Traversing the Duke City in search of mouth watering green chile based New Mexican entrees can be a hassle. It seems every block has a neon sign claiming the most authentic and best tasting New Mexican food in Albuquerque, but they don’t all add up to a hill of chile con carne.
The two main dishes every self-respecting restaurant in the city that claims to have the best New Mexican food must incorporate are green chile cheeseburgers and red, green or Christmas smothered burritos.
Best Green Chile Cheeseburgers
Inevitably, when you come to the Duke City, you’ll come across a new breed of burger you may not be familiar with. Do not shy away from this scary sounding beast of a cheeseburger. Every place that sells burgers will have a green chile cheeseburger. But not all green chile cheeseburgers are equal. Two places stand out in my mind.
Monroe’s: Just a few blocks from where I live, I’m conflicted as to my favorite part of this restaurant: the food or their marquee. Skipping passed their pithy marquee advertizing and into the tasty part, their green chile cheeseburgers are heaven between two buns.
Decent, if not cheap, prices on all their foods, their green chile cheeseburgers are reasonably priced and will knock your snakeskin boots right off your feet. The only negative is that they are a little small. Enjoy a beer or two and you will still walk home a happy and fully cowboy.
5 Star Burger: With two locations and a third set to open in Denver, CO, this restaurant is home to a green chile cheeseburger juggernaut!
Be prepared to wonder how in the world you’re going to eat this messy, ugly looking, lopsided monster. But also be prepared to be wowed. There are two types of green chile cheeseburgers here. One (the Green Chile Cheeseburger) is slathered with green chile, pepperjack cheese and green chile mayo. The other is the Taos Burger. The Taos Burger has cheddar cheese, BBQ sauce and a huge fried and crispy green chile that is twice the size of the burger in most cases.
The only negative with 5 Star is the cost. Its $8.50 for either of these two burgers which does not include the fries or salad. Add a couple bucks for fries, or a buck for additional toppings, a beer, and you’ve just racked up a hefty dinner bill.
I know there are dozens of different New Mexican dishes, but frankly, a well smothered football sized burrito is the McRib of New Mexican delicacy. Few will admit it but all enjoy it.
Sadie’s: Now with two locations in the outer Albuquerque metro area, Sadie’s has been a staple of the Duke City for decades and is justifiably proud of this feat.
Sadie’s has a huge selection of Mexican and New Mexican dishes. Their carne adovada burrito smothered in red, green or Christmas chile is big enough to feed the hungriest football player with little stomach room left over for their warm sopaipillas (For non-New Mexican’s, Christmas chile is red and green both smothered together).
However, with great food comes great consequences. First is price. Sadie’s won’t break the bank, but when I think of smothered burritos, I am not expecting to pay upwards of $14 for it. Secondarily, the wait. Sadie’s is always busy on the weekends. If you eat at a normal dinner time, expect to wait for an hour or more. But they give you free chips and salsa during your wait.
Hurricane’s: In no other way should Hurricane’s and Sadie’s be placed in the same boat. Hurricane’s is a 50’s styled drive-in and diner with homemade green chile and burritos just like I like them, loaded and cheap.
The food and service is what you would expect in such a place, down to earth and fun.
Their Hurricane Disaster Burrito is the breakfast equivalent of a garbage plate from Frank’s Diner. Basically, its everything you want and more wrapped in a tortilla the size of a placemat and smothered with everything else. It comes in 4 sizes, but a half order is more than sufficient for any normal stomach.
The price? You can indulge yourself to the point of being wheeled out in a stretcher for less than $10. I usually eat a full sized breakfast burrito for about $5. The only negative I really have about Hurricane’s is that none of their breakfast burritos seem to have enough egg for my taste.
No matter what your taste buds are begging for, if it includes New Mexico’s famous green chile, these restaurants will not disappoint. Of course there are others that are almost as tasty and should not be avoided, but these are the restaurants I frequent for good reason.