What is it about French words that make them sound haughty and pompous to some people and elegant and refined to others? Think I’m kidding? In Massachusetts, I knew a guy who for two years sported the nickname “Le Cochon” like a badge of honor before someone had the heart to tell him it meant “the pig.” He had thought that sobriquet was a testament to his prowess with the ladies (on second thought, maybe it was).
Still questioning my observations on French words? Take an informal poll of men (women are smarter) in the office and ask them what the word “bistro” means. I did and most respondents gave me some variation of “snobbish, hoity-toity, fancy, upscale” restaurant. In truth, a bistro is a small restaurant which typically features simple fare and sometimes provides entertainment. So, if you’re looking for a fancy, upscale French brewery when you see the name “Corrales Bistro” you’ll be in for a disappointment. If, however, you’re looking for terrific sandwiches, burgers, New Mexican food and more you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
The Corrales Bistro Brewery (“The Bistro” for short) opened shortly after New Years Day on 2007 at the former site of Essencia, a wonderful fine-dining establishment which closed in 2006. It’s the brainchild of entrepreneurial Fritz Allen, proprietor of another business, Hanselmann Pottery in the same commercial center as his brewery. If you’ve driven past the bistro, you may have noticed its new signage which no longer includes the term “Brewery.” The term has been a bit of a misnomer—at least in terms of volume–for a while. Until 2013, Corrales did not have a village sewage system and all wastewater was dispatched into septic systems. That limitation made it a challenge to brew beer in the volumes other metropolitan area breweries do.
Before he launched his bistro-brewery, Fritz had to request a change in Corrales zoning laws to clear the path for his undertaking. An amendment to a village commercial zoning ordinance allowed him to brew no more than 5,000 barrels of beer a year. While the Bistro has a small selection of its own beers, its focus has also been on serving beer from great breweries across the Land of Enchantment. Habitues of the Bistro who appreciate New Mexico brewed beers are well advised to join the “Mug Club” where a membership fee entitles them to enjoy a 22-ounce mug of fine ale for a pittance.
One factor which distinguishes The Bistro from other taproom-restaurants is its sense of community. The Bistro is akin to the “Cheers” of Corrales. Everyone knows your name here. To a large extent, my friend Larry McGoldrick, the professor with the perspicacious palate, credits his decision to move to Corrales on the neighborliness of The Bistro and the “Corralenos” who frequent it. During a visit in July, 2017, we watched as Fritz greeted most of his guests by first name and often with a hearty embrace. The Bistro truly is a hometown hang-out—even if you’re not from Corrales.
Our favorite dining area at The Bistro is an expansive dog-friendly patio. Seasonally-permitting, it’s a terrific venue for enjoying the salubrious Corrales air, punctuated only by the aromas wafting from the kitchen. The Bistro is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. In keeping with its sense of community and local pride, The Bistro has become quite the platform for local musicians to showcase their talents. Almost every day of the year, talented musicians entertain patrons with such popular musical stylings as jazz, Celtic, bluegrass and folk.
Just as The Bistro’s menu—a fusion of cultures and ideas–can’t be pigeonholed into one category, The Bistro has two mission statement-defining mottos: “if you are not crossing a cultural boundary, you can try harder” and “make yourself at home.” The Bistro does indeed showcase a multi-cultural menu and you certainly will feel right at home. Breakfast is primarily New Mexican entrees—all the dishes we know intimately and love greatly. For lunch and dinner, featured fare includes a nice selection of salads, sandwiches, wraps and specialty burgers, some of which may make you wish your home was in closer proximity.
19 July 2017: Regardless of what you order, you’ll want to start your meal with The Bistro’s fabulous chips and salsa (some of the very best in the state). The salsa is made with an autumn-blend chile flecked with roasted red (more like orange) chile. Roasted red chile has a sweeter flavor than roasted green chile, a sweetness we mistakenly attributed to finely diced carrots. The melding of piquancy and sweetness is a pleasant surprise. Another is the generous portion of this terrific starter. Blue- and yellow-corn chips are thick enough to support the weight of any Gil-sized scoop of salsa.
