provide terrific contrasts to the sweet, creamy cheesecake.  On the side of this dish is honeycomb, the pure essence of honey sweetness that’s better than any candy.

Zinc upholds the Nob Hill tradition and has itself become a destination worthy of the Mother Road. It’s a Santa Fe quality restaurant in the Duke City.

Zinc Wine Bar & Bistro
3009 Central, N.E.
Albuquerque, NM
505)-254-9462
Web Site

LATEST VISIT: 26 December 2010
# OF VISITS: 4
RATING: 24
COST: $$$$
BEST BET: Crispy Duck Confit Eggrolls; Seared Flank Steak Au Poivre; Baked Chicken & Chorizo Sausage Enchiladas; Stuffed Sopaipilla; Chevre Cheesecake Tart; Pecan-crusted chicken & chorizo relleno; Grilled Lamb Loin Mignon


View Zinc Wine Bar & Bistro on LetsDineLocal.com »

Zinc on Urbanspoon

The Burrito Lady – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Consuelo Flores, the Burrito Lady

Consuelo Flores, Albuquerque's beautiful Burrito Lady

It is the blood of the Lunas to be quiet,
for only a quiet man can learn the secrets of the earth that are necessary for planting
– They are quiet like the moon.”
~
Bless Me Ultima, by Rudolfo A. Anaya

For nearly seventy-years, Consuelo Flores’s father harnessed the secrets of the earth to raise some of the best, most piquant green chile  in Puerto de Luna, an agrarian community about ten miles outside of Santa Rosa, New Mexico which was made famous by Rudolfo Anaya’s classic novel.  He imparted those secrets to his daughter who grew up participating in all facets of the chile “life cycle”–planting, harvesting, roasting and cooking.  Today Consuelo, Albuquerque’s beautiful Burrito Lady, demonstrates every day just how well she learned those secrets by preparing some of the most delicious chile in Albuquerque.

Consuelo uses only chile of the “hot” variety, admitting it’s not as good as the green chile her family raised.   After years of working in other restaurants, Consuelo launched the Burrito Lady restaurant because it’s the only way she could get New Mexican food as good as she makes it home and she wanted to share her culinary skills with Albuquerque.  Her perpetual smile is like a ray of sunshine on a dreary day. Her effervescent personality lights up her restaurant and if you’re a regular, she treats you like family.

The Burrito Lady restaurant proves great food can be prepared in the tiniest of kitchens.

The Burrito Lady restaurant proves great food can be prepared in the tiniest of kitchens.

Consuelo’s petite restaurant is ensconced in an unexceptional Northeast Heights strip mall heretofore distinguishable only because of the gigantic inflated plastic reptiles atop the pet shop next door. Not much bigger than two standard office cubicles, the non-kitchen portion of the restaurant barely has room for three small tables, a counter in which orders are taken, a sideboard with brick-a-brack and not much more. The Burrito Lady is empirical proof that it’s the quality of the product that counts, not the size of the restaurant.

Hungry patrons queue outside to place their orders and though it may take a while for their orders to be taken and filled, you won’t see anyone leave–and pity anyone audacious enough to try cutting in line. A weighty take-out business accounts for much of the traffic as employees of nearby businesses call ahead for enough burritos to sate their buddies back at the office. Some of those take-out gophers also leave with sodas a plenty–not just to slake their buddies’ thirsts but to extinguish the heat generated by the capsaicin blessed chile on those burritos. The menu’s assertion “if you like it hot” isn’t in reference to a lack of air conditioning. The Burrito Lady serves red and green chile you can respect.

The roast beef burrito with red chile.

The roast beef burrito with red chile.

While burritos may be the name on the marquee, this hole-in-the-wall also serves stuffed sopaipillas, enchiladas, homemade tamales, enchiladas and tacos at very affordable prices that belie the outstanding quality of the product.  The sole dessert offerings, a homemade chocolate cake topped with a chocolate frosting and a luscious chocolate brownie with just the right amount of walnuts can put weight on you just by ogling it lustily; that’s how rich it is.  The Burrito Lady  even exerts her independence from Coke and Pepsi products by offering a phalanx of soft drinks heretofore unavailable elsewhere: Big Red, Cherry 7-Up, Strawberry, RC Cola and more.

