Previews of Coming Attractions

As I get older and wiser, I find that my eyesight is slowly deteriorating. It is getting more trying to write as many reviews as often as has been my habit. From now on, I will be very selective about what I post here. Here is my plan:

All restaurant reviewed here must be

  • Outstanding — among the very best that New Mexico has to offer, or
  • Unique — in a class all by itself.

I won’t write a review until I have been there at least four times. As always, I welcome your suggestions. Here is what is in the queue right now.

Except for some special events such as Wine Pairing Diners. Like this one at Blade’s.


Shrimp and Grits

Shrimp and Grits

The Point Grill

The Point Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

 

Death by Lemon for The Dazzler

Death by Lemon for The Dazzler

Savoy Bar and Grill

Savoy Bar and Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

 

John's Spicy (!) Burger

John’s Spicy (!) Burger

The Safari Grill

 

The Safari Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

 

Catfish

Catfish

Bucket Headz Southern Home Cooking

Bucket Headz Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Fun Stuff, Gossip, Information, Restaurant Posts | Leave a comment

M’Tucci’s Italian

One of the best Italian restaurants in New Mexico

Panorama

Twelfth Visit: April 30, 2016 
First Visit: February 19, 2015 


There are many Italian restaurants in The Duke City, but few can touch M’Tucci’s  Italian for brilliance. This is the flagship of the M’Tucci’s empire, which consists of an Italian Market and Dali (I’ve eaten there 46 times so far), a Cocina/Grill at the NHCC, and a catering business.

This is not a red-sauce-pasta house, and it is not a Northern Italian (Piedmont) place. It is a modern American Italian place, and as such, it excels at presenting the unusual but amazing dishes you won’t find anywhere else. The owners, Katie Gardner and Jeff Spiegel  (he’s the one in the Hawaiian shirt), and the highly talented chef and GM, John Haas, have created an institution that is unique.  And I love it. It has earned a place on my coveted Top Ten List.

Brunch and Lunch

Sunday brunch is not to be missed. Most restaurants servr Eggs Benedict, but none like this.

eggs Benedict eggplant

eggs Benedict eggplant

Eggs Benedict 

This excellent verso of Eggs Benedict does not sit on an English muffin. Rather, it sits on a lightly breaded slice of eggplant that has been gently fried to a tender crispiness while the interior is soft and runny like melted cheese. The egg yolks are perfectly runny. Good home fries with gently caramelized onions complete this dish.

This dish appears on my Best Dishes of 2016 List.

Tuna Tacos

Tuna Tacos

Blackened Tuna Tacos

My friend Jack Reynolds had these and was quite pleased. The side salad was nicely dressed with a tasty vinaigrette.

Pork Belly Tacos

Pork Belly Tacos

Pork Belly Tacos

Crispy Duroc Pork Belly, Roasted Tomato Vinaigrette, Green Apple, Pickled Red Onion, Local Feta

I am a pork belly freak. These were among the best I have ever had. Lovely blend of ingredients. I want these again.

Dinners and Extras

Here is where John Haas really shines. Listen carefully as your server rates the daily specials. I rarely order from the menu. The specials are amazing.

Espresso Martini

Espresso Martini

Chocolate Martini

Chocolate Martini

The wine list has most anything you might want. The bartender creates very fine (and sometimes unusual) drinks. Try the Chocolate Martini and the Espresso Martini. Ask your server about the Shrubs. These sweet martinis are fabulous. Google the recipes.

Both surprised me, and I will continue to order them from time to time. I an a Bombay Sapphire extra dry with a twist guy.

Pappardelle and Salciccia

Pappardelle and Salsiccia

salsiccia

Pappardelle con Salsiccia  

Pappardelle, house-made sausage, kale, and a white wine-chicken stock sauce, and lemon zest.

This great dish is no longer on the menu, bi John will make it for me anytime.

