Research has proven that taste buds are dulled by high altitude and cabin pressure, so as an aircraft climbs, our sense of taste diminishes by as much as 30 percent. That explains why many passengers praise airline food on flights in which meals are actually served. It’s probably not that the food is good; it’s more likely that their sense of taste is diminished. Alas, it’s not solely high altitude and cabin pressure which can diminish the sense of taste. On this blog I’ve catalogued some of those factors: the use of spices (i.e., cumin) that mask the purity, earthiness and richness of red chile; the use of inferior ingredients that can’t mask the lack of quality; the impairing effects of alcohol on the senses of smell and taste; improper preparation time and so forth. One factor I have not touched upon is “too much of a good thing.”
At Village Pizza, the pizza buffet is so inviting, so tempting, so alluring that you’re bound to consume more than you should. In all its glory and splendor, the pizza buffet is as enticing as the sirens of Greek mythology who lured nearby sailors with their enchanting music and voices. Willpower will wane. Diet be damned. Resistance is futile! You can’t help but make repeat visits to this paragon of pizza perfection with occasional and frequent detours to the salad bar or to the tureen of green chile chicken stew, a magical elixir. The Village Pizza is a bit of a paradox–luring patrons with so much (maybe too much) of a good thing while daily demonstrating that willpower is not enough.
18 July 2009: If you’ve ever lamented the dearth of ingredients (particularly meats) on restaurant pizza, you’re overdue for a visit to Village Pizza, the antithesis of the “where’s the ingredients” pizzas throughout the Duke City area. It would be easier to locate Forrest Fenn’s fabled treasure than to locate more than a handful of pepperonis on many pizzas. At the opposite extreme of these chintzy, cheap pies is the Village combo , described on the menu as “a real combo piled with smoked ham, pepperoni, mushrooms, black olives, hot or mild green chile, bell peppers, red onions, ground beef and hot or mild sausage,” the emphasis should be on “piled.”
When we first undertook the monumental task of finishing the Village Combo, our initial impressions were that moderation might be in order. It’s the first time my Kim and I were ever intimidated by a pizza. The ingredients on this baked behemoth were stacked so high we didn’t know whether to eat them, make a salad out of them or organize an expedition to climb them. Perhaps only Joey Chestnut, the renowned greatest eater in history could have polished off this prodigious pie in one sitting. Over time, we’ve come to appreciate that the Village Pizza strives to provide its loyal guests not only with great food and portions, but with great value.
Geographically, the Village Pizza lies pretty close to the heart of the village, but villagers might argue that it actually is the heart of the village. It’s where families congregate to share food, fun and fellowship. Village Pizza has probably hosted more anniversaries and parties than any other venue in the village. Cognizant of its location and of environmental concerns, Village Pizza gives discounts to diners who ride their bike or horse to eat at this converted home. Exterior signage reads “Human Only Patio? No! Bring Your Lovable Canine Pal.” That’s what we do and our debonair dachshund The Dude (he abides) couldn’t be happier.
The restaurant has two large dining rooms as well as a capacious outdoor patio. During buffet hours, all three can be quite crowded and at times rather “festive.” Towering assiduous trees provide sun-shielding shade, but our favorite spot is beneath the covered portal where our backdrop is the preternatural photography of Kim Jew, a Corrales resident widely regarded as one of the Land of Enchantment’s most talented photographers. Just as the Land of Enchantment provides the most beautiful subject matter for Jew’s photographs, the Village Pizza’s dough is the canvas upon which beautiful ingredients are heaped.
In Corrales it may be said that if it takes a village to bake a great pizza, that village is the Village Pizza and if pizza dough is the canvass on which great pizza is made, Village Pizza creates the canvass on which masterpiece pizzas are made. The dough–conventional or whole wheat–is made on the premises. Thin, regular or “thick” varieties shaped into 12″, 14″ and 16″ sizes (three sizes, three thicknesses) are available for appetites of varying capacities. Each pizza is hand-tossed and baked in slate ovens. Fresh ingredients and real cheese are a standard as is the generosity of ingredients. An array of exotic ingredients such as eggplant, artichoke hearts, feta and roasted pine nuts are available for pizza aficionados who don’t want a conventional pizza. Village Pizza even offers a “take and bake” option so you can bake the pie at home.
The homemade sauce is very good, obviously made from rich tomatoes at the peak of freshness. It is seasoned very well with basil, garlic and other complementary ingredients. If you prefer pizza sans tomato sauce, the restaurant can accommodate you there, too. In addition to the original red sauce, you can have a wonderful bianco (garlic and ricotta) sauce or pesto if you please. There’s even a “gourmet” sauce option where you can choose two from the sauce triumvirate of tomato, bianco or pesto.
An all-you-can-eat buffet is available every day from 11AM – 2PM and Monday and Tuesday nights from 5PM until closing. The buffet, which includes pizza, soup, salad and breadsticks, is one of the biggest draws to this Corrales institution. Whether you order off the menu or opt for the buffet, your portions will be profligate. Village Pizza is not a restaurant you visit if when you want a small meal. Though we often eschew buffets, this is one we enjoy–even when having to share a dining room with a passel of party-goers.
