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Fusion food and beer: Kamikaze has kitchen inside Red Door Brewing’s new location

In Red Door Brewing Co.’s chicken wonton nachos dish, fried wontons are layered with chicken and topped with queso blanco, pico de gallo and serrano peppers. (Richard S. Dargan/For The Journal)

Red Door Brewing Co.’s partnership with Kamikaze Kitchen & Food Truck represents a new level in the symbiotic relationship between food trucks and brewpubs. The food truck, once moored outside Red Door’s old location on Gold, has a kitchen inside the brewpub’s new spot on Central. You can sit down and order from Kamikaze’s selection of Asian-Southwestern fusion cuisine and wash it down with a pint of Red Door’s locally brewed beer.

The new location, a block west of the KiMo Theatre on Central, is star-crossed, having been home to Zullo’s Bistro and Blackbird Buvette in recent years. There’s nothing particularly ominous about the spot, other than the gate pulled down over the façade of the defunct Maisel’s gift shop across the street. A fenced-off sidewalk patio out front is exposed to the elements. The patio out back with lights strung up over picnic tables offers more seclusion.

At first blush, the cavernous space inside, with a few tables in front and a long bar extending to the back, registers more as a drowsy dive than a full-service restaurant. No greetings were issued, no menus given. Eventually, I had to wander off in search of help. Once things got rolling, however, service was friendly and brisk.

The menu has one side devoted to food, the other to drink. Several items showcase Kamikaze’s skill at deep-frying wonton skins. Bacon jam macaroni and cheese egg rolls ($8), cut lengthwise, are lighter than they sound, thanks to the crackling crisp wrappers. The queso blanco, sweet and salty bacon jam and green chile ranch drizzle make for a wonderful combination of sweet, salt and spice.

Even better are the green chile cheeseburger egg rolls ($8), filled with seasoned ground beef, fiesta blend cheese, green chile and a drizzle of spicy ketchup to kick the heat up.

Main dishes, described as Krazy Kombos on the menu, run from $10 to $12 and include street tacos, fried chicken breast and a salad. Chicken wonton nachos ($12) arrive in a big, colorful pile that spills over the edge of the serving tray. The wonton chips are layered with shredded chicken and topped with queso blanco, pico de gallo, sour cream and cilantro, along with blazing-hot serrano peppers. It’s a good concept but was dragged down by chicken that was cold.

The green chile cheeseburger is served with french fries and your choice of dipping sauce; in this case, sriracha mayonnaise, at Red Door Brewing Co. (Richard S. Dargan/For The Journal)

The green chile cheeseburger ($11), a smashed sirloin patty under a blanket of cheddar cheese, green chile and mound of shredded lettuce, looked great but tasted unremarkable. A mound of excellent fries served with sriracha mayonnaise, one of seven dipping sauces available, redeemed the dish.

This kind of food is made for Prost Malone ($5.50), Red Door’s recently released Oktoberfest beer, brewed at its other Albuquerque location, at 1001 Candelaria NE. A deeply amber-hued, slightly sweet märzen beer, it cleanses the palate and douses any residual fires from the spices.

Besides year-round and seasonal beers, the drink menu includes cocktails in the $10 range and wines at around $8 a glass. Save room for the two inventive dessert choices: cookie dough egg rolls ($6) and strawberry cheesecake Nutella nachos ($8).

As an evolutionary step in the brewpub-food truck relationship, Red Door has much promise. It just needs more consistency in the food preparation and better service at the front of the house.

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