The sausage is available at M’Tucci’s Market and Deli. I make this at home for guests visiting Casa de la Vieja Escuela Mariscos. Chicken stock, white wine, and lemon zest (adds brightness).

Grilled Salmon

Grilled Salmon

Grilled Salmon 

Wild Salmon, Grilled Asparagus, and Creamy Grilled Polenta

Perfectly grilled salmon with tender asparagus and a cake of grilled polenta. The polenta is slightly crispy on the outside, and the inside is soft and creamy. Never dry.

This dish has become a favorite of several of my gastronome friends. Rightfully so.

Hanger Steak

Hanger Steak

Hanger Steak

Herb Marinated, Grilled Asparagus, Mashed Potatoes, Balsamic Reduction, Grilled Lemon

Perfectly grilled medium rare. Tasty and tender. The asparagus is always amazing here. Tender and never stringy. This also is a favorite of several of my friends, including Dazzling Deanell’s brother Darren.

Risotto

Risotto

RISOTTO CARNAROLI DE PESCE  with  

This is a beautifully prepared risotto. The fresh mussels are tender, juicy, and tasty. The texture of the rice could no be better. This dish kept my friend Pam from talking (nearly impossible). She finally came up for air when the dish ws nearly gone.  It’s that good.

Pork Shank

Pork Shank

Pork Shank 

Braised pork shank in a creamy sauce with sauteed greens

Whenever I can, I order Lamb Shanks in Italian and Greek restaurants. This was my first try at pork shanks. Delicious. Perfect appearance, taste, and texture. Slow cooked to the almost-falling-off-the-bone doneness, they are a big hit with me.

I had this dish two times in a row. Not on the current menu (they were a special), ask for them in advance. Get lucky.

Desserts and Fun Stuff

Chocolate Mousse 

Linda's Birthday

Linda’s Birthday Mousse
The sparklers are free

 

 

Fried Twinkie

Birthday Twinkie

Darren’s Birthday Fried Twinkie
Sounds disgusting, but it’s not.
At least, that’s what Darren says

 

M'Tucci's Panorama

What others are saying

Gil GarduñoNew Mexico’s Sesquipedalian Sybarite

Jeff Spiegel & Katie Gardner

Jeff Spiegel & Katie Gardner
Owners and Operators

“Katie Gardner and her husband Jeff Spiegel moved to Albuquerque, his hometown, in 2007. Eventually they started to miss the hustle and bustle of the restaurant business and launched M’Tucci’s Kitchina in July, 2013. The “M’Tucci” in the restaurant’s name is in honor of Richard Matteucci, a friend of Jeff’s. A framed black-and-white photo of Jeff, Richard and an unidentified frolicker celebrating a (very) good time hangs among the bric-a-brac. You’ve got to love an owner who shares in his fun.

John Haas

John Haas Chief Magician

“The visionary behind the menu is John Hass, executive chef and member of the restaurant’s ownership triumvirate. John’s interpretation of traditional foods often involves their deconstruction, refining and reinvention. You’ll still recognize the traditional dishes with which you’ve grown up, but they might not be exactly as you  John is already so highly regarded that he was named “best chef” runner up in the Alibi‘s Best of Burque Restaurants 2013.  Traditional items he prepares might not be exactly as you may remember them. They’ll be better! The ricotta stuffed cannelloni dish, for example includes both marinara sauce and New Mexico red chile which is why it’s sub-titled “Enchiladas Italianas” on the menu.”


