The Indigo Crow: Unquestionably the Finest Dining in Corrales —
and consistently among the finest in the Duke City area.
Latest visit: June 14, 2013
First visit: September 3, 2008
Corrales, the charming village on the west bank of the Rio Grande, home to some 8,500 charming residents, has a goodly number of charming restaurants serving great food (Perea’s Tijuana Bar, Hannah & Nate’s, Oasis, to name a few), and the charming Indigo Crow is clearly the best of the best. Corrales is a charming dining destination for the Duke City area.
Opened about twelve years ago by owners Don and Regina Raber in an old house that formerly hosted the Desert Rose, it has become a favorite gathering place for many Corraleños and their friends, and has developed a loyal following (including me). In nice weather, you should (try to) eat your meal on the patio under some gorgeous trees and listen to some local music, often performed by Oscar Butler, an Albuquerque legend (Google him) who has a continuing love affair with the Indigo Crow (you can hear his praises on YouTube:
My first visit was with Jane for her birthday anniversary, and I had the best lamb shanks that I have had in New Mexico. Since then, by chance, I have always been there with many sets of guests during chilly times, and my favorite spot is in the back room by the roaring piñon fire. My latest visit was for an early May lunch (my first lunch there), and we sat on the glorious patio. So did lots of other folks, many of whom were seniors dressed to the nines for their luncheon outing. Sweet. Part of the loyal following.
Chef Noah Martinez’ food is spectacular. Read the online menu, and I dare you not to drool. On various visits, we have tried:
Organic Baby Greens (with cherry tomatos, red onions, shaved carrots, and caramelized almonds), Grilled Romaine (grilled tomatos, melted gorgonzola, and a fantastis vodka vinaigrette), Caesar (you can add slipper lobster, shrimp, or salmon ), The Catalina (chopped romaine, tomato, egg, bacon, avocado, and gorgonzola). Each is great.
Moules Frites (with saffron garlic white wine sauce and wonderful shoestring potatos that taste like potatos). You will swear that you have been transported to a Belgian bistro.
Seared Shrimp and Scallops in an Herbed Truffle Butter Sauce. Served with garlic sautéed baby spinach and Japanese rice, this dish will fool you into believing that you are sitting at the seaside. Drink a Malbec with this (yeah, really).
Grilled Rack of Lamb. Perfectly done with a cherry glaze (not sweet), Parmesan Risotto, and sautéed garlic baby spinach. This is one of my favorite dishes anyplace. Many of my guests have raved about this entrée, the latest being my new friend from Washington, DC, Yael Cannon.
Lobster Ravioli. This is velvety magic on a plate. Open faced ravioli with Parmesan, mascarpone, ricotta, and mozzarella with slipper tail and lobster claw meat.
On some earlier visits, we have had various renditions of steak and a lamb shank dish that was the only excellent lamb shank in all of Corrales.
Three Berry Bread Pudding. I am a bread pudding freak, and this instantiation is among the very best I have had. Perfect texture, neither dry nor soggy, and the taste has a hint of tartness. Never cloyingly sweet. It ranks number five on my Bread Pudding Hall of Fame List. I could walk down the road for a late evening snack, sit at the bar, and enjoy this with a glass of delicately fruity white wine.
The bread (and herbed olive oil) is delicious. Save some to mop up the sauces from your entrees. Good to the last drop. The servers are charming.
I asked our excellent server for his recommendation: What was his favorite. He suggested the BBQ Brisket Sandwich. This turned out to be an excellent choice. The small dish of Beef Vegetable soup was as good as any I’ve had. Meaty with tender chunks of beef, and with lots of veggies and some cheese all in a darkly rich broth, this is like lovingly made home-cooked stuff. Beautiful. The sandwich was loaded with juicy thin slices of barbecued brisket topped with lightly caramelized pieces of red and white onions. The Texas-style sauce was slightly spicy, slightly sweet, and highly delicious. Served on baguette-like bread, this BBQ is better than any brisket that I have had in any of tyhe well-known stand-alone BBQ houses in the Duke City. I’m hooked.
