A crow-themed restaurant might not immediately appeal to gourmands, but Corrales’ Indigo Crow is one of the best chef-led restaurants in town.
In business for nearly two decades, this little eatery in an old house is an underrated gem in a city known for its unique, eclectic tastes. Indigo Crow serves exceptionally fresh, well-cooked meats, veggies and desserts in its quaint digs just north of Albuquerque.
On a recent weekend visit, I tried four offerings from the kitchen and wasn’t disappointed by any of them: I started with the grilled romaine ($7 for a smaller serving). It wasn’t much to look at – a pile of seared greens – but the taste was unreal. The lettuce is placed atop a hot grill for a moment, so the outer edges of the romaine are almost blackened while the interior is still crisp and green, and then it’s smothered in fresh Gorgonzola cheese and vodka vinaigrette. The Gorgonzola had a sharpness that went well with the romaine, and a big slice of fresh tomato that was also grilled adds a different texture to the plate.
The dressing was amazing as well. The vodka was a mere hint, barely registering against the sharpness of the cheese and the distinct grill flavor. It was also filling, and the addition of grilled chicken or fresh seafood would make the dish a complete meal.
I also tried the grilled tenderloin skewers ($7 during happy hour, $9 during dinner), which came with pickled ginger and a light soy-based glaze. They were cooked perfectly for my taste – medium heat, with a crispy, blackened exterior. They’re on the appetizer menu, but they’d also make an excellent meal for a smaller appetite.
The beef was loaded with flavor, so tender I cut it with my fork, and the dark soy-based sauce and toasted sesame on top provided some Asian flare. The meat wasn’t as lean as it could have been and probably should have been trimmed, but that’s hardly a complaint, especially to fat- and gristle-loving carnivores.
The main course was the best part of the meal and well-worth the $9 price tag. The beef brisket sliders came with two mini-sandwiches (large for sliders) and some of the best french fries in town.
The brisket was tender and lean, and the barbecue sauce was great; the two sliders were definitely filling, though the plate wasn’t embarrassingly large or loaded with calories. The fries, though, were the real star: Golf ball-sized potatoes are somehow “corkscrewed” and then fried, so the result is thick, golden-brown potatoes that don’t easily fit into a category. I had never had fries prepared this way, but I’m glad I tried them, because I’m a convert. Shoestring potatoes hold no appeal for me now.
Indigo Crow offers a big Sunday brunch, and it has an assortment of offerings that will appeal to children. It also has a beer and wine bar and daily happy hour, as well as covered patio seating with fireplaces and a private parking lot (though the entrance to the lot was recently closed due to excessive rains).
The atmosphere is welcoming, and even formal, though there is no dress code or any hint of pretentiousness. This would make a great destination on a date or even a business lunch, and the menu is loaded with such savory delicacies as Pacific salmon, rack of lamb, and “cherry zinfandel duck.” Prices are fair and reasonable, and service is fantastic.
The approach to Indigo Crow is also rewarding. Tree-lined Corrales Road winds through farmland and historic adobe homes, and the restaurant is sandwiched between them on the west side of the road.
Keep an eye out for the sign, because Indigo Crow keeps a somewhat low profile among its neighbors, which is not a bad way to serve high-quality steaks and fresh seafood.