M’Tucci’s Italian

Open Hours(505) 503-7327
Table reservation recommended

Paradise Hills
6001 Winter Haven Road
Albuquerque, NM 87120

gazeboMap

Website
Facebook
Dinner Menu

M'Tucci's Kitchina Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Italian, Larry's Top Ten | Leave a comment

Las Ristras Restaurant

Home-Cooked New Mexican Food in Corrales

Sign

First visit: August 25, 2015
Fifth visit: March  26, 2016 

The owner, Ginger Hunter, a native Corraleña, describes her place as:

Ginger, the charming owner

Ginger, the charming owner

“My name is Ginger. I’m from Corrales, born and raised. I don’t have any special secret recipes, this is the food I grew up with. Las Ristras is not a chain of restaurants. I have never owned a restaurant in my life, this is the first one. Everything is homemade, and is prepared the same way we do at home, only in a commercial setting. I have trained my staff to welcome everyone into the restaurant as if they were welcoming everyone into my home. I treat my staff and guests like friends and family, and try to make it a home like environment. Hopefully what makes a difference is that I care about people and making everyone as comfortable as possible , it makes me feel good to know that when someone comes by, they had a good experience, a good home-cooked meal, and want to keep coming back.” 

And I replied,

“Nicely said, Ginger.
What I like about Las Ristras is that it is not a clone of the many dozens of cookie-cutter NM restaurants. The food is homemade and I feel like I’m eating (and conversing) in Ginger’s kitchen. This is simple food lovingly p
repared.
It is not Mary and Tito’s nor should it be. But then, IMHO, nothing can compare to M&T. [BTW, Antoinette G Knight is also a native Corraleño.]
The Chiles Rellenos are a big hit with me. This place is good, and will, no doubt, surely become very good. I feel at home here, and that counts a lot with me.”

The ristras and other paintings on the walls were created by a long-time friend of Ginger’s, Chef Jon Young, a man of seemingly limitless talents.

OK. Is the food any good?

Would *I* come back here three (and counting) times were it not?

My favorites, so far. Both are excellent.

Sopaipillas

Sopaipillas
Not all sopas are created equal. These perfectly fried pillows of puffiness are the best I have had since Marlene’s closed years (and tears) ago. I have neeb waiting for them.

Chile Rellenos

Chile Rellenos
These are lightly crisped (never soggy), loaded with tasst cheese stuffing, and covered with some of the best green I have had in a long time. Delicious.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Best of the Rest

Chips and Salsa

Chips and Salsa
Excellent salsa. Loads of tomato chunks, and hotter than medium. Very fresh and tasty.

Carne Adovada Stuffed Sopaipilla

Carne Adovada Stuffed Sopaipilla
Smothered in a pretty good Rd. The carne is tender and delicious, delicately spiced. Beans and rice are real good. Home cooking like I make in my home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Combo Plate.

Combo Plate.
Chile Relleno, Tamale, and Enchilada. The Dazzling Deanell loved this.

Chili Lime Chicken

Chili Lime Chicken
Beautifully grilled chicken with a delicate chile-lime marinade. Delicious. Served with wild rice and veggies.

 

 

 

Chicken Burrito

Chicken Burrito

<b>Beef Enchilada with Egg</b>

Beef Enchilada with Egg

 

 

 

 

 

Tortilla Burger

Tortilla Burger

Fried Shrimp

Fried Shrimp

 

 

 

 

 

 

Try everything. It’s all very good. I expect to be back here often. Look for me.

Interior

Las Ristras Restaurant 

(505) 433-4192 
4940 Corrales Road,
Corrales, NM, 87048

Website
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HoursMenu

Las Ristras Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Breakfast/Brunch, New Mexican, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Phở #1

Phở #1 serves up my favorite Phở in ABQ

Pho #1 Panorama

Ninth visit: March 24, 2016 
First visit: June 27, 2008 

There are about 48 restaurants in Albuquerque that serve Vietnamese food. I love Phở. When I moved to New Mexico, I started a search for the  best Phở to be had here.

My Duke City Phở Quest Ends at Phở #1.

Every time I go to a Vietnamese restaurant, I resolve to try something besides Phở. It rarely works. This place has the best Phở I have had since I left Maryland. Almost as good as that at Phở Real in Silver Spring/Burtonsville MD.

I usually get a small Tai/Nam (beef) Phở wherever I go. The version here at Phở#1  is wonderfully spiced and scented (the aroma is critical), is not short on beef, and has ample noodles.

