Toro Tequila Bar & Grill furnishes the famished with a menu of tangy grilled meats steeped in Mexican flavorings. The fuego sliders ($7) rush to the table, leaving a smoking trail of chipotle aioli in their wake. Beef short ribs, fresh from a tequila-lime bath, snuggle up in their mashed-potato beds with pico de gallo pillows and vegetable quilts ($18). Poultry gobblers relish the pepperjack chicken paired with linguini in a spicy cream sauce ($15).
At Venezia's Pizzeria, pie crafters transform doughy canvases into golden-brown masterpieces en route to a fully stocked menu of New York–style pizzas, calzones, and sub sandwiches. Diners can channel international zest with a slice of the Italian Stallion, which spotlights ground beef, sausage, bacon, and a thick Philadelphia accent ($14+). Barbecue-chicken pizzas ($11+) challenge toothy excavators to tunnel through grilled-chicken strata, and the gluten-free hawaiian pizza's hunks of pineapple and bacon ($11.15) imbue diners with a tropical reprieve sans licking dashboard hula dolls. To satisfy nonannular cravings, patrons can embrace the warm exterior of a philly cheesesteak hero ($6.75) or help a three-cheese calzone ($8) hone its diving skills by dipping the crunchy belly flopper into a side of homemade marinara sauce.
The housemade dressings and spreads that slather Relish’s handcrafted sandwiches helped the spot nab top honors in Albuquerque The Magazine’s 2011 Best of the City awards. Wasabi mayo and apricot mustard top sourdough slices and French baguettes inside globally-inspired ham and turkey sandwiches, and roasted red peppers, Boar’s Head meats, and organic greens contribute color, crunch, and flavor to other items on the menu. Relish’s chefs, however, don’t limit their creativity by staying inside the crust—they construct fruit trays for catering orders and build slaws and salads as cool and crisp as a snowman after an elocution lesson.
Helmed by the former general manager of Gruet Steakhouse, The Black Olive Wine Bar & Grill offers a menu full of elegant, Italian-inspired fare for lunch and dinner daily. Start with an order of house-marinated olives ($5), savoring the succulent lemon- and herb-soaked spheres before plunging into the New Mexico green-chile stew ($8), loaded with spuds and ground sirloin. Entree selections feature hearty, hand-held sandwiches and burgers (starting at $7) and authentic Italian pastas (starting at $12) alongside a mouthwatering collection of meats and succulent seafare. When a vitamin-D deficiency gets you down, opt for a 10-ounce filet mignon ($24) topped with bleu-cheese butter or green-peppercorn sauce (each $1 extra), or indulge an aquatic craving with an order of the Australian lobster tail (market price). The Black Olive's savory sides, such as mascarpone polenta ($7) or creamed spinach ($7), offer accompaniments for any stomach-bound supper, while ricotta and chocolate-chip-filled cannoli ($7) promise enough meal-concluding sweetness to soften even the most sour-faced.
At Pho Bar, chefs master the spicy, savory flavors of the Vietnamese soup called pho with an authentic touch. The menu boasts large bowls of pho with filet mignon, beef meatballs, chicken, and more. Each bowl is served with bean sprouts, basil, cilantro, sliced jalapeño, and lime on the side, so guests can customize the steamy entree. Alongside the genuine Vietnamese tastes of pho are plates of grilled meats, rice-paper-wrapped spring rolls, tofu and veggie soups, and banh mi, a Vietnamese–style sandwich served on a flaky 12-inch french baguette with fresh cilantro, cucumber, and carrots. To complement each dish, the restaurant serves beer and wine.:m]]At Pho Bar, chefs master the spicy, savory flavors of the Vietnamese soup called pho with an authentic touch. The menu boasts large bowls of pho with filet mignon, beef meatballs, chicken, and more. Each bowl is served with bean sprouts, basil, cilantro, sliced jalapeño, and lime on the side, so guests can customize the steamy entree. Alongside the genuine Vietnamese tastes of pho are plates of grilled meats, rice-paper-wrapped spring rolls, tofu and veggie soups, and banh mi, a Vietnamese–style sandwich served on a flaky 12-inch french baguette with fresh cilantro, cucumber, and carrots. To complement each dish, the restaurant serves beer and wine.
Though Banana Leaf is owned and operated by a Vietnamese family, its menu also flaunts culinary influences from China and Thailand to ensure complex and well-rounded flavor profiles. Below hanging lights that glow like radioactive wizard hats, tables heave under the weight of pan-fried noodles and jasmine-rice entrees strewn with bamboo shoots, pineapple, and crunchy cashews. Morsels of beef, tofu, or shrimp simmer in thai curries infused with basil, coconut milk, and veggies, and Chinese classics such as sweet-and-sour pork and general tso's chicken glisten beneath tangy sauces. In the kitchen, one lone chef prepares all of these mouthwatering masterworks, ensuring that the dishes are consistently delicious and share the same jawline.
A two-time winner of the James Beard award, Big Mike's executive chef pulls from 36 years of culinary experience to appease appetites with a menu of sandwiches, salads, and Mexican dishes. Mouths grapple with sub selections made on freshly baked croissants, ryes, hoagies, and gluten-free breads, such as the Thanksgiving, in which turkey, provolone, cranberry, and mayonnaise congregate for autumnal flavors ($5.95–$8.95). The tube shape of a third-pound beef Rail Runner Dog ($4.50) makes it ideal for scarfing, and a Donovan's grilled PB&J ($4.50) evokes fond memories of third-grade lunches without summoning less fond memories of third-grade doctoral-thesis reviews. Diners can graze the greens of a protein-packed Big Mike's salad, with hard-boiled eggs, ham, turkey, and roast beef ($5.95), or dabble in foreign culinary affairs with three tacos in a choice of meats ($3.99). Juvenile nibblers can nosh on plates from a menu of kid-friendly cuisines or use their youthful charm to cajole parents for their pickles.