Scrumptious Food and Brews on the Wesrside
Third visit: April 17, 2014
First visit: February 19, 2014
My Thursday night Culinary Gastronome Team stumbled into the Stumbling Steer on a recent outing.
This place is the brainchild of General Manager Sonny Jensen, a San Diego transplant. Sonny likes beer and gastropup food. He likes people, and can usually be seen working the room. He recognized me on my second visit.
The Stumbling Steer brings a fresh approach to Albuquerque in terms of great beer and delicious food. As a gastropub, The Stumbling Steer’s mission is to provide a place where anybody can come and enjoy our expertly-crafted beers with a full menu that, well—pretty much tastes awesome with their beer.
The magician in our kitchen is Chef Thanawat Bates. Chef T, as he’s commonly known, was the Executive Chef at the Brown Palace in Denver (where he received a James Beard Nomination) and The Ritz-Carlton in Washington D.C. In other words, the guy knows what he’s doing! Although Chef T has made a name for himself in fine-dining, he has always wanted to reinvent pub food. He says, “There is no reason why bar food should be so boring and predictable. It can be fun, exciting, taste great and still be priced the same.”
Well, it is exciting and excellent.
Before getting to the delicious details, I need to offer kudos to the excellent waitstaff. Knowledgeable and enthusiastic.
Crispy Brussels Sprouts
Crisp fried sprouts, garlic, peanuts, tamarind, and bird peppers (the chef, Chef T, is Vietnamese). Wimps can opt out of the incendiary peppers, but I think this would be a serious mistake. The blend of all the elements masks the searing heat (50,000 – 100,000 Scovill units).
If I told you Brussels Sprouts haters out there that this is a fantastic appetizer, you might think me daft, and you would be wrong. Chef T will change that for you.
This dish as made its way to a spot on my coveted Best Dishes of 2014 List. It’s just that good. Amazing.
The Steer Burger
Half-pound Angus patty, turkey pastrami, mushrooms, onion compote, and Gruyere cheese on an excellent challah bun.
When I am in the mood for a burger, I almost always opt for a competition-style GCCB. Had I done that here, I would have missed out on one of the most delicious burgers I have ever had. Perfectly cooked medium rare, the juices ran down my cheeks. Don’t miss this tasty gem.
Braised Pork Belly, Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato, Bacon Mayo, Tomato Jam on a Ciabbatta Bun.
This is a modern update to the classic BLT. The addition of the braised pork belly is a stroke of genius, and transforms the sandwich into an excellent new creation. Great taste, this has quickly become one of my favorites at The Steer.
What’s for Dinner
Korean-Style Baby Back Rib
Full rack braised in IPA and grilled in Dragon Sauce with potato salad and kimcgi.
This was Ruthie’s choice, but she ad the Dragon Sauce on the side anticipating that it would be too hot for her. These are among the very best ribs in town. The spicing of the dry rub is phenomenal. Were I to order these ribs, this is how I would get them.
Steak and Fries
8-oz. culotte top sirloin, onion hay, scallion sauce, and pickled watermelon.
The Bartman often goes for steak, and he exclaimed that this is among the very best he has ever had. Thick and perfectly cooked to his specifications, it looked like a masterpiece on its cutting board. The fries are among the best you will get anywhere.
Braised Pork Belly
Ginger beer-braised with a creamy potato salad.
Pork belly is back in again, and I’m sure glad about that. This is a truly outstanding dish, and it is beautifully plated. I asked Sonny if Chef T. did the plating, and he replied that T. was in Augusta that weekend, having been invited to be the executive chef for the masters Golf Tournament. Nice gig.
This is one heckuva fine treatment of pork belly. Not fatty, not greasy, bur perfectly cooked. The ginger is mindbending. I am a pork belly freak, and this is one of two absolutely stunning pork belly dishes in The Duke City (the other is at Budai Gourmet Chinese, Dong Bo Pork). Stumbling Steer’s pork belly has made its way to a spot on my coveted Best Dishes of 2014 List.
The Stumbling Steer’s brewmaster is Kirk Roberts. Kirk has more than 15 years of experience brewing beer in Southern California. He’s won 8 medals worldwide for his beers including a Gold Medal at last year’s Great American Beer Festival for his Scotch Ale. He plans to brew his famous IPA, Double IPA, Pale Ale, Imperial Stout, Red Ale, Blond Ale, Scotch Ale and some very exciting seasonals. You’ll be able to stop by and watch Kirk do his thing as our entire brewing system will be on display…you can even tap the glass and make him feel like an animal at the zoo exhibit.
I am especially fond of the Red and the Nut Brown. Anxiously awaiting the appearance of a Scottish.
Please note that The Steer is open late after most of the Westside has gone to bed.