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“Loved, loved, loved it.”
Review of Paul's Monterey Inn - CLOSED

Paul's Monterey Inn
Price range: $0 - $80
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Restaurant details
Good for: Bar scene, Business meetings, Special occasions, Romantic
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Late Night, Reservations
Reviewed February 5, 2014

Come for the retro swank, return again and again for the truly good food at a great price. I have to preface this review by saying that I really, really know steakhouses, having worked in restaurant development for years. Paul's is not a Morton's or Capitol Grill, but then again, it's about a third of the price. And what do you get for your money: A REALLY NICE steak, and not only that. The vinaigrette is world-class, the soup is nice, the garlic mashed potatoes are better than 99% of the ones I've been served. The bread is good, too. And the drinks are reasonably priced. The whole place is a bargain. Get the 25 oz. porterhouse. It's not as thick as what you'd get at, say, Manny's in Minneapolis or Wolfgang's in NYC, but it's just as tender and delicious, at half the price. And then there's the decor, which is authentically swanky, with tufted leather horseshoe-shaped booths, chairs on casters, a cool lounge, etc. And the service is extremely friendly and solicitous. Don't expect perfection here. Don't think you're going to get Peter Lugar. What you can expect is a supremely satisfying supper club steakhouse experience. The only thing I don't get about this place is why Breaking Bad never had a scene with Saul having a secret meeting here.

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2  Thank Agiocambos
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviews (87)
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13 - 17 of 87 reviews

Reviewed January 31, 2014

This town is in need of good, high end restaurants. No, not chains....but then again I'm not sure people here would appreciate it or pay for it.

I wanted a good prime rib and a friend said this is the place. The hostess said. " Only one, well we are really busy tonight"...okay, I'm by myself and they sit me next to the kitchen door...the door bangs every other minute. My waitress, while nice and pleasant is not quite on top of it. Next thing I know the table next to me (very close) has their waitress spill their steak and while she attended the guest at the table didn't notice I also was splashed with steak juice. My salad was okay, it could have used more lettuce. Next thing I know the waitress drops a tray at my table while chiming out of the kitchen...again, no one asked about me being splattered with dressing. I ordered a prime rib, large portion and it ended up being a very small amount of meat and mostly fat. The little tiny cups they bring with horseradish condiment was really funny. Seriously? The silverware was thin, bent, and hard to eat with. I haven't even talked about the 70's decor....point is, people in ABQ seem to love this place...this is all they know.

1  Thank KPars
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 8, 2014

Went to Paul's during the Holiday. We experienced the rudest and slowest server ever. When we sat in the bar at a booth, she walked by and rudely said "Might be with you in about 20 minutes." She was correct. When we finally got our drinks, they were totally wrong. A martini with olives arrived with a lemon twist. We sent it back for correction and the waitress simply took the lemon peel out of the drink and added olives. The taste of lemon was very strong and the olives were thrown in the glass without a toothpick.. Although we arrived for dinner at 7:15 pm, we were told they were already out of prime rib. Paul's used to have a nice wine list, but not now. The best white you can purchase by the glass is Kendell Jackson and they feature Menage a trois as their best red. These wines, if purchased at your grocery or liquor store cost $12 and $9 respectfully. They are over-priced at approx $10-$12 and are served in cheap wine glasses that hold 4 oz of liquid. The salads are retro, containing lettuce, onion, a thin unripened slice of tomato and 4 or 5 croutons. The dressing, at best, is the quality of bottled off a grocery store shelf. .The bread is not baked on the premises and was micro-waved too long as it was very tough and chewy. We ordered tenderloin medallions and salmon for our entrees. The medallions had a slight liver taste but were tender. The salmon is frozen and had a strong fishy taste. The only thing that was acceptable was the shrimp cocktail as our appetizer, but it was way over-priced. I WOULD NOT RECOMMEND PAUL'S. THERE ARE MANY BETTER QUALITY RESTAURANTS AVAILABLE IN THE SAME PRICE RANGE, BUT THE FOOD IS DELICIOUS AND THE SERVICE IS WONDERFUL.... SAVOY, ZINC, SEASON'S....EVEN OUTBACK STEAKHOUSE RANKS ABOVE PAUL'S. By the way, if you talk with the manager, she is defensive and unapproachable.