Jane had some Fish Tacos. Two tacos served with pico de gallo, sour cream, and a red chile aioli were very good. The fish was moist. Also a good choice, but not as exalted as the brisket. On our next visit, Jane settled for the BBQ Brisket Sandwich, which she declared her favorite sandwich at Indigo Crow. Can’s argue with that. But I decided to try something else, as did Cheryl, our guest from Atlanta.
Chicken Poblano Sandwich
This sandwich, served with a small bowl of beef vegetable chowder, is a fine lunch. It is served on a delicious seven-grain bread. Slices of very tender chicken breast with lettuce and a bit of onion, this sandwich is now my second fave here. There was a thick slab of roasted poblano pepper that is unusual in the Land of Enchantment, where everyone seems to have a love affair with the New Mexico chile. I love these chiles, but it is a welcome change to have a properly prepared poblano every now and then. Lovely taste.
The soup was creamy, laden with vegetables, and contained many chunks of very tender beef, As close to homemade as you can get. If you order a sandwich, be sure to get the soup as your side. Any soup. They are all fabulous. On another visit, I had the same delicious sandwich, but this time it was accompanied by a serving of Green Chile Chicken Soup. Had this soup been entered in the Roadrunner Foodbank’s Souper Bowl, it most likely would have taken first place from the critics. Best that I have had. We took home two additional servings ot this magical potion.
Green Chile Cheeseburger
You won’t find a simple GCCB on the lunch menu — There is a Hobo Burger loaded with the kitchen sink, including Portabello. I am a GCCB purist, and while the Hobo is surely excellent, it would be difficult to compare this with all the other GCCBs for my GCCB Hall of Fame list.
I have twice special ordered the GCCB competition style (meat, cheese, green chile all on a lightly toasted bun with no other trimmings or silly things like mayo, catsup, or mustard). Both times the kitchen built one perfectly, exactly to my order. Medium rare with extra napkins to mop the juice from my cheeks.
Phenomenal. The meat is hand-cut, hand-ground, hand-formed and lovingly cooked Black Angus. Tender, juicy, and among the best tasting burgers that I have had anywhere. The green is Hatch, natch, and is about 7 / 10 on my piquancy scale, and it has that required smoky flavor. Order it with curly fries and onion rings, both of which are beautifully done. Very tasty with no hint of grease. Get a little dish of the excellent Red Chile Aioli for dipping. Real Nuevo Mejicanos have no use for catsup or the like, deeming such condiments tools of the devil.
This GCCB has rocketed its way to #6 on my GCCB Hall of Fame. It’s that good.
Two more winners
Chipotle Turkey Wrap with Curly Fries and Roast Beef and Gorgonzola Sandwich with Green Chile Chicken Soup.
Each of these sandwiches was excellent. Seemingly simple, the tastes were complex. You just can’t go wrong with any sandwich here for an inexpensive lunch.
I remembered the bread pudding, and decided to break my diet’s rule about having no desserts for lunch. I just had to see if my addition of this bread pudding to my Hall of Fame many years ago is still warranted. This bread pudding is every bit as fine as I remembered, and is still number five (competition is tough) on my list. It still is. Curiously, there are now twl Corrales bread puddings on this list in adjacent positions (the other is at Oasis Desert Bustro created bo Paul Norman). And I can walk to both places. Such an embarrassment of riches for we Corraleños.
Lunch entrées are mostly around a sawbuck, give or take. I very good value. Somewhat cheaper than Flying Fish down the road. No wonder it’s crowded at lunch. There are lots more fantastic dishes here. This is the place that I take my most discriminating house guests. They all rave about the total dining experience. You need to make Corrales and the Indigo Crow a regular destination. Email me before you come, and I may just join you. It’s just a short walk from my house.
Indigo Crow Cafe
4515 Corrales Rd
Corrales, NM 87048