Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Cafe Abiquiu at Abiquiu Inn, Abiquiu, NM

This, and the next few reviews, will be a little shorter as Rob and I continue our New Mexico vacation, because there have just been so many places to try and I'm getting behind. But right now let's concentrate on Cafe Abiquiu. Abiquiu, NM is located about 40 miles northwest of Santa Fe and not very far from Medanales where we were staying when we tried this restaurant. It's right on US highway 84 and the Inn looks beautiful. The restaurant itself is nice, but rather non-descript. I did enjoy that it displays the work of local artists, and many who were very good, but we're here to talk food.

As we entered Cafe Abiquiu, we almost tripped over a table. What should have been a foyer area, in my opinion, held a table for six. No problem, though, we were ushered into another dining room and given a choice of tables since we were early. I was taken aback by our waitress who, I thought, looked a little disheveled in her oversized Cafe Abiquiu t-shirt. I expected a little more formal uniform for the waitstaff, but it's the food that counts. She took our drink orders and we looked the menu over while she tended to that.
Tamale Cake Napoleon

When she retuned, she suggested that we try the Tamale Cake Napoleon ($8). We don't normally do appetizers, but this one sounded intriguing. So, we ordered it. For our entree, Rob went with the Chipotle Honey Glazed Salmon ($18) and I went with the Blue Corn Fried Rainbow Trout ($17).

Black Bean Soup
The Tamale Cake Napoleon is sweet corn cakes stacked with avacado, pico de gallo and roasted red pepper sauce. It was amazing! The pan-fried corn cakes were just a little sweet, almost a cross between polenta and cornbread with a few whole kernels of corn inside, layered with the smooth mashed avacado --YUM! We tried to savor it, but it was gone before we knew it. We, also, both opted for the soup over a salad. It was a wonderful Black Bean Soup with just a little chipotle. Very nice.
Chipotle Honey Glazed Salmon

Rob's salmon was described as "pan seared New Mexico pistachio crusted North Atlantic salmon filet." It was tasty, but I expected the chipotle honey glaze to have more of a kick. What impressed me were the potaoes; sliced thin with just a hint of rosemary. His plate also included roasted asparagus which was in great need of seasoning.

Blue Corn Fried Rainbow Trout
My trout had what seems to be the most important thing, according to the celebrity chefs, a crispy skin. If you are a fan of the Food Network show Chopped, you know that crispy skin on fish is a must and is not always an easy thing to accomplish, so I must give the chef points for that, and the blue corn crust was interesting, but I can't say that it had a lot of flavor. My plate also included mashed potatoes with scallions which I liked very much and the roasted asparagus which was in great need of seasoning.

All in all, the meal was good, but not as good as it could have been. The appetizer was absolutely the best part of the meal and may have set the bar a little high for the entree. Would I recommend Cafe Abiquiu? Yes, but with reservations. No pun intended.

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