Film/Television Editor Devin D. O'Leary served as film/television editor at Weekly Alibi for 28 years. He wrote and produced four feature films here in New Mexico and has been the booker/host of Midnight Movie Madness screenings at Guild Cinema for 13 years.


American food is known around the world as comfort cuisine. Utilizing ingredients and recipes snatched from countless other countries, the amalgam known as “American Cuisine” is instantly recognizable for its simple combinations of crave-worthy tastes (sweet, salty, fatty) and its convenient, handheld delivery methods. (Seriously, name an American food you don’t eat with your fingers.) Though they may have started life in different parts of the world, dishes like “Hamburg” steaks and “French” fries are now inarguably American.

Best Appetizers

It’s a bit funny that a Thai restaurant snapped up this category in “Best American Cuisine,” but that’s how we do things in this country. Wanna have a meal before your meal? Head straight to Thai Vegan and order up some edamame, Freshy Rolls, chicken satay, Golden Tofu, crispy chicken, red chile dumplings or … Hey! they have French fries on the menu!

5505 Osuna Rd. NE

1.) Thai Vegan

2.) Scalo and Vinaigrette (Tied)

Best Sandwiches

Americans don’t agree on a lot these days. But they do agree that sandwiches are delicious. Throw something between two slices of bread, and we’ll eat it. The finest sandwiches in Albuquerque this year belong to The Grove. This sunny artisan cafe in EDo tempts diners with everything from a traditional croque madame to a fresh buratta & basil to a classic Italian filled with genoa salami, la quercia coppa, la quercia prosciutto and provolone.

600 Central Ave SE Suite A

1.) The Grove Cafe & Market

2.) Flying Star and Slow Roasted Bocadillos (tied)

3.) Relish

Best Wings

If there’s one thing Frank’s Famous Chicken & Waffles is famous for, it’s their chicken wings. (If there are two things, it’s their chicken wings and waffles.) Insanely crispy and tasty, these perfect fried chicken wings are particularly delicious dipped in a bit of the maple syrup dripping off those waffles you should really be ordering as an accompaniment.

400 Washington St SE

1.) Frank’s Famous Chicken & Waffles

2.) Steel Bender

3.) Gecko’s

Best Steakhouse

Monte Carlo is as old-school Albuquerque as you can get. This no-frills, ’70s-style Greek steakhouse serves up Greek salads, char-broiled porterhouse steaks, surf ‘n’ turf, green chile cheeseburgers and prime rib (Thursday, Friday and Saturday after 5pm only!) with little fanfare and a neighborhood dive vibe. Baked potato or fries are about your only option. (Rice pilaf after 4pm.) And that’s the way we like it.

3916 Central Ave SW

1.) Monte Carlo Steak House

2.) Vernon’s

3.) El Patron

Best BBQ

Unapologetically Texas-style barbecue, Rudy’s “Country Store” gets a lot of mileage out of its down home atmosphere (all rough pine boards and beer-filled watering troughs). But damn if that brisket, pork loin and baby back rib ain’t legit delicious. Throw in a corn on the cob and some banana pudding, and you’re good to go. And don’t forget a healthy pour of their famous Bar-B-Q “sause.”

3916 Central Ave SW

1.) Rudy’s Country Store and Bar-B-Q

2.) Mr. Powdrell’s Barbecue

3.) Nexus Blue Smokehouse

Best Vegan/Vegetarian

In the market for some globally influenced Ayurvedic vegetarian/vegan dishes? Annapurna has been Albuquerque’s healthy eating juggernaut for years. Samosas with plum sauce? Yes, please. House-made oat chai and cardamom cookies? Of course. Kitchari? I don’t even know what that is. But it looks delicious, and I’ll take it.

2201 Silver Ave SE

1.) Annapurna’s World Vegetarian Café

2.) Thai Vegan

3.) The Acre