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Sophia’s Place – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Dennis and the lovely Sophia at the viewing of the Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives episode featuring his outstanding restaurant

Dennis and the lovely Sophia at the viewing of the Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives episode featuring his outstanding restaurant (Photo courtesy of Sandy Driscoll)

There are several reasons Sophia’s Place gifted proprietor and chef Dennis Apodaca (pictured above) is such an accomplished and innovative restaurateur. Sure, he’s got a very impressive pedigree that includes stints at some of the best restaurants in San Francisco and Santa Fe.*  True he’s worked for several world-famous, cutting-edge chefs in some of America’s most renown restaurants, but there’s so much more to this rising star than that.

Apprenticing under luminary chefs may make apparent the genesis of some of his culinary influences, but it’s also obvious that Apodaca loves his craft and plies it with enthusiasm and style.  I heard him speak once of his annual pilgrimages to New York and of dining at such restaurants as Katz’s, a Manhattan deli I hold in reverential esteem. Like most great chefs, he is always in pursuit of new ideas and techniques.

Sophia’s Place may not be as visually appealing as other restaurants, but it serves beautiful food

Dennis launched the restaurant he named for his then eight-year-old daughter on December 3rd, 2002. It is situated at the former site of the once very popular, but now defunct Fajitaville, a restaurant at which he served as chef before launching his own operation. As popular as it was, you don’t hear many former Fajitaville patrons lament the change. That’s because they’ve been completely won over by Apodaca’s inventive, eclectic and funky menu–a menu that includes a range of sophisticated salads and soups, extraordinary sandwiches and lots of pleasant surprises.

Dennis is also a stickler for using fine ingredients, many of which are flown in and delivered daily to his charming North Valley restaurant. He insists on the preparation of each meal to order; you won’t find anything sitting under a heating lamp here.  You also won’t find a freezer in the premises.  Dennis believes in ultra-fresh. His menu is replete with specials of the day which change frequently, usually crafted from fresh ingredients he procures from the farmer’s markets.  Sophia’s also does not have an oven or burners, just two grills, but sheer magic is created on those grills.

The interior of Sophia’s Place. Note the poster signed by Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives host Guy Fieri

On August 25th, 2008 the Food Network’s Guy Fieri taped a segment at Sophia’s for his Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives program.  On a signed poster which hangs on one of the restaurant’s walls, Fieri wrote “little place, huge flavors.”  That pretty much says it all, not that Fieri didn’t say quite a bit more about Sophia’s.  After that segment aired on Monday, November 24th, 2008 getting a seat at this fabulous restaurant became even more difficult.  Fortunately Dennis opened a second restaurant, Ezra’s (named for his son), in late September, 2008. That helped handle the overflow crowds for a while, but when Ezra’s became well known and nearly as popular as Sophia’s, his legion of fans began to wish Dennis had more children for whom he could name other restaurants.

On January 17, 2011, Dennis launched a third restaurant, one he named for his mother.  Unfortunately, Jo’s Place didn’t meet with the same success or critical acclaim as Ezra’s and especially Sophia’s.  After more than ten years in the same location, Sophia’s remains one of Albuquerque’s most highly regarded and popular restaurants.  In fact, only my review of the Buckhorn Tavern has more reader visits from from among the more than 700 restaurants reviewed on Gil’s Thrilling (And Filling) Blog.  

Chips and salsa at Sophia’s

An expansive parking lot belies the space-constrained hominess of Sophia’s, an inviting restaurant which has only about a dozen tables. Weather permitting, a covered outdoor patio will accommodate twice as many guests as the main dining room.  It’s not the swankiest or most attractive restaurant in town, but it’s done the Dennis Apodaca way.  Guy Fieri pegged it correctly when he called him “a hands-on chef who’s doing things his own way.”  That includes touches like making his own butter and crafting all his culinary creations by hand. 

One holdover from Dennis’s days at Fajitaville are some of the best salsas in town.  An order of salsa and chips rewards diners with two salsas–a roasted tomato salsa and a pico de gallo style salsa coupled with housemade chips served warm.  Neither of the salsas are especially piquant, but both are redolent with freshness and flavor.  The chips are lightly salted and oversized for Gil-sized portions of salsa.  Unfortunately you’ll run out of salsa before you run out of chips.

