Quarters – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

The Original Quarters BBQ on Yale

Some of my friends accuse me of making my Web site a bully pulpit against chain restaurants and being a shameless “homer” when it comes to promoting locally owned and operated restaurants. I make no secret of my overwhelming preference for local restaurants, but never at the expense of a personal integrity which won’t allow me to pander to local restaurants which, in my honest opinion, don’t quite measure up. One such restaurant is the venerated Quarters–at least in terms of its barbecue.

One of Duke City’s oldest and most revered barbecue joints, the Quarters is generally teeming with loyal patrons who will tell you that Quarters puts the ‘cue in Albuquerque. Now with three locations, including a sprawling edifice launched in 2004 on Albuquerque’s burgeoning West side, the Quarters shows no surcease in popularity. The Nellos family which owns and operates Quarters is practically royalty in Albuquerque, not only because of their popular restaurants, but because of their civic involvement and community-mindedness.

Quarters Dining Room

The rib dinner, eight to ten pork spare ribs served with two sides, exemplifies what I don’t like about Quarters.  The ribs are dry despite being slathered with the tangy sauce.  That’s entirely two bad considering the generous amount of ribs on the plate and the fact that the ribs are meaty. The barbecue is dry.  It’s over-sauced.  I think my point has been made, but if you’d like an other opionion, check out the musings of Larry McGoldrick, New Mexico’s premier contributor to Urbanspoon. His sentiments toward the Quarters’ barbecue echo mine.

I started off this review acknowledging that Quarters is “revered.”  It is  indeed a perennial recipient of several “people’s choice” and “best of” awards and its parking lots are usually crowded.  There are probably more people who love the Quarters than there are detractors.  Because it’s not one of my favorites (by a long-shot) doesn’t make me a “hater,” as one of my Quarters-loving work colleagues accused me of being.  I like to think it makes me a discerning diner whose preferences for barbecue are elsewhere. You’re free to agree or disagree as you please.

We’ve had much better luck at Quarters with red meat entrees which have, in recent visits, been prepared to our exacting specifications. If you ask for your red meat entree to be prepared medium, the grill chef executes. If you ask for salt, pepper and garlic on both sides of your steak, it’s applied in exacting proportions–and we’re not talking garlic salt here. It’s minced garlic that brings out the flavor of a New York steak. The New York steak is perfectly tender with nary any excess fat. At twelve ounces, it is a beauteous strip of meat with charred edges. Cut into it and the succulent juices flow, exposing the perfect amount of pink.

BBQ Turkey Sandwich with Baked Beans

Another nice meat entree is the Teriyaki Shish-Ka-Bob sans skewers. It’s a generous plate comprised of sliced steak, mushroom caps and grilled red and green peppers. The ka-bob is sliced into larger than bite-sized pieces of moist, tender and delicious meat, the flavor of which is ameliorated by a teriyaki sauce that is neither too sweet nor too savory.

Another favorite item at Quarters is the dinner salad (iceberg and Romaine lettuce, tomatoes, croutons, cucumbers) with as much blue cheese as the wait staff can carry. The blue cheese dressing is light on the mayo and heavy on the blue cheese, a great combination for blue cheese aficionados.

In 2006 and 2007, Quarters earned Wine Spectator’s “Award of Excellence,” an accolade bestowed upon restaurants whose wine lists offer interesting selections…and appeal to a wide range of wine lovers.”

905 Yale, S.E.
Albuquerque, New Mexico

LATEST VISIT: 16 May 2018
COST:: $$
BEST BET: Dinner Salad with blue cheese dressing, Teriyaki Shish-Ka-Bob

19 thoughts on “Quarters – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

  1. Gil, I beg of you, review The Stumbling Steer. I keep saying I will try different appetizers, but those fried pork bites are like bits of pork belly *butter* and I can’t avoid ordering them. This place has my undying loyalty (and if they delivered, my arteries would last about a week).

  2. This is the second time that the manager at the Yale Restaurant has been rude to me. I am starting to think that she is prejudiced towards Hispanics. I want into the store yesterday (12-19-2011) i was the first one there and 5 minutes later when she came out of who knows where. She started helping others. That’s not the first time she has totally looked past me. The last time she forgot my order. I waited 30 minutes before she came back to ask me what my order was. The thing to do is ask who was here first, As a manager you would think that she has the Customer Service Skills. Unfortunately she Does not. She is Rude. I love the Quarters food. I recently moved here from the North East Heights. I would always go to the Wyoming store.They always treated me real good over there.. I have lived in Albuquerque for many years and have never complained about the service at a restaurant. Theresa from the Quarters, Or any one that knows her. Please let her know that she should buy a book on Customer Service Skills. Maybe you will learn some manners

    1. LOL that was my old boss she was a bitch to everyone and made me want to quit not a very good work enviorment and thanks for the name i blocked it out for a resume xD

  3. I agree with you Gil, the ribs are really tight around the bone and dry. The sauce is like a really tangy ketchup. The good items at Quarters are the Filet and the Rib eye.

  4. I have been to quarters many times. Sometimes it was really good. However, there seems to be a 65% chance that the food is overcooked and cold. I haven’t been back in a long time because of this.

  5. Hey Gil, you should consider updating your Quarters review. Assuming you repost your reviews when you revisit them, I’d love to know if your opinion has changed since you originally wrote this, and what got you to go back!

    Also, a shout out to Pepper’s Ole Fashion BBQ on San Pedro. I tried them for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and found the meats nicely smoky and moist, with great sauce.

    1. Hello Edward

      When I revisit a restaurant, I do re-post the reviews, but always add updated comments and if warranted, rating changes. My rating for Quarters dropped from 16 to 13 based on a very disappointing visit last week. I only returned to Quarters because that’s where my corporate group decided to hold its quarterly team building activity, but I may return to try their green chile cheeseburger (which Larry McGoldrick says is pretty good).

      Pepper’s could teach the good folks at Quarters a thing or two about barbecue.


  6. In my Urbanspoon review of the Ellison location, I pointed out that while the BBQ is dreadful (and it really is), The Green Chile Cheeseburger is among the better examples if this delight that can be found in the Duke City. Especially if you order it medium rare (ergo juicy) and competition style. While it stands no chance of earning a coveted place on my Top-Ten GCCB List, it and a Corona can be had for about 6 1/2 bucks until 4:00 pm. Cole slaw goes well with it.

    Jane and I treat this place as if it were a hamburger joint. You should, too.

  7. I also am not a fan of the Quarters. I love a nice brisket sandwich but I always thought the brisket tasted like regular roast beef (dry) and with lots of watery sauce. I am glad I am not alone in not loving the Quarters.

  8. Love Quarters!
    I could live on their ribs / hotlinks platter. But, yes, sauce on the side please. My only gripe against their ribs is that sometimes they seem to rush them and the meat is sometimes a little too tight on the bone. But when you get a slab done enough they are moist, they fall off the bone and they are well spiced without the sauce. An occasionally dip into the sauce gives it a little twang.
    Nothing to do with Q but what about their crab legs!

  9. Up until I read this I thought I was the only person in all of Albuquerque who didn’t like Quarters. I often go in a group but never by actual selection. It always seemed the perfect triumph of quantity over quality, not an very unusual triumph.

  10. Well, we won’t be going there. I tried Powdrell’s and HATED the fat-filled ribs. How I long for decent BBQ. I am beginning to think that NM is a culinary desert.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.