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Artichoke Cafe, Albuquerque, NM
This is one of the longer-lived fine dining places in
Albuquerque, located on the southwest corner of Edith and
Central. Nice room, good service, and innovative, well-prepared
Here were the dishes three of us tried on September 15, 2002.
Quotes are taken from a copy of the menu.
- Appetizer: ``Asian lettuce wraps with Thai barbequed chicken
salad, butter leaf lettuce, pickled cucumber, julienne red
bell pepper and snow peas, with Nuoc Cham sauce.'' A fine
array of superbly fresh vegetables, this will make rabbit-food
enthusiasts very happy. The chicken was not too prominent,
just a different texture in the complicated whole.
- Appetizer: ``House-cured salmon, thinly sliced and served
with herbal potato chips, chevre cream cheese, roasted shallot
puree and finished with a mustard and chive emulsion.''
The salmon was exquisite, with some fresh cracked pepper adhering
to the edges of the slices. The chevre was nice and light.
The shallots were purple and slightly sweet. The emulsion
amounted to a few drops, but it was very tasty with the salmon.
The potato chips were pairs of paper-thin slices of potato with
a fresh herb leaf sandwiched in the middle before frying for
visual, textural and gustatory interest. Good stuff.
- Appetizer: ``Blue crab cakes on a bed of frisee, with crispy
smoked bacon, sweet corn coulis and chive oil.'' This was my
choice, and quite rewarding. Lots of places have crab cakes
in this town, but this was one of the best. The cakes were
well browned to give some crunch and sweetness to the blend.
- Salad: ``Mixed seasonal greens with choice of dressing.''
We all agreed that if we had to dispense with one course,
this would be it. The salads were sizeable, but the greens
were not the absolute premium baby green blend that a lot of
the competition offers. Not bad, just not too exciting.
- ``Free range chicken breast stuffed with forest mushroom
duxelle, roasted and served with sweet cream mashed potatoes
and finished with a Madeira pan sauce.'' Very tasty, tender
meat, good balance between the earthiness of the mushrooms
and the lighter parts of the flavor.
- Seafood special of the day: grilled opah with sour cream
chive potato salad, grilled asparagus with orange tomato
sauce, and salsa verde. Out of maybe six times I've had
opah, this was by far the best preparation, extremely tender
and tasty, compared to the somewhat firmer versions
elsewhere. As good as the salmon was, I wished I'd gotten
- I chose the ``salmon of the day.'' It was wild-caught
Atlantic king salmon (is this a sustainable fishery, I was
wondering?). Served with a warm rice salad with dried
cranberries, grilled asparagus, and ratatouille. Salmon
is a tough test for me, since so many places serve it.
But this was quite nice. It was sauteed and just barely
crunchy on the outside, with the rest of the meat cooked just
right. The ratatouille was well made, and the rest of the
ingredients sort of blended together into one quite tasty
Next: Shipman's Albuquerque breakfast favorites
See also: Shipman's favorite Albuquerque restaurants
Previous: Bien Shur Restaurant, Albuquerque, NM
John W. Shipman,
Last updated: 2002/09/23 03:25:47