Eleven breakfast burritos and eleven lunch burritos showcase Consuelo’s  cooking with such atypical (at least in the Duke City) ingredients as chicharrones (the crackling, deep fat fried pork treat New Mexicans love) and calabacitas (summer squash). The breakfast burritos are big enough to fill you up for the entire day, but once you bite into one, you won’t stop until it’s gone.  You can have your burritos hand-held or smothered with chili (sic) and cheese.  Daily specials are available for each day of the week, however, the restaurant is open only Monday through Friday from 6:30AM to 2:00PM.

The supreme breakfast burrito lives up to its name...and then some!

The supreme breakfast burrito lives up to its name...and then some!

The supreme breakfast burrito lives up to its sobriquet and then some. Encased in a “just off the comal” fresh flour tortilla are beans, potatoes, eggs, chile (your choice of red or green (or both)), ham, carne adovada and crispy bacon enough for even Homer Simpson (whose two favorite animals are pork chops and bacon). The best part of waking up is holding one of these treasures in your hands even though the red chile will probably run down your fingers, so profusely is it applied.  This is one of the very best breakfast burritos in Albuquerque, an opinion seconded by the staff of Albuquerque The Magazine which in September, 2011 undertook the enviable task of selecting the city’s very best breakfast burrito.  The Burrito Lady was the eighth highest rated burrito from among dozens evaluated.

The red chile is superb–tongue tingling and delicious enough you’re going to want your burrito smothered with it. Try it on a chicharonnes burrito for an ultra special treat. If you’ve ever had a bad experience with Texas chicharonnes which New Mexicans might call “cueritos” (a tripe-like pork strips marinated in vinegar), the Burrito Lady’s version will restore your faith in crackling pork fat and the meaty pork which clings to it.  The crunch of the chicharonnes as you bite into this burrito is music to your ears; the flavor is a symphony for your taste buds.

The breakfast burrito supreme.

The breakfast burrito supreme.

The Burrito Lady also serves one of the best stuffed sopaipillas I’ve ever had. Crammed with a delectable roast beef, beans, rice and green chile hot enough to give me the hiccups, it might give you a week’s quota of endorphins…but, oh what a wonderful burn it will be. Your tongue will catch fire, your brow will perspire yet you won’t be able to stop eating this delicious treat.

The Burrito Lady restaurant just might restore your faith in the small family restaurant–good enough to expand, but so charming you wouldn’t want it to.

The Burrito Lady
938 Eubank, N.E.
Albuquerque, NM
271-2268
LATEST VISIT: 22 December 2010
# OF VISITS: 4
RATING: 24
COST: $
BEST BET: Breakfast Burrito Supreme; Chicharrones Burrito; Stuffed Sopaipillas with Roast Beef; Frito Pie

Burrito Lady on Urbanspoon

Pelican’s Restaurant – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Pelican's Restaurant on Coors in Albuquerque's burgeoning West side

Pelican's Restaurant on Coors in Albuquerque's burgeoning West side

The remonstrance from a group of my foodie friends was vocal and animated when I contended that good seafood in the Duke City dining establishments not only exists, some of it borders on greatness.  One ardent detractor asserted that good seafood in our landlocked community is as rare as a good steak was on Gilligan’s Island.  Another argued that only at Pappadeaux, a national chain, could good seafood be found while a third reminisced that in the 1990s there were actually three restaurants–Cafe Oceana, the Rio Grande Yacht Club and Pelican’s–vying perennially for “best seafood” honors.

My rejoinder was to remind them of the half-dozen or so mariscos (Mexican seafood) restaurants in the Duke City, most of which serve very good to excellent seafood.  ”Duplicity,” they cried, “when we think of seafood, we’re thinking of King crab, Ahi tuna, lobster and halibut.”  I then reminded them that Pelican’s continues to thrive in two Duke City locations–the original on the Heights (9800 Montgomery, N.E.) and a newer location on the burgeoning Northwest side (10022 Coors, N.W.).  They unanimously found merit in the case for Pelican’s, a popular seafood emporium that has served Albuquerque since 1975.