Grilled Sirloin and Green Chile Sandwich on Sage Bakehouse Bakery Bread with Shoestring Fries

Grilled Sirloin and Green Chile Sandwich on Sage Bakehouse Bakery Bread with Shoestring Fries

Breakfast and lunch entrees are served all day which is a great thing because you never know when the urge will hit for a world-class sandwich. Sage Bakehouse bread, a New Mexico treasure, is the foundation upon which those sandwiches are built. Each sandwich is served with your choice of potato salad, green salad or homemade shoestring potatoes (a must-have). Don’t desecrate those shoestring potatoes with ketchup. Ask instead for a small bowl of Sophia’s red chile and dip your fries into that. Some of the best chile and some of the best fries in town–you can’t go wrong with that combination.

Sophia’s grilled pastrami sandwich is a poor man’s version of the aforementioned Katz’s in which pastrami is piled on skyscraper high. Even though Sophia’s doesn’t lay the pastrami on as thick as at Katz’s, it’s also not apportioned in waifishly thin shreds like the sandwiches the chains proffer. In Albuquerque I’ve not had a better pastrami sandwich (although it dropped just a bit in my estimation when packets of mustard replaced the gourmet mustard once dolloped on the sandwich). Apodaca gets his pastrami flown in from Chicago where this brisket derivative is best made.

Chipotle Chile Bacon Cheeseburger

The green chile cheeseburger at Sophia’s

Also exceptional is the green chile bacon cheeseburger on hard-crusted Sage Bakehouse bread. As the hack comic Banya would tell Jerry Senifeld, “it’s the best, Jerry, the best.” In a city and state in which green chile cheeseburgers are a religion, Dennis Apodaca is a high priest, serving something just a bit different. This cheeseburger is a two-fisted edible piece of art with an explosively delicious taste.

The green chile is not so assertive that it prevents the salty sweetness of the bacon to sneak out. Instead they meld together wonderfully. The texture of the lightly toasted Ciabatta bread is a nice departure from the traditional soft burger buns. The bacon is crispy and thick. There’s no iceberg lettuce in this masterpiece; it’s salad quality mixed greens.

Sophia's Breakfast Burrito

The breakfast burrito, Albuquerque’s very best

The simply named Breakfast Sandwich on (what else) toasted Sage Bakehouse bread is a concordant composition of fried eggs, bacon, cheese and fresh salsa that will help make your day start off on the right foot. It may well be the best breakfast sandwich in Albuquerque, not that there is a plethora of competition in the breakfast sandwich arena.

Sophia’s breakfast burrito has done something I had thought impossible. It supplanted Milton’s breakfast burrito as my favorite breakfast burrito in New Mexico. The primary reason is a wondrous red chile, a deep, earthy, sweet and utterly delicious chile of medium piquancy. This chile is in rarified company with Mary & Tito’s legendary red which I’ve long considered the best in the Duke City area. It’s the type of chile you might want to lick off your plate so as not to leave any of it behind. If Dennis were to offer New Mexican food exclusively, it would probably be the best in the city. Make sure you order your burrito “smothered” so you won’t be lamenting that there isn’t enough chile on your plate. In its September, 2011 edition, the staff of Albuquerque The Magazine undertook the enviable task of selecting the Duke City’s very best breakfast burrito. Sophia’s was rated tenth best. To paraphrase the immortal words of former world boxing champion Max Schmeling’s manager Joe Jacobs, “they waz robbed!”

Huevos Mexicanos, Sophia’s unique take on Huevos Rancheros–two eggs any way you want them and corn tortillas topped with green chile stew. Served with black beans and a side salad.

There’s only one thing wrong with Sophia’s red chile. It’s that the red is so good, I may never again order the breakfast burrito “Christmas style” (with both red and green chile). That would be sad because the green chile is outstanding in its own right. It’s a fruity chile with a comal roasted aroma and flavor. The breakfast burrito is crafted from organic eggs, potatoes, cheese and salsa. You can have it with your choice of bacon, pork carnitas, chicken, beef or vegetables.