The Food

Spring Rolls

Spring Rolls

Start your meal with some Spring Rolls.

Thin delicate wrappers stuffed with bits of pork and shrimp. Dip in the Peanut Sauce (moderately piquant). The Dazzling  Deanell was, uh, dazzled. So was I, too. These are among the best and freshest Spring Rolls I have had.  Nearly perfect appearance, taste, and texture. A winner.

 

Lemongrass Chicken

Lemongrass Chicken

Lemongrass Chicken with Vegetables in a spicy brown Sauce

The Dazzler likes Phở plenty, but she really loves Lemongrass Chicken, and that’s what  she had. The aroma of lemongrass wafted up from the plate and she knew that she got the right stuff. The veggies (mushrooms, bamboo shoots, red bell peppers, tiny corn ears, and more)were masterfully done. The brown sauce needed a tad more piquancy (red pepper flakes or Bird Peppers?) Very delicious dish. I may even order it next time, if I ever tire of Phở (fat chance).

Phở Tai Man

Phở Tai Man

Here comes the Phở.

Phở or pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup consisting of broth, linguine-shaped rice noodles called bánh Phở, a few herbs, and meat, primarily served with either beef or chicken. Phở is a popular street food in Vietnam[4] and the specialty of a number of restaurant chains around the world. Southern Vietnamese eat it for breakfast and occasionally lunch, whereas those from northern Vietnam consume it at any time of day.

If you order tai, be sure to get it on a separate plate so that it will not be overcooked by the steaming hot broth.

 

Tai

Tai

Garnish

Garnish

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Phở

Great Phở

Salty Lemonade

Salty Lemonade

Get a glass of Salty Lemonade(Chanh muối) .

Somewhat of an acquired taste, this stuff has been on my radar for about twenty years.

Chanh muối is a salted, pickled lime in Vietnamese cuisine. Its name comes from the Vietnamese words chanh (meaning “lime” or “lemon”) and muối (meaning “salt”). To make the chanh muối, many limes (often key limes) are packed tightly in salt in a glass container and placed in the sun until they are pickled. During the process, juices are drawn off the limes, which dissolves the salt and produces a pickling liquid which immerses the finished chanh muối.

Look no further. Go to Phở #1. Eat. Enjoy.

What others are saying

Gil Garduño — New Mexico’s Sesquipedalian Sybarite

Stir-fried crispy egg noodle with beef and onion

Stir-fried crispy egg noodle with beef and onion

“Launched in 2004, Pho #1 may well be on its way to earning its name. The seven courses of beef is one–make that seven–reasons why.  Other reasons include a stellar rendition of the name on the marquee; the restaurant’s pho has earned a reputation as among the city’s very best in a city that has embraced pho.

“In a “Chow Down in Burque Town” forum entitled “Best Vietnamese Restaurant in Town” on the omnibus Duke City Fix, Albuquerque’s pho-fanatics weighed in on their favorites.  One of the most frequently mentioned was Pho #1.  Common reasons given were the large number of local Vietnamese families who eat there, the “to die for”soups and the genuinely nice family who owns and runs the restaurant.

“Pho #1 specializes in beef noodle soup, the menu referring to it as “the adventurer’s choice” because of the near limitless flavor combinations in which it is available.  A small bowl of pho is the size of a wading pool, a large bowl the size of a swimming pool.  For a pittance, you can even upsize to an “extra large” bowl which is virtually the size of a pond.  It’s common at Pho #1 to enjoy an asynchronous symphony of slurping, the audible inhalation of noodles being heartily enjoyed by entire families, each member partaking of a different size bowl of pho (similar to the A&W restaurant of old concept of Papa, Mama, Teen and Child burgers).”


 

Phở #1 

(505) 268-0488

International District
414 San Pedro Dr SE
Albuquerque, NM 87108

Hours: 10:30 – 9:00 (Closed Wednesday)

map

 

 

 


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Phở #1 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Vietnamese | Leave a comment