Chef Tai Tok knows that sometimes, the best food comes from the most unassuming places. Within the open kitchen of StreetFood Asia, his award-winning restaurant, he reimagines the satisfying delicacies found in the roving carts and street-side stalls of six countries—China, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Korea, and Vietnam. True to the food's up-close-and-personal history, diners get a full view of every wok flip and sizzling flame, watching as the culinary team plates everything from wontons, fried shrimp, and kimchi to noodle-filled entrees such as pho, tom yum soup, and Bangkok street mee siam.
In addition to entertaining eyes and taste buds, StreetFood Asia also hauls in the hardware come awards season. In recent years, the restaurant has been named Best of the City: Best Restaurant That Doesn't Fit into a Category by Albuquerque The Magazine, voted Best Asian Fusion by readers in the Local IQ 2013 Smart List, and declared home to the city's best Asian noodles in Alibi's Best of Burque 2012. In addition to these wins, Chef Tai Tok and his team also earn runner-up status in the 2013 Souper Bowl Critics' Choice event and Alibi's Best of Burque 2012 Best Fusion category.
Every day, the chefs at Lucia create a special vegetarian entree using local, regional ingredients. It’s their way of offering a healthful alternative to the heavier steak and seafood dishes on the main menu. It’s also an example of how the restaurant emphasizes environmentally friendly practices; in addition to using local and regional grown foods whenever possible, they serve purified water to reduce the use of plastic bottles and the mess of bringing your own handfuls of water from home. They also donate all unused food to the Roadrunner Food Bank or compost it into fertilizer for local gardening projects.
Lucia’s menus are updated each season with internationally-inspired dishes such as hazelnut dusted chilean bass with truffle mashed potatoes, pistachio crusted tofu steak, and grilled Atlantic salmon. The restaurant, which was crowned Best Downtown Restaurant 2012 by Weekly Alibi, also has a full bar, where you can order hand-mixed cocktails and 14 wines by the glass. Feel free to enjoy your meals and libations in the plush dining room or take them out to the pet-friendly outdoor patio.
A lengthy lineup of traditional game-day fare and a sports atmosphere captivate fans at Fox and Hound - Bailey's, where the kitchen remains open as late as its neighboring fully stocked bar. Chefs cook until the wee hours of the morning and always until the bar closes, baking Bavarian pretzel starters, crafting towers of onion rings, and preparing hand-battered chicken tenders that are cooked until they are golden brown. They blend their own seasonings to sprinkle over grilled-to-order burgers, and draw from a diverse roster of cheeses and toppings to crown their wood-oven-inspired flatbreads.
While manning the bars, bartenders tap into a stash of libations, such as UV Whipped vodka and Patron Silver tequila, to mix their specialty cocktails. To further foster a sporting ambiance, high-definition TVs glow with sports games and custom music-video playlists, and guests partake in pastimes of ump bashing, billiards, or competitive people watching.
Tiny hanging tea lights cast orange orbs onto the lavender-hued walls. Thatched wicker chairs gather around tables, round and tapered like the heels of giant boots. Though these decorative embellishments may seem bold, the Martinez family wants them to be fixtures of a much greater statement—a culinary statement, one that won Los Equipales the title of 2011's Best Mexican restaurant according to Weekly Alibi.
The Martinez family changes the menu every three weeks to focus on the specialties of a different state of their native Mexico. Homemade sauces such as sweet mole and spiced tequila cream marinate fresh fillets of red snapper, salmon, and spice-infused chicken. While waiting on sizzling plates of fajitas to cool, patrons can also ask servers about their private rooms, which accommodate up to 110 guests or 500 tapped telephones.
Inspired by the seafood of the American Northwest, the culinary team at Desert Fish prepare exclusively wild-caught catches using fresh, contemporary seasonings. The cucumber-melon finish of their Shigoku oysters from Washington State’s Willapa Bay prime palates for kona coffee-crusted Hawaiian snapper or house-made gnocchi with littleneck clams and pan-roasted brussel sprouts in brown butter sauce. Behind the bar, bartenders compliment the dishes with wines and specialty cocktails mixed with fresh fruit juices and herbs, such as the Mint Mirage martini, whose basil Hayden Bourbon and fresh mint magically disappear before diners’ eyes over the course of about 20 minutes. The restaurant also serves weekend brunches, offering a diverse selection that spans from fried oysters with biscuits and gravy to crab cake Benedict.
Beyond the cascades of wine bottles and European baubles adorning La Provence Brasserie's traditional eatery, award-winning chef Claus Hjortkjaer forges the savory meats and delicate sauces fundamental to traditional and modern French recipes. Classic hors d'oeuvres of escargots and french onion soup make way for a bevy of succulent braised beef and lamb flanked by sautéed garden vegetables. Red, white and sparkling wines hail from locales both domestic and abroad, and bubbly microbrew beers dream of being invited to the wines' raucous cellar parties. Standing gas heaters keep the outdoor Parisian patio toasty as diners at white-clothed tables gaze at performers commanding the stage during open-mic events each Wednesday night.