The daily specials on Sophia’s menu truly earn the accolade “special.” Such is the case with a breakfast enchilada with turkey sausage, Cojita cheese and poblano chile. The melding of these ingredients make for an outstanding breakfast entree that I may have to bide my time to see returned to the menu. Fortunately, there’s always something else intriguing and invariably delicious to mollify my appetite.

Another special special, duck enchiladas with a green chile cream sauce

Duck enchiladas served with a green chile cream sauce

Another very special special are the duck enchiladas served with a green chile cream sauce (pictured above). Somehow Dennis manages to segregate the least fatty parts of the duck while retaining all its characteristic flavor and he engorges corn tortillas with the delicious canard. A generous dollop of mildly piquant green chile sauce crowns the enchiladas with even more flavor. This special is served with black beans studded with Cojita cheese as well as a mixed greens and mango salad. This is just Dennis and his free spirited whimsy; he loves to play with ingredients and has a knack for making seemingly disparate ingredients meld together in perfect flavor synchronicity.

The Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives taping took place on a day in which the special of the day was another version of duck enchiladas, this time with tomatillo sauce. Watching the step-by-step construction of this entree revealed the depth of Dennis’s talent, but even more so, just what a perfectionist he is. Every preparation step is meticulous and well practiced, obviously the result of extensive experimentation until everything is absolutely to the chef’s exacting standards.

Scallop Tacos

Scallop Tacos

The duck, which is left in the bone and skin, is seasoned and rendered in duck fat for several hours then is de-boned by hand and seasoned again (lime, cilantro, Mexican red chile, sugar, salt and other ingredients) on the flat top.  Two legs per order of succulent duck meat are then placed on two soft corn tortillas with Asadero cheese then topped with the tomatillo sauce, toasted pumpkin seeds, scallions and queso fresco.  Fieri uttered “really good” three times punctuated with “an explosion of flavors” and “you’ve got it going on with this one.”

A Washington Post writer recently proclaimed, “Ok so who in the hell doesn’t do a scallop taco?” He obviously hasn’t been around the restaurant scene in Albuquerque where scallop tacos are a novelty. In fact, Dennis is just one of a handful of chefs in the landlocked Land of Enchantment I know of daring to depart from the de rigueur fish taco (which is rarely done well in New Mexico). His version starts with gigantic sea scallops which he tucks into soft, pliable corn tacos then garnishes with a mild salsa, avocado slices and Crème fraîche. There are two scallops per taco, two tacos per order and they’re at least twice as good as the best fish taco I’ve ever had.

Sophia's shoestring fries with red chile

Sophia’s shoestring fries with red chile

Sophia’s scallop tacos are inspired–an amalgam of flavor combinations which work very well together.  The pearlescent scallops are grilled so they have a nice char on top and at bottom while retaining an opaque clarity that means they’re absolutely perfect.  I’ve tried in vain several times to duplicate Dennis’s wizardry with scallops, but have concluded begrudgingly that my scallop skills are rudimentary compared to the chef. 

The Saturday and Sunday brunch menu features several items not available during weekdays. These weekend specials have made Sophia’s an intensely popular dining destination. You might have to wait in line ten to fifteen minutes to place your order then another half hour for your order to reach your table. It’s worth the wait.

Chilaquiles

One of the best reasons to get up on a weekend are Sophia’s Special Pancakes, priced daily and served with fresh fruit and real maple syrup. Those special pancakes might be sour cream and lemon pancakes with a piñon butter topped with blueberries. The tartness of the blueberries and lemon create a palate pleasing harmony with the maple syrup. The sour cream changes the texture of standard pancakes by adding moistness while retaining the fluffiness inherent in great pancakes. 

Sophia’s pancakes will cure the early morning blues (or anything else that ails you).  A large stack (four) of pumpkin pancakes with pinon nut butter topped with assorted berries may be the very best pancakes you’ll ever have.  They’re stick to your ribs pancakes, the panacea for cold mornings.  Cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice emphasize the flavor of pumpkin while the berries provide a tangy contrast.  The syrup brings together the complementary tastes of sweet, tangy and pumpkiny.  Share these with people you love.