20 June 2021: According to Psychology Today, a group of Czech biologists embarked on an experiment that seems to suggest garlic consumption positively influences body odor. Darn, there goes my argument to my Kim that too much garlic repulses people. You’d think she was trying to ward off a village of vampires the way she enjoys garlic. When she saw the roasted garlic and feta bread dippers (feta cheese, roasted garlic cloves, olive tapenade, Balsamic dipping sauce and toasted bread) on the menu, she just had to have it. She enjoyed the garlic while her devoted husband devoured all the feta cheese (which thankfully does not affect body odor or breath).
19 July 2017: Fire-roasted salsa and sour cream come standard with the Corrales Blue Quesadilla appetizer. This is one of the very best quesadillas in the metropolitan area, easily on par with the quesadilla at The Range. What makes this quesadilla special is that it’s crafted with two complementary cheeses, an ultra-sharp bleu (not blue) cheese and a mild Cheddar. It also includes New Mexico green chile, tomato, onion and Mexican herbs all grilled on flour tortillas. This quesadilla is roughly the size of half a pizza and could easily be served as an entrée.
11 August 2007: The Specialty Burger section of the menu includes an impressive array of creative burgers all starting off with a half-pound of beef (or you can substitute a grilled chicken breast). Basic toppings are lettuce, tomato and onion. Your creativity will dictate what else goes on. For a New Mexico inspired departure from the traditional burger on the bun concept, try the New Mexico Tortilla Burger, a half-pound of beef wrapped in a tortilla with chopped lettuce, chile con queso and fire-roasted salsa. It’s an outstanding burger grilled to your exacting specifications. At medium done its pinkish insides are dripping with flavor. All burgers are served with a salad or The Bistro’s special blend of sweet and white potato fries.
11 August 2007: There are ten sandwiches on the menu, some of which would challenge a competitive eater to finish. Take for example, the Ruben, a grilled triple-decker sandwich skyscraper high with corned beef, turkey, Swiss cheese, mild sauerkraut on lightly grilled rustic rye bread. Russian dressing may be in there somewhere, too, but it’s lightly applied to give the meat the opportunity to shine. Shine it does. This is one of the best Ruben sandwiches in the Duke City area. A propeller-headed mathematician friend of mine with a penchant for French words said it was “an ordre de magnitude” better than others he’s had in town.
Faithful readers of this blog have probably been subjected ad-nauseam to reading about my passion for pastrami, a passion shared only by Meg Ryan in the movie “When Harry Met Sally” when she gave Katz Deli diners an impassioned appreciation for this mildly smoked paragon of deliciousness. Alas, with few exceptions (foremost among them California Pastrami and Toro Burger) pastrami in the Albuquerque area tends to evoke one reaction–disappointment. Still my pursuit for pastrami perfection goes on.
24 April 2019: At The Bistro, pastrami is showcased in a uniquely named sandwich called El Pancho Greenblatt (pastrami, green chile and Cheddar cheese in a tortilla. My last experience with this sandwich is over a decade ago, but the Alibi’s Hosho McCreesh enjoyed one and had this to say about it: “The grilled tortilla wraps in all the hot, salty goodness of the pastrami and the luscious melted cheddar, and again the green chile brings the spicy heat that’s hard to beat. It’s a got a great name, a simple, straight-forward style, and comes with fries or a side salad. And while I’d love a dollop of a grainy, stone-ground mustard on the side, I’d certainly have this one again however they’d give it to me.”
My friend Bill Resnik will tell you The Bistro’s sandwiches are made the way you might make a sandwich for yourself. You wouldn’t scrimp on ingredients and neither does The Bistro. You wouldn’t haphazardly toss tomatoes and lettuce on your sandwich; you’d position them carefully so they complement your sandwich. That’s the way The Bistro makes them. These are excellent sandwiches! Moreover, one waitress told us everything on the menu is made with an extra ingredient–love. How can you possibly go wrong?
20 June 2021: Menu surprises galore greeted us during our first visit in four years. In addition to the burgers, sandwiches, appetizers and New Mexican entrees with which we had fallen in love, we found a number of enticing chef’s choice salads, wraps, chef’s choice entrees, flat breads and al dente pasta del giorno. Among the latter is cacio e pepe (sautéed pasta with olive oil, Parmesan and fresh pepper), a dish which translates literally to “cheese and pepper,” or as described by some sources as a “minimalist mac and cheese.” The cracked pepper lends a pleasant assertiveness while the Parmesan adds a nutty tang. More like spaghetti without marinara than like a minimalist mac and cheese, it’s a delicious dish no matter how you describe it.
