I’ve long dreamt of the day when my lovely Southwest home would join the metropolitan big boys with late-night delivery of Asian food. And that day has come.
BY ARIANE JAROCKI
If there’s one thing Albuquerque’s dining scene has been missing, it’s late-night delivery options.
Sure, there’s pizza and a smattering of corporate sandwiches, but I can only eat so much of that before my taste buds rebel. I’ve long dreamt of the day when my lovely Southwest home would join the metropolitan big boys with late-night delivery of Asian food. And that day has come.
Late Night offers the delivery of fine Asian food. Moonlighting at The Shop (2933 Monte Vista NE), you can dine in at Late Night or have savory fare delivered. When I inquired, I was told the delivery area is “far.”
Before heading Downtown, a friend and I visited Late Night for supper. It’s a bit surreal to enter The Shop after dark, but crossing the threshold felt inviting, and inside, music was jamming. The atmosphere is casual and fun, and we danced in our seats until our food arrived.
The menu is straightforward Asian Fusion—and real fusion, at that. Asking for recommendations, I was assured that everything on the menu was awesome. My research isn’t complete, but I’ve made a thorough start. So far, that bold assertion has proved true.
The menu is separated into small and large plates. But the small plates we ordered were all hearty portions. We split three small plates between two of us, and I emerged thoroughly sated. We started with the Asian Nachos. Late Night touts the “handmade from scratch” tagline, so my expectations were high. And I was impressed.
These nachos are perfectly crisp wonton chips topped with pork belly, pickled onions, jalapeños, cilantro and a spicy mayo. Toppings were painstakingly, evenly spread out, leaving no chip naked. The pork’s bugolgi sweet and spicy flavor balanced perfectly with the onions’ vinegar and creamy mayo.
Our second, small plate was Kimchi Hot Balls. I went in blind, with absolutely no clue what a “hot ball” was. I gambled, praying that something crazy like bull testes wrapped in spicy cabbage wouldn’t arrive. I can now assure our readers that these deep-fried, rolled spheres of cheesy kimchi risotto are divine.
The risotto’s texture—superbly crisp outside with thoroughly gooey insides—is completed by toppings of spicy mayo, sesame seeds, smoked fish flakes and the like. I immediately wanted to order more. Limited as I am by the laws of physics, I knew I needed to save room for the entrée that caused me to seek out Late Night, the pièce de résistance: the Egg Foo Yung Burger.
The Egg Foo Yung Burger is a fusion concept that could go horribly wrong, but Late Night gets it just right. This is what Asian fusion dreams are made of. The burger’s handmade patties are cradled by a homemade, sesame-sprinkled bun. Stacked atop the all-beef patty is an egg foo yung patty, a mixture of scrambled eggs and diced veggies.
A traditional brown sauce swirled with ketchup smothers the whole shebang, and fried onions gambol in the sauce. Both patties are incredibly juicy, and the homemade buns are hardy enough to hold up to all that sauce and ketchup. Late Night has sriracha on hand for spice seekers, but the flavors here really don’t need assistance.
As I write this, I’m anticipating Tuesday night, when Late Night reopens. Maybe being distracted by memories after just one visit is the ultimate good review.
Resident foodie Ariane Jarocki fearlessly reports on Albuquerque’s restaurant, food truck and bakery scenes for ABQ Free Press.