300! In the parlance of the bowler, it signifies absolute perfection, twelve consecutive strikes. According to some trusted foodies, the 300 Club Bar & Grill in Albuquerque’s Skidmore’s Holiday Bowl on Lomas just east of San Pedro serves a mean green chile cheeseburger, a 12-strike masterpiece, a perfect 300. This is a burger so good, it was one of the twenty contestants for the inaugural Governor’s Green Chile Cheeseburger Challenge in 2009.
We all know the stereotypes about bowling alley food. When it comes to food, most bowling alleys strike out. Ardent keglers are subjected to such catastrophic “cuisine” as perpetually rotating hot dogs seared to a leathery sheen under a heat lamp inferno, soppy messes of nachos bathed in gloppy processed cheese topped with gelatinous jalapeños and greasy onion rings with the texture of fried rubber bands and as oily as well-slicked lanes. Getting something edible at most bowling alleys is as tough as picking up a seven-ten split.
The fact that the 300 Club Bar & Grill has a separate entrance from the rest of the bowling alley is a promising sign. That promise is bolstered by its utterly charming sports bar ambiance which is wholly unlike the greasy, divey stereotype affixed in my mind about bowling alley dining (obviously when I’m not thinking about the now defunct Ezra’s Place). A wall-mounted, flat screen high-definition television tuned to ESPN is a fixture on one wall while smaller televisions, also tuned to Sports programming are strategically placed for optimal viewing no matter where you’re seated. Seating–whether along the bar or in the booths along the wall–is comfortable and spacious.
On November 20th, 2009, the 300 Club Bar & Grill celebrated the grand opening of the HB Extreme Vodka Venue. As Albuquerque’s sole Vodka bar, the Venue promises over 50 premium Vodkas along with a full selection of liquors, liqueurs and draft and bottled beers. If you don’t partake of adult beverages, you can still have a great dining experience either for a quick breakfast, relaxing lunch away from the office or a fun night out with friends and family.
The menu is surprisingly ambitious–as daring as that of many restaurants. The breakfast menu includes many traditional New Mexico breakfast favorites, most laced with the chile some of us need to truly wake up everyday. The lunch menu is also interwoven with New Mexican entrees such as burritos, tacos as well as sandwiches burgers and even pizza. Burger selections include some non-conventional but utterly New Mexican choices as green chile cheeseburgers enveloped by a flour tortilla. A weekly special which just be fried chicken with all the trimmings or pork chops is also available.
18 November 2009: Salsa and chips are always a great way to start any meal, especially when the chips are made to order. Those chips arrive at your table still warm to the touch. They cool off quickly as you scoop up the fresh tomato. onion and jalapeno based salsa of medium piquancy. The salsa reminded me a bit of Pace Picante Sauce without the characteristic acerbic qualities of the Texas based bottled salsa. It has good pronouncements of piquancy, freshness and flavor. If you don’t order an appetizer such as the salsa and chips, you can also ask for a bowl of popcorn.
18 November 2009: The green chile cheeseburger is adorned with large leaf lettuce, red onion and a sole red tomato atop grilled buns. The beef patty is uniform in size and texture, a usually obvious sign of pre-packaged, frozen beef. Though I would have preferred fresh, hand-formed beef, there are many green chile cheeseburgers throughout the Land of Enchantment using frozen beef patties from Sam’s, the Price Club or others of that ilk.
The green chile is blanketed by smoldering, bright orange cheese so hot that the cheese-chile amalgam seems to be one entity. The green chile is neither chopped nor diced, but pureed. It drips and drizzles onto the plate like a vibrant, verdant-orange lava flow. It’s hot on the tongue both in terms of heat and piquancy. The chile is not only fulsome in flavor, but has the tongue-tingling qualities of very good chile. This is the type of chile than can top everything, but can’t be topped. I imagine the judges at the Governor’s Challenge enjoyed this burger and its chile very much.
The accompanying French fries are also quite good. Unlike the flaccid and boring French fries normally served with our sacrosanct green chile cheeseburger, these are stiff as if twice-fried and well-seasoned. Burgers and fries make for an excellent marriage, particularly when both are excellent in their own right as these are.
27 August 2015: Among chefs, the practice of deconstructing dishes is a popular technique, especially in gourmet restaurants and cooking competitions. The term “deconstructed dish” basically means taking foods normally combined, changing their form then plating them together in different ways. It’s not just about taking a dish apart, but recombining its elements. It might be a stretch to call the 300 Club Grill’s burrito in a bowl a deconstructed dish, but it is a different and delicious way to present and serve a New Mexico favorite.
As the name implies, this dish is essentially an unwrapped burrito or rather its contents (beef or chicken layered with beans, red or green chile topped with shredded cheese and garnish) are served on a plate with a tortilla. It could be argued that all it would take to make this a Frito pie is a few Frito’s corn chips, but why argue when you could enjoy every morsel of a terrific dish. The green chile shines on this “deconstructed” bowl of deliciousness.
If you’ve needed an excuse to explore the Land of Enchantment, start with New Mexico’s Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail which promises an excellent meal along the highways and byways of the most beauteous of America’s fifty states. For Duke City sojourners, the 300 Club Bar & Grill is a good place to start.
The 300 Club Bar & Grill
Skidmore’s Holiday Bowl
7515 Lomas, N.E.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
LATEST VISIT: 27 August 2015
1st VISIT: 18 November 2009
# OF VISITS: 2
BEST BET: Green Chile Cheeseburger, French Fries, Chips & Salsa, Burrito In A Bowl, Popcorn