Turkey Sausage Enchiladas with Red and Green Chile

One of the things that makes Dennis’s pancakes a panacea is his homemade butter, a culinary rarity that blew even Guy Fieri away. Fieri who has probably seen just about everything on his road tours seemed amazed that Dennis would go to that extent. After sampling Sophia’s homemade butter (made from separated heavy cream mixed with toasted pine nuts, dried cherries and honey), Fieri called it “outstanding.” 

Other brunch favorites include Sophia’s version of chilaquiles and a very unique interpretation of Huevos Rancheros called Huevos Mexicanos.  This dish is constructed from corn tortillas topped with two eggs prepared any way you want them then slathered with green chile stew.  The green chile stew is terrific, the type of which you’d appreciate at any time, but especially on a cold wintery day.  The chilaquiles are simplicity itself though its flavors are complex and delicious.  Chilaquiles are a traditional Mexican dish with which Sophia’s takes a few liberties, topping the eggs and tortilla chips with red chile instead of the more conventional salsa.

Lemon and sour cream pancakes with blueberries

Sour cream and lemon pancakes with a piñon butter topped with blueberries

Dessert treats include the most moist and delicious pumpkin brownies imaginable. They’re thick and have that pumpkin pie spice and nutmeg flavor that drives diners wild. Try them with Sophia’s homemade ice cream which is sinfully rich and served ice cold. Most recently added is a German chocolate cake made from scratch daily. It is simply the very best German chocolate cake in Albuquerque, even better than the one served just up the street at the Calico Cafe.  Perhaps even better is a banana nut cake with a fabulous banana and cream cheese frosting.

With the launch of Ezra’s Place, Sophia’s is no longer serving dinner.  Sophia’s new hours are 7AM to 3PM Monday through Friday and 9AM through 2PM Saturdays and Sundays. You’ve got to experience this gem for yourself to find out what so many diners know–Sophia’s Place is one of Albuquerque’s very best restaurants of any genre. Overflow crowds and accolades don’t tell the whole story. That lies in each and every wonderful morsel of pure deliciousness fashioned by the inventive hands of the chef and owner.

Pumpkin pancakes with pinon nut butter

*Among the gastronomic glitterati for whom Chef Apodaca has worked are Mark Miller, the high priest of modern Southwest cuisine and founder of Santa Fe’s Coyote Cafe and the pioneering Alice Waters, founder of Chez Panisse, the original California cuisine (focusing exclusively on organic, locally produced foods in season) restaurant in Berkeley, California.

SOPHIA’S PLACE
6313 4th, N.W.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
(505) 345-3935
LATEST VISIT: 2 February 2013
# OF VISITS: 19
RATING: 25
COST: $$
BEST BET: Grilled Pastrami Sandwich, Breakfast Sandwich, Chipotle Bacon Cheeseburger, Simple Noodles, Breakfast Burrito, Special Pancakes, Scallop Tacos, Chilaquiles, Huevos Mexicanos, Grilled Sirloin Sandwich, Pork Carnitas Tacos,

Sophia's Place on Urbanspoon

  • Jason Griffin says:

    First off, I love your website and have been perusing it for years. I find it an invaluable resource whenever I want to explore outside my set routine in search of new gastronomic delights here in The Duke City.

    One quick question regarding your Sophia’s review. Is Dennis really the one “on the right” in the picture? I always thought the gentlemen on the left was the owner – but am too shy to have ever actually asked when I visit (which is a minimum of twice a week recently).

    September 24, 2008 at 7:56 AM
  • Gil Garduno says:

    Thank you for the kind words about my Web site. During basic training in the Air Force, my drill sergeant made me march with a rock in my left hand so I could distinguish the difference between right and left. I guess it’s time to look for that rock again. Dennis is the gentleman on the left.

    September 24, 2008 at 8:22 AM
  • Paul Frank says:

    Hey Gil, you hit the nail on the head – Sophia’s Place is wonderful. As a regular out-of-town visitor, one of the things I’ve liked about the Albuquerque dining scene is the profusion of quirky, authentic, friendly, neighborhoody places. Some of my favorites over the years have been Mary and Tito’s, M&J Sanitary Tortilla Factory, Christina’s, Perea’s in Corrales, Barelas Coffee House (more for the vibe than the food), Duran Central Pharmacy, Gold Street Caffe, Perea’s and Loyola’s on Central, and Fajitaville, in this very same spot, as you mention above.

