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The Cube: Comfort me with 'cue
Friday, 14 May 2010
Photo by Wes Naman
The Cube serves up square meals and sides of mouth-watering comfort food

By Neal Anderson
If your tummy is rumbling in a big way for some delicious barbecue, a dressed-up hot dog or some beyond comforting “comfort food,” then The Cube on Central should be at the top of your dining to-do list.

The Cube, in short, is a great place for families. It’s a barbecue joint for sure, but it’s got more sophisticated, grownup elements like a bright, modern color scheme, cool art on the walls, upscale tableware and a nice selection ofdomestic and imported beer and wine.

And forparents of wiggling kids, it’s got some banquette seating along the walls that will keep ’em comfy. And the simple laminate tables and concrete floor won’t make you nervous about ruining any precious decor or making too much noise in a decidedly casual environment.

Of course, it’s the amazing food at The Cube that should please diners of all ages. I know my family was happy to be guinea pigs for the evening.

Patrons order from the front counter and the menu — both on paper and on a board above the counter — offers a lot of choices. Not only can you order hot dogs, barbecue entrees and sandwiches, but The Cube also serves sirloin steak burgers with deluxe toppings, salads and soups, sides such as cole slaw and mashed sweet potatoes, appetizers and a tempting array of desserts.

For my kids, it was barbecue, chicken wings and hot dogs. For my wife, a healthful Caprese Salad. My mouth was watering for some non-store-bought macaroni and cheese. The great thing? We could satisfy all of our wishes and share the yummy variety.

Photo by Wes Naman
Our friendly and helpful server manned the counter and the tables, and delivered our drinks soon after we placed our order, explaining that our dishes would come out in no particular order. It’s not standard restaurant procedure perhaps, but I appreciated the departure from assembly-line dining.

We dug into our 10-piece order of chicken wings ($6.40) that were half spicy and half standard Buffalo-style along with a side of blue cheese dressing. The hot wings were spicy without melting our tongues, and the Buffalo wings had a nice, subtle flavor.

The Caprese Salad ($6.99) was recommended by the server, and was met with universal approval, at least from the grownups’ perspective. Thick slabs of fresh mozzarella slices alternated with tomato slices, and fresh basil, peppery capers and nontraditional but luscious avocado rounded out the salad ingredients. All in all, it is a delicious salad that would ease the guilt of a carnivore who might be treating a vegetarian to dinner.

Next up at our table: the 5-Cheese Mac & Cheese ($3.99). I had been longing for the type of macaroni and cheese my mom used to make. And with all apologies to the many mac and cheese making moms out there, The Cube’s mac-and-cheese outdoes what many of us have held so dear in our memories. The rich combination of what’s described as, “a cheese delight” (more specifically Gruyère, Parmigiano-Reggiano, provolone, mozzarella and sharp cheddar) will truly hook you with its earthy, rich flavors. Our young macaroni connoisseurs loved it, too.

Photo by Wes Naman
The couple who opened The Cube last summer wanted to bring a taste of Memphis-style barbecue to Albuquerque. Memphis ‘cue favors pork and dry rub seasonings, and the meats are then smoked. You can choose from ribs, brisket, pulled pork, sausage and chicken here. The restaurant serves, “fresh, never frozen meat,” and the half rack of “wet” Baby Back Ribs ($9.95) didn’t disappoint. Even though my son had ordered it, we all took turns carving up and taking our share of the delectable pork. At The Cube, you can order your barbecue naked (no seasoning), dry (seasoned) or wet (seasoned with sauce), and the homemade sauces come in original, hot or sweet flavors.

The Chili Cheese Dog specialty combo ($5.99) was another sure-fire winner. The Cube imports its dogs from New York City, and from my very first bite I could tell it was made from high-quality beef. The generous serving of meaty chili made it a bit of a mess, but it’s nothing a fork and a willing mouth can’t handle. If chili dogs aren’t your thing, you can choose from about nine other dog varieties, including a Guadalajara Dog (wrapped in bacon, topped with chipotle sour cream and pico de gallo) and a 505 Dog (wrapped in bacon, topped with green chile and avocado). You can order them on their own or in a combo with fries and a soda.

Speaking of French fries, a heap of them came with my teenage daughter’s hot dog combo, and we all relished the small hill of thickly cut, well-seasoned and, best of all, fresh potatoes, as well as the petite side of gherkin pickles.

If you’ve got a sweet tooth, you’ll be happy to know The Cube maintains its high standards with dessert items like New York Cheesecake ($4.50), Chocolate Mousse ($4.99) and Sweet Potato Pie ($4.25).

The kids decided on the Chocolate Mudslide Cookie ($3.50) as our sweet finale. We saved it for a special treat at home, later that night. But fear not, we’ll return to The Cube to create new food memories very soon.
The Cube
1520 Central SE, 505.243.0023
Hours: 11a-10p, Tue.-Sat.; 11a-8p, Sun.
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