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4  Thank Joanie F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 27, 2013

I used to attend family dinners at this Albuquerque icon many years ago. I remember the dark ambiance with bright crisp table lines, the waiters with their white crisp aprons, and delicious food served with elegance and grace. That truly is a memory of long ago as Paul's is no longer that wonderful upscale fine dining restaurant. Although it still has the old school ambiance, it is looking a bit worn and old; restrooms where not up to par. The evening was supposed to be a romantic date night. We decided to sit in the lounge with the fireplace. The booths were old torn and sagged in various places. The wait person was friendly but not the reserved professional we were expecting. We were informed that the restaurant was out of prime rib and rib eye steaks---both items are the signature producst of the restaurant. It was 7:30 on a saturday night and the wait person proceeded to make excuses to each party that entered --and there were quite a few---ending with a suggestion for the diners to contact the owner giving his name. The bar was also out of many of the premium liquors giving way for more excuses. The food we were able to order was good in flavor and tenderness--tornadoes of beef. The side of garlic mashed potatoes was very tasty in flavor but cold. Unfortunately Paul's has lost its finesse! This establishment used to be a high contender in ABQ fine dinning with the old school twist. It is now over priced, run down, poorly managed, with mediocre food. The newer fresher places leave this establishment in 1985.

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3  Thank Deidre H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 24, 2013

TL;DR - Great service, but lack of seasoning all but ruins decently prepared meat. Avoid garlic mashers. Be ready for a major price surprise if you read the menu here on Trip Advisor.

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First and foremost. The service we received was excellent. Very good wait staff. This rating is in no way knocking the people. It's the food.

Second most important, this restaurant DESPERATELY needs to update the menu items located in the TripAdvisor menu link for the place. The prices on the actual menu are quite literally 2-3x higher than what shows on this site. We were lured by the appearance of great prices and suffered sticker shock after we sat down.

For the meal:

Wife had small cut of prime rib, medium rare, with garlic mashed potatoes and a side salad.

I ordered a steak sandwich, medium rare, with fries and side salad.

Side salads were primarily iceberg lettuce with a couple pieces of vegetable/olive on there. She had ranch dressing, run of the mill, cant screw up type. I had a balsamic vinaigrette. On the oily side, potentially a broken emulsion (assuming it was other than a drizzle of oil and vinegar). Very lightly flavored.

Prime rib... generally tough. Proper temperature at least. No seasoning on the exterior to speak of. Actual meat lacked depth of flavor and relied on a passable-but-not-great au jus to carry a savory oomph on the tongue. It just seemed the meat itself wasn't particularly seasoned is all. Very lean cut as well... would like something with more marbling. Lack of fattiness probably contributed to aforementioned lack of mouth feel. Wife ate 2/3ds probably, I finished it.

Garlic mashed potatoes... very potent, almost raw-tasting garlic. Literally tingled the tongue on the aftertaste, with an almost burning sensation. Quite potent to the nose for sure. We've had plenty of garlic mashers before, and this was the opposite of a subtle, roasty garlic flavor. This was an unwelcome punch, the kind you need some strong gum from after and a good teeth brushing when you get home. I like garlic, but either this was added raw, was starting to sprout, or both. Did not finish half of the portion between the two of us. Daughter turned her nose to it as well, and she adores mashers.

Steak of steak sandwich. It appeared to be a thinner strip steak given the fat line on the side. Nice grill marks. Nicely temped, evenly cooked. Just like the prime rib though, just no proper seasoning. The meat wasn't standing on its own at all. Again, a relatively lean cut with little marbling readily apparent. About half of the bread underneath was a excessively charred, made it too bitter to finish. Onion ring on top was crisp, albeit nothing fancy. Fries on the side were standard steak fries with zero seasoning. Nicely cooked, and I dislike fries with excessive salt, but these had nothing at all... a sprinkle of salt and herbs would have been more than enough for me.

In all... it's edible, but for the prices compared to the quality of food, there's no way we can justify returning.

Please note, we didn't mind the decor at all. We've been in plenty of Nebraska steakhouses that feel all but identical to this. We weren't EXPECTING that decor, but we didn't necessarily mind it. The upholstery/cushioning could use a little refreshing though for support.

I would afford this 2.5 stars if I could because I feel 2 is harsh, but I can't give an "average" rating to this when the food is so lackluster. And I will reiterate, the people were great.

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1  Thank DairyCreamer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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