Sizzling mussels sautéed in white wine & garlic

Sizzling mussels sautéed in white wine & garlic

That’s more than three and a half decades of surviving, even thriving, in a tough restaurant market.  That means pleasing a widely divergent and persnickety range of Duke City diners–everything from the well-traveled sophisticates who have partaken of seafood fresh off the boat in a city by a shore somewhere to those who believe the end-all and be-all for seafood is Red Lobster and that Pelican’s is strictly a special occasion restaurant.

As with many seafood restaurants in landlocked areas, Pelican’s subscribes to a nautical theme designed to evoke the calming and peaceful feeling associated with the ocean.  Anyone who’s laid on the beach and watched the undulating waters can attest to the effect the salty sea air and the motion of the ocean have in stimulating the appetite–usually for seafood.

Pelican's bread with butter and cloves of butter

Pelican's bread with butter and cloves of garlic

The nautical theme is most pronounced in the original Pelican’s which includes a woody interior reminiscent of the creaky underbelly of an old fishing boat.  Ornamental bronze finished pendant lamps hang from the ceiling; it’s easy to imagine them swinging to and fro from the rocking of the waves.  Heavy ropes are lashed on beams, the symbol of strength and security.  Decorative life rings, the type of which are tossed overboard to rescue seafarers who fall overboard, are used throughout the restaurant as are other oceanic ornaments such as oars, fishing nets, and even a surfboard.  Sure it’s stereotypical, but a stucco New Mexico motif wouldn’t cut it.

The West side Pelican’s supplanted a failing Carraba’s Italian Grill restaurant in the Cottonwood Crossings development on the northeast corner of the Coors and Seven Bar Loop intersection and thematically is more like a woody fisherman’s wharf.  It is situated next door to the Outback Steakhouse, offering an excellent alternative to the popular Australian themed meatery.  A small fishing boat hangs from the ceiling while bubbling aquariums teem with colorful sea life.

Clam Chowder

Clam Chowder

Perhaps by default (especially with the 2005 closure of the Rio Grande Yacht Club), Pelican’s has been the very best seafood (non-mariscos) restaurant in Albuquerque by a nautical mile or more (although the December, 2010 launch of Desert Fish may change that landscape). Best of all, it’s locally owned and operated although there are two other Pelicans in El Paso. From the moment you’re seated, the friendly wait staff dotes on you.  It’s not the saccharine service you’ll get at the chains which dot restaurant row along the Coors Bypass; the wait staff at Pelican’s works to earn your business, the way it should be.

While you contemplate the menu, the wait staff will start you off with a basket of out-of-the-oven bread with whipped butter and roasted garlic, both of which are faithfully replenished when you finish them (and you undoubtedly will, they’re so good).   The bread has a hard-crusted exterior and a soft interior in which both butter and the roasted garlic spread easily.  This is true garlic bread!

Pinon Crusted Tilapia topped with red chile butter

Pinon Crusted Tilapia topped with red chile butter

One of the most inviting appetizers on the menu and one at which Pelican’s excels is Oysters Rockafeller, a dish first created in 1899 at the famous Antoine’s in New Orleans.  Because of the richness of the sauce (liberally interpreted at restaurants throughout the world), the dish was named for John D. Rockefeller, the richest man in America at the time.  Pelican’s rendition is five plump oysters on the half shell topped with Pernod-spiked spinach and melted cheese.  It’s a rich and indelicate starter that will win over even the most onerous oyster hater.

Another appetizer sure to please are the Sizzling Mussels sautéed in white wine and garlic served with two slices of toasted bread.  The white wine and garlic broth are tailor-made for the bread which you’ll use to sop up and lustily consume as much of that savory broth as you can.  Characteristic of good mussels, they don’t really need the broth, but the sizzling metal plate on which they’re delivered is a nice touch because it keeps the mussels and broth warm.

New York Strip

New York Strip

Pelican’s menu showcases fresh fish, thick slabs of Angus beef steaks, shrimp and surf-and-turf.  The “Fresh Fish Report” includes tilapia, halibut, salmon, ahi tuna and rainbow trout.  Daily specials range from Alaskan King Crab Legs to Australian Lobster Tail and “All you can eat peel n’ eat shrimp.”  A Sunday brunch menu includes some of the most popular dinner menu items as well as traditional breakfast items such as French toast.  Entrees come with your choice of baked potato, wild rice pilaf, or French fries and Pelican’s famous bottomless bowl of salad.