20 June 2021: Somehow Jambalaya (ham, bacon, chicken and sausage with blackening seasonings in a rich dark roux) made its way onto the al dente pasta al giorno menu. Why argue that it doesn’t belong there when you can be enjoying an assertively seasoned dish. The Bistro’s Jambalaya isn’t quite as moist as most Jambalaya we’ve had. In fact, it has a texture more similar to Spanish rice (albeit with blackening seasonings) than to one of the quintessential Cajun dishes. (Longtime readers will recognize my antipathy toward Spanish rice.) Sans shrimp or crawfish, it’s not New Orleans worthy, but it’s not horrible.
Okay, if you’re still inclined to believe French words show refinement and class, I’ve got one that describes the sandwiches at the Corrales Bistro Brewery–magnifique!
4908 Corrales Road
Corrales, New Mexico
LATEST VISIT: 20 June 2021
# OF VISITS: 6
BEST BET: Salsa and Chips, Ruben Sandwich, New Mexico Tortilla Burger, Corrales Blue Quesadilla, Pancakes, Cacio E Pepe, Jambalaya,
17 thoughts on “Corrales Bistro Brewery – Corrales, New Mexico (CLOSED)”
A couple weeks ago we stopped by to sample the fare. I wish I could report on the food, but we didn’t stay to eat. On entering a surly restaurant worker barely looked up at us and muttered, “Juzsitanywhereyawant.”
We looked around and there were few tables to sit at because fully half the tables had piles of dirty dishes and uneaten food stacked in the center of the table. Yick. And it’s not like the staff was busily trying to clear them or anything; in fact the lone worker who greeted us was just scrolling on her phone.
This vibe did not bode well for good (or sanitary) food, so we left.
We rely on and enjoy reading this excellent blog, but in future will pay more attention to how recent Gil’s visit was.
An acute accent, or apostrophe, as you call it, is used to identify stressed vowels in romance languages (which Spanish happens to be). Words ending in vowels have the emphasis on the second to last syllable. The acute accent is there to let you know it does not meet that rule, and shows you where the stress should be placed.
Chile’ would place the emphasis on the wrong syllable…
At least to the way I understand it to be. I’m an engineer, not a linguist, so take it with a grain of salt…which weighs ~0.00005850 grams, by the way…
We went by last night primarily to see Jeez La Weez (More fun than those other bands) & ate while we were there. The Child Bride had a Pastrami which was more or less-somewhat ok. I had an Albuquerque Turkey Sandwich which was one of the blander things I have eaten in years even though it was loaded with green chile (my spell check is balking at “chile”, so I guess it needs an education). Service was actually very good. Overall the restaurant was not nearly as bad as some of these comments would indicate but we would never go back just for the food.
I would however eat almost anything to see Jeez La Weez even though the acoustics of the restaurant were awful and the packed crowd agreed (No I don’t know any of the performers).
This is how you spell it correctly..
Not Chili, not chile.
Notice the apostrophe?
Just like mole’, cafe’ , expose’… Of course I wouldn’t expect new Mexicans to understand that or even change. They’re not capable.
It’s actually an acute symbol you’re looking for, not an apostrophe. Like this: chilé. And café, molé and exposé Not this: chile’. And not mole’, cafe’ or expose’. See the difference? It’s okay. I don’t expect you to change, either.
Guys Guys, can’t we all just get along. After all, isn’t it really about us in New Mexico searching where to have our next meal in the Land of Enchantment! What would Bob of the Village People say? It sounds like our friend Mr or Mrs/Ms Food here just needs a hug.
Everyone else who reads this blog
Ah, Mr/Mrs Food, very interesting comment you left above but not real helpful to those who read Gil’s Blog. 1st – If you read when it was last reviewed, that was 4 years ago and in that time much changes in life from cooks, waitpeople and even customers. 2nd – Instead of blaming Gil who is doing what he can to provide a snapshot in time of where he eats for people, I recommend that you should have described what was really wrong with your experience and if you truly had such a bad experience, let the Owner/Manager know. They may not be aware of all comments in here or any blog and I am sure that they would be interested in your thoughts. 3rd – Also note that Urbanspoon (see above where Gil shares reviews/comments) shows 4 in 5 people like it. Please share what restaurants you would recommend and why, interested to know the basis for your comments.