    We visited Sophia’s again yesterday for breakfast. Everything was top-notch–a warm welcome, good strong coffee, and everything made fresh to order. We ordered the huevos rancheros Christmas – organic eggs over easy, just right, thin-sliced fried potatoes dusted with red chile powder, and those wonderful red and green chile sauces – and the french toast – good Sage Bakehouse bread with some texture to it, fresh berries on top, and warm maple syrup on the side.

    If you haven’t been to Sophia’s yet you should go as soon as you can. This place is an Albuquerque treasure and probably my favorite spot in town right now.

    November 3, 2008 at 2:54 PM
  • Cathie says:

    I just watched Diners and Dives and was excited to see the artistry of Dennis and his itty bitty, fabulous kitchen and what comes out of it – WOW, the sauces, the fresh ingredients, I really could smell what was going on!

    thanks Dennis and Guy for the tip – I am headed to NM and will stop in at Sophia’s
    Happy Holidays!

    December 7, 2008 at 2:30 PM
  • wanderer 2005 says:

    was Dennis the exec chef at Assets Grill, AKA Liquid Assets, about 20 years ago?

    December 7, 2008 at 5:56 PM
  • Ed Apodaca says:

    I saw your place on the Food Network, with Guy Fiere. I loved the way your presentations looked! And the combinations of food items! I can hardly wait to visit.

    January 1, 2009 at 1:04 PM
  • Ruben says:

    Gil, your review was so convincing that I had to go down to Sophia’s for a look see. I was not disappointed. I had the huevos rancheros with carnitas. I went with the christmas tree. Outstanding meal. I’m not sure if I’m ready to annoint Sophia’s as the queen of Red Chile, but it’s very darned good. I can’t wait to get back there. Thanks for the great recommendation.

    April 28, 2009 at 9:38 PM
  • Eating The Road says:

    That place is great! You’ve got me wanting to try those pancakes :)
    http://eatingtheroad.wordpress.com/2009/11/01/sophias-place/

    November 2, 2009 at 8:41 AM
  • John L says:

    We’ve been to Sophia’s twice and had the scallop tacos, the shrimp tacos, the sirloin tacos, the green chile bacon cheeseburger, and the mixed berry pancakes. The tacos were all super, accompanied by a great salad and flavorful beans. Neither of us cared much for the rice that also came with them. It was OK but with no distinctive flavor. I guess beans and rice with everything is a New Mexican tradition. The pancakes were very good topped with yummy berries. We got a half order and that was more than enough. The burger was interesting but we’ve had ones we like better elsewhere. Over all Dennis does a great job. We’ll be back trying to score some duck enchiladas.

    January 3, 2010 at 10:15 PM
  • Michael says:

    They dont wait on you, instead you stand in line. We both ordered the Green chile cheeseburgers and when they finally got them to us, there was no cheese. Its not like we ordered the cheese as an after thought, it was the special of the day. Hey, the cheese makes it a Green Chile Cheese Burger. The fries are very thin and very greasy and gave me indigestion. I sure miss Sissys Cajun Catfish that used to be at this address. I wouldnt go back.

    February 3, 2010 at 10:47 AM
  • Sami says:

    I love this website. I’ve only lived in Albuquerque for two years so this is my go to website when I’m in the mood to try something new. I tried Sophia’s about a week ago and I was not impressed. I had the tacos and I must say they tasted like white people Mexican food. I’m from Las Cruces, so maybe I’m just partial to southern New Mexican food.

    April 17, 2010 at 4:02 PM
    • Gil Garduno says:

      Hi Sami

      The taco has become one of the most versatile foods in the world with corn or flour tortillas becoming a veritable canvas for ingredients that stagger the imagination. In the past two years, two wonderful books have been written that celebrate the taco. The first is called simply Tacos. It was written by Mark Miller, former owner of Santa Fe’s Coyote Cafe who has been called “the high priest of Southwestern cuisine.” The second book, Taco Table was written by Lois Frank, one of New Mexico’s most celebrated chefs and authors. I encourage you to check them out. They certainly opened my eyes as to the infinite possibilities of the taco.