A common element among the seafood is uncommon freshness.  The menu boasts of fresh and fresh-frozen seafood (and I’m not talking about Mrs. Paul’s frozen fish sticks here).  Modern trawlers are equipped to process and freeze the fresh catch immediately.  Some fish is best shipped fresh-frozen while other fish is best shipped fresh, albeit at low temperatures.  The result–fish at Pelican’s have a fresh and mild smell not that “fishy” smell that turns people off seafood.

If there are any complaints about Pelican’s, it’s that the restaurant’s menu is a bit anachronistic–a throwback to the 80s.  That’s especially true of the appetizer menu which includes such “yesterday” starters as mozzarella sticks and fried zucchini and mushrooms, both battered to order.  Old-fashioned surf and turf entrees are also a bit dated.  Then again, if something works, why change?

Shrimp Pelican with Sweet Potato Fries

One entree which really works is the Shrimp Pelican which may well be the restaurant’s most popular dish–even though there’s nothing radical or avant-garde about it. Butterflied and golden brown in beer batter, the shrimp are humongous (forgive the oxymoron) and gloriously sweet.  Even though my preference is generally for peel-and-eat shrimp with incendiary cocktail sauce, Pelican’s shrimp flood my memories with reminiscences of the first really great battered shrimp I ever had.

With some menu items, Pelican’s subscribes to the adage that “when in New Mexico, do as New Mexicans do” and in the Land of Enchantment, we serve our food–almost all of it–with chile.  Pelican’s menu tends to have at least entree with either green or red chile, including a piñon crusted Tilapia topped with red chile butter.  Because of its clean, mild flavor and because it tends to inherit the flavor of seasonings very well, tilapia is sometimes described as fish for people who don’t like the taste of fish.  Alas, while the tilapia is delicious, flaky and tender, the chile is hardly of the caliber of New Mexico chile served at a New Mexican restaurant.

Pelican’s is almost as highly regarded for steaks and prime rib as it is for seafood.  Carnivorous cravings will be sated with a line-up that includes teriyaki beef kabobs, choice center-cut top sirloin, choice ribeye filet mignon, market teriyaki center-cut top sirloin, New York strip and slow roasted prime rib au jus as well as a “Ranchero” center-cut top sirloin with Cheddar and green chile.  The New York strip (pictured above) is grilled to your exacting specifications.  At medium, it is juicy and delicious.  It’s also very tender with no sinew or excess fat.

Pelican's famous ice cream mud pie, a slab of decadence

Football sized baked potatoes include your choice of toppings (butter, sour cream, bacon bits, green onions).  Wisps of steam from the aluminum foil enveloped potatoes waft upward, hinting at perfectly baked potatoes.  Alas, appearances can be deceiving as we found out during a January, 2010 visit when undercooked potatoes were the sole let-down in an otherwise good meal.  The clam chowder is rich and very thick, but it would take Sherlock Holmes to find more than two bits of clam and the clams he might find are bound to minuscule and somewhat chewy.

Desserts are large enough to feed entire families.  Offerings include large wedges of New York style cheesecake topped with a strawberry or chocolate sauce (or both), a lip-pursing key lime pie and perhaps the single largest slab of pie in the Duke City, a humongous ice cream mud pie.  This slab of waist-expanding decadence is easily four-inches tall and that’s even before the whipped cream crowns this dessert.  Two types of ice cream–chocolate and mocha–layered on top of a thick Oreo crust make this a teeth-chattering post-prandial treat.  It’s a fine dessert, but much more than one person can handle.

Pelican’s is a very solid, if unspectacular restaurant that has survived nearly four decades and several generations in the Duke City’s constantly changing dining scene.  It deserves a place in any conversation about good seafood in Albuquerque.

Pelican’s Restaurant
10022 Coors, N.W.
Albuquerque, NM
899-2000
Web Site

LATEST VISIT: 16 December 2010
# OF VISITS: 7
RATING: 18
COST: $$$
BEST BET: Shrimp, Oysters Rockafeller, Cracked Pepper New Yorker, New York Strip, Sizzling Mussels, Bread with Garlic Cloves, Ice Cream Mud Pie

Pelican's on Urbanspoon