ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — After nearly two hours of conversation and a relaxing meal, the tink-tink sound of my spoon making shards out of caramelized sugar on the dish of creme bruée served as a reminder that the classics can be surprisingly good in the hands of a talented chef. It had been years since my last “just OK” experience at Indigo Crow, and during this long-overdue revisit I was reminded of the reasons I first loved the little spot in Corrales, from the convoluted dining rooms to the engaging wait staff.
Rewind a few hours to the early evening light and the meandering road to the far North Valley, and you’d be right to question if such a long drive will reap culinary rewards — to much of Albuquerque proper, Corrales is just as far away as the East Mountains, though still not a hardship at around 20 minutes.
A menu so filled with American classics is almost shocking in a time when the trend of regional fusion seems to be more the law of the land rather than just a fad. Yet here is Indigo Crow’s menu with crab cakes, steak and potatoes and crÃ¨me brulee. The pair of Crab Cakes ($10) are unlike what you’d find in a city truly passionate about aquatic foods: crispy under their crumb coat, pleasant in a red chile mayonnaise sauce, but filled with more filler than flaky crab meat.
LOCATION: 4515 Corrales Road, Corrales, 898-7000, http://indigocrowcafe.com
HOURS: 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays; 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Sundays; closed Mondays
BEER AND WINE
The kitchen recovers with a warm pleasant surprise Grilled Romaine Salad ($9), in which every smoky millimeter of charred lettuce or tomato adds immeasurably to the flavor, feeling rich on the tongue with melted gorgonzola and a light vinaigrette. Decimated is too mild a description for what I did to that salad, leaving only scant bits of cheese behind.
We did appreciate the locally oriented appetizer of Char Broiled Quail ($11), a perfectly flattened bird rendered juicy from its salty marinade and flanked by tartly dressed artichokes. I’d go so far as to recommend this appetizer as a light entrée, especially if you’ve taken the edge off with the addictive sourdough in the bread basket.
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