First off Gills Thrilling Blog SUCKS! He led me to this Corrales so called brewery, The food SUCKED! The beer was on tap and the staff was RUDE! How can anyone spend a buck on this crap! Just look at the PICS! Shame on you Fritz who so calls himself the owner and you so called Gills Thrills Blog, well the only thrill you get is sending people the wrong way to enjoy food!
You didn’t include your first name, so I’ll just call you Dick for short. I happen to like what Gil does here. A true statesman in every sense of the word, he provides a valuable service to this community without any pay and without calling much attention to himself. While your experience at the Corales Bistro Brewrey may have been bad, your scalding condemnation of Gil and of the restaurant adds absolutely no value to this blog other than entertainment. If a restaurant is truly this bad, it will not need your help putting it out of business. It will end up there by itself. Gil didn’t come to where you work and knock the broom out of your hand, why do you have to mess with Gil’s job? If you hate this blog, don’t read it. I hope you don’t reproduce.
My moms group had a night out there in October and it was awful to say the least. We had a hard time deciding what to order because the menu is quite large and everything sounds delicious. We were the only table in the place (7 of us total) and our food came out at separate times, very randomly. Food that was supposed to be hot was lukewarm at best. Half of our orders were missing things and we had to get up and get the waitress to correct them since she never checked back on us. They state they close at 11:00, we got there at 7:00 and were planning on getting dessert, but at 8:30 it seemed the waitress and kitchen staff was done with us, they never checked on us, never offered dessert, never refilled drinks. Instead they all hung around the bar drinking and talking instead of waiting on us. We left and went to Flying Star for dessert and coffee instead. Absolutely one of our worst dining experiences and a place we will definitely not be returning to.
I just blew in from Texas last week and accidently stumbled into this place while driving out in Corralles. I loved it! The service was great, the art was beautiful and the Chef Eric even brought my lovely sandwich out to me. I liked the 2 beers I had and gave the waitress a well deserved, good tip. I will go back and look forward to some of the mouth watering sandwiches you blog shows. Yummmmmm!
I totally agree with Robert!!!! My husband and I scored a babysitter at the last minute and decided to try something nearby in Corrales so we stopped in to have maybe a snack and a beer. The place was empty and had about an hour till closing but we still got very unwelcome looks as we walk in. They immediately tell us the kitchen is closed but we can order drinks. I try the Sangria by high recommendation who I think was the owner trying to get rid of it. It was not good. The bar had quite a few people who looked like they were waiting for the after party to start and us to scram. The waitress even started to put the chairs up at the table we were sitting at!!! Everyone was rude, and the owner seemed snobby. I have yet to find a place in my Corrales neighborhood that has good service. Could that be why the resturants out here never last more than 6 months? Hm?
Sorry. But I also have to say that the reviewer on this site is either high or is being paid off by the restaurant. There is nothing good about them…really. Please read my past comment for more info and know that I am only a regular patron who is very objective about this stuff and not some paid-off hack who does not know a good place if he woke up in it!
Just left there. Have been there a few times before. Only went there because it is close and I was in a hurry. Bad choice, once again. It was always mediocre at best.
But tonight it was,
Terrible, terrible, terrible. Eveerything about it was awful. Sorry, but it was.
Got nachos that were missing several ingredients after waiting forever. Got a Ruben, that was also missing several ingredients, after waiting forever…it was basically corn beef on rye, and that’s it…after waiting 45 minutes!
The beer is warm and the service sucks. And I’m not even a critic!
As a matter of fact, despite what this review amy seem like, I am actually quite easy to please. But these guys really sucked, no bones about it! I will never go back and will never recommend it to anyone. This is sad because I really like supporting local businesses. But when they are this bad, I can’t help but hope someone else moves in.
My name is Robert. And if anyone wants to call me on this, my e-mail is email@example.com. I live in Corrales and am sad that these guys suck so badly.
Nothing unique about the El Pancho Greenblatt. It has been on the Quarters menu for years.
Very sloooooooow service, at least when we ate there. Ok food. Nice patio which is much more inviting than eating inside.