      Gil

      May 6, 2010 at 9:09 PM
  • John L says:

    Sami,
    Perhaps the tacos at Sophia’s are Mexican, rather than New Mexican. Many Mexian (as opposed to New Mexican) foods do not use piquant spices. I think those at Sophioa’s are wonderful, especially the shrimp and scollop tacos.

    April 18, 2010 at 8:18 PM
  • Nate D says:

    Sami,

    Thank you for providing a nice contrast to Gil’s well-written reviews with insightful comments like “white people Mexican food.” It helps us all remember what it’s like to be in the presence of a moron and adds a very meaningful critique of the food at Sophia’s at the same time. Thanks.

    April 22, 2010 at 10:37 PM
  • Vicki says:

    This is a great place to eat!! The portions are huge though so I just eat off my husband’s plate. :):) We come to Albuquerque often from Houston and just love Sophia’s.

    August 11, 2010 at 7:35 AM
  • Terry says:

    Sofia’s is my favorite ABQ restaurant, bar none (well, maybe it’s tied with Artichoke Cafe).

    We eat there Sunday AM’s if we don’t eat at Ezra’s, the sister (brother) restaurant at the bowling alley a block south on Rio Grande, other side of street (where the food’s just as good but the ambience is, uh, different).

    Sofia’s duck enchiladas! The chef has cojones!

    Nobody in Santa Fe is as “celebrated” as Dennis is, by the people that count….and fwiw, Dennis, a kid from the neighborhood, is said to have worked for Alice Waters….

    August 11, 2010 at 5:42 PM
  • Nate D says:

    I tried Sophia’s for the first time today. I took my friend from out of town there for breakfast. We both had the breakfast burrito with bacon, smothered christmas-style. It was a fantastic breakfast burrito. The red chile is easily some of the best in NM. I plan to return and try many other items. Do yourself a favor and give Sophia’s a try…

    October 12, 2010 at 3:33 AM
  • Paula P says:

    I Love Sophia’s Place and try to take anyone I know there. It is original when Chains have taken over our Dining, SP has kept it authentic! Aside from my friend Eri’s house I don’t know a place I can order Chila quile Be patient, all good things take time, it will be worth the wait!

    January 17, 2011 at 8:49 AM
  • Sr Plata says:

    Sr, Senorena and Sobrina Plata made it a must to eat at Sophia’s based on the recommendation of Sensei. I had the Blue Corn Pancakes with mixed berry, pinon butter and maple syrup (wow, best in the city and to prove it, most tables had at least an order of them with whatever they already ordered). My Senorena just now reminded me how delicious they were. I had a side of Turkey Sausage (the Sephardic in me) which was well done ground Turkey with some chili in it. I topped it off with excellent Brazilian coffee; very good and no acidic aftertaste. Senorina had the Fish Tacos (she gave a big 2 thumbs up!). Sobrina had the Roasted Pepper sandwich which she enjoyed a lot. Nice fresh shoestring potatoes came on her order and Sr Plata enjoyed taking them when not watched. This was an unassuming awesome place that was packed with people. We were able to place our orders while we waited for a table which meant when we sat down, we were served quite quickly. Its amazing the food you will find inside and the jumpiness of the clientele. This restaurant reminded the Plata’s so much of brunch in San Diego, CA. Now I have tried Jo’s Place and Sophia’s Place, next stop… Ezra’s. Sr Plata is looking forward to the chef having more children so there will be more restaurants to try! …

    February 27, 2011 at 3:27 PM
  • ElVal says:

    First visit was on a Monday around 1115. Another party was in front of us and two tables were occupied. A young hispanic girl w/ black rectangular glasses was @ the counter writing the daily specials on a board. We stood there at least 3 minutes reading the menu board while the girl never acknowledged any of us. She repeatedly turned around to fetch new pens for her coloring project, but not a word to us. The people in front of us hadn’t been there before because they turned to us and said “I guess it’s table service???” We then sat down. Another five minutes passed and no other patrons came in and the girl finished her coloring. She then huffed out from behind the counter, came to our tables and said in that dramatic twenty-something put-upon voice, “You have to order at the counter.” Okaaaaaaaay. So both parties got up and ordered at the counter. Again dealing with the sullen help. We tried to have ice in our beverages but there was no ice. The sullen one mearly said, “It’s probably frozen stuck” and that was it. More customers had since been arriving; regulars since they ordered @ the counter. Again many mentioned to the sullen one that there was no ice. At no time during this did she bother to come look at the ice dispenser. When another customer complained, she handed him a steak knife and told him to break up the ice block. He succeeded, although it looked like he was giving the machine an enema.
    The sullen one delivered our food wordlessly. Plopped the burger and pastrami sandwich down and scurried off. I got up to get my own condiments from their fridge. The burger was OK, would have been better if Alex hadn’t smashed it so much when it was on the grill. Bacon was good; bun was good just the beef was dry. What is programmed into the DNA of 99% of burger cooks that they have to smash the burger when it’s cooking and therefore leaving it dry?
    My companion thought he had a ham sandwich instead of the pastrami. Minimal meat that was cut thick. It was dry and chewy.
    We’re not rushing back anytime soon. Very disappointed seeing as how this is not the owners first restaurant venture.

    April 13, 2011 at 8:10 AM
  • Sr Plata says:

    Senorena and I stopped for brunch at Sophia’s Place yesterday. My mind was set on pancakes so finding out they only served pancakes on weekends made it difficult to change gears. I had the Tortilla burger which Mr. Bill would whine that it was too overcooked (it was). The red chile was very good though. I liked the shoestring potatoes and the side salad. Senorena had the shrimp tacos and felt they were lacking in the number of shrimp per taco (2) and flavor. This trip was as eventful as the last when we had a Sunday brunch and I had some awesome pancakes. I think the owner needs to focus on the theme of what’s served and make it the very best. I will return on some future weekend for those pancakes. Hint: Serve them 7 days/week…

    July 6, 2011 at 10:15 AM
  • Sr Plata says:

    As I was driving around Albuquerque and getting hungry doing some Saturday chores, I found myself in need of pancakes and went back to the place that so far is the King of Pancakes in this fair city. Yes, Sophia’s Place. Being a Saturday and being noon meant pancakes would be offered. They had 2 choices: Mixed Berry or Blue Corn with Pinon Butter. I was confused. But when confused, I do what must be done. I had a 1/2 order of each which was 2 of each kind of pancake. It was truly excellent. The pinon butter was so rich and thick and made for a great preparation for the maple syrup. Ah, another delicious pancake morning. Now, if they had Turkey Bacon for us Sephardics, breakfast would be complete…

    September 4, 2011 at 9:19 PM
  • Bob of the Village of Los Ranchos says:

    For Father’s Day, my daughters presented me with an invitation to several monthly ‘Just Us with Dad Breakfasts’ for several months. Sophia’s was my 1st choice specifically to try the pancakes…alas, for me, underwhelmed. Crisp bacon was fine; coffee was indeed wonderful! On the way out, I espied a patron linkering to begin, ala fork and knife at-the-ready, a Rubenesque breakfast burrito per its obviously beautiful presentation beckoning from a pool of deep red chile which had flowed from that on top which was drizzled with a strand of white cheese(?). I empathized…and was embarrassed to say the least as I noted the moisture welling up about my palate. Sensing my gawking, the patron looked up and grinned saying “There’s no Other!” Ergo, will have to try again.

    July 1, 2012 at 11:48 AM
  • Bob of the Village of Los Ranchos says:

    Lest folks have missed the addition of evening hours, SP’s hours are now:
    M-F 7 A to 9PM
    Sat 9 A to 9PM
    Sun 9 A to 2PM

    Had the Pastrami. Guess I really prefer the finely sliced version. Liked the string-fries.

    May 11, 2013 at 11:01 PM
  • Leonard Daneman says:

    Gil, A lawyer friend, Mike Casey, introduced me to your site and I feature it as THE restaurant resource for Albuquerque visitors at my taxi website, Call-A-Cab.

    Now, I have to edit my website link from ’759′ reviews to ’783.’ Please consider linking me to your website.

    LAD

    March 19, 2014 at 8:59 PM
  • Leonard Daneman says:

    Oh, yes . . . a call came out on the taxi dispatch asking where the Hell was Sophia’s (Sophie’s), and I was the only cabbie who knew.

    http://www.taxiabq.com, and I look forward to eating there soon.

    March 19, 2014 at 9:04 PM

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