Several types of pizza are available on a large silver table spotlighted by heating lamps. You needn’t worry about the pizza growing stale or cold because it doesn’t spend much time on the table. A procession of hungry diners forms quickly after the pizza is replenished. The buffet features many of the most popular pizzas–pies adorned with green chile, pepperoni, cheese and more. The Hawaiian-style pizza (pineapple, Canadian bacon) is quite good, showcasing the contrast of tangy-sweet pineapple and salty-savory Canadian bacon. Alas, the green chile would barely register on the Scoville scale. It’s got virtually no heat and that’s a mortal sin in New Mexico.
The salad bar allows you to indulge your creativity with a melange of fresh ingredients. The foundation for your salad starts with either a conventional iceberg lettuce or spinach base. Trays of ingredients include discs of pepperoni, sliced mushrooms, sliced black olives, chopped green peppers, flower seeds and some of the largest, most juicy pepperoncini (which packs more punch than the chile) in the area. Salad dressings include all the usual suspects and a raspberry vinaigrette we enjoyed for dipping the bread sticks.
Soup of the day is a celebrated event when the featured fare is green chile chicken stew. A large crock of piping hot green chile chicken stew has its own place separate from the buffet as well as its own legion of admirers who queue up to ladle it onto their bowls. This is a good green chile stew even though we were hard-pressed to glean any piquancy or smokiness. What is discernible, however, is finely cut chicken and a thick broth. We love that this stew is served hot, a much welcome respite from the chill of winter.
17 May 2020: As someone for whom Spanish was the first and only language I knew until starting school, the word “calzone” has always amused me. In Spanish and in Italian, a calzone is a trouser, so the first time I saw “calzone” on the menu of an Italian restaurant, confusion and humor abounded. After having consumed one, it could have been called ropa interior (underwear in Spanish) and it wouldn’t have mattered. This wondrous Italian turnover crafted from pizza dough baked golden brown and stuffed with rich Ricotta absolutely captivated me.
Village Pizza’s rendition, the Corrales Calzone, is much like those calzones with which I fell in love in Massachusetts. It’s made from hand-formed dough whose outer borders are formed into bread knots you can tear off and dip into the accompanying red sauce. The golden brown bread is heavenly, very much reminiscent of bread right out of the oven. The calzone is about the size of a flattened football so there’s plenty of room in which to stuff it with mozzarella and Ricotta cheeses. As with the pizza, you can have your calzone with additional ingredients. Spicy sausage is a good choice here. So is the green chile even if it doesn’t bite back.
17 May 2020: Late night comic Jimmy Fallon recently observed that “As gas prices continue to drop, 28 states are now selling regular gasoline for less than $2 a gallon. It’s getting cheaper to pump two gallons of gas outside the station than it is to pump two squirts of nacho cheese inside.” Fallon certainly isn’t getting his nachos from Village Pizza where you’ll never find that gloppy “nacho cheese” of his dreams (or likely, nightmares). Here’s how Village Pizza’ nachos are described on the menu: “A heaping plateful of crisp, organic corn tortilla chips smothered in cheddar and mozzarella cheeses, topped with black olives, red onion, jalapeños and your choice of beef, chicken, or hot or mild Italian sausage. Served with our pico de gallo and sour cream.” As with the pizza, ingredients are generously piled on. Moreover they work very well together–several orders of magnitude better than the “nacho cheese” Fallon describes.
The menu features four appetizers: breadsticks, nachos (yes, nachos), chicken wings and a veggie plate. The chicken wings are available in two varieties, a tangy honey barbecue sauce and tequila lime. The tequila lime chicken wings are served with blue and yellow corn chips, sour cream and pico de gallo. Unlike what most fried foul fanatics fantasize about, these are not deep-fried and therefore, don’t have a crispy texture. The skin has a bit of an unappetizing “elastic” feel as you bite into it. Discard the skin and you’ll find the tequila lime flavors do penetrate into the delicious, albeit chintzy chicken meat.
In 2019, Village Pizza branched out to the multiplex movie theater on Coors just north of Montano. By year’s end, the restaurant had garnered recognition as the best pizza in the metropolitan area from Albuquerque The Magazine readers.
4266 Corrales Road
Corrales, New Mexico
Web Site | Facebook Page
LATEST VISIT: 17 May 2020
# OF VISITS: 8
BEST BET: Tequila Lime Wings, Village Combo Pizza, The Corrales Calzone, Salad Bar, Green Chile Chicken Stew
11 thoughts on “Village Pizza – Corrales, New Mexico”
Okay, bro, now you being in my neighborhood. But first, you say, “so as an aircraft climbs, our sense of taste diminishes by as much as 30 percent.” No, as a matter of fact, as an aircraft climbs our sense of boredom increases by 100 percent. Meal service is something to do – an activity- at 30, 000 feet when you’re crammed into an economy seat that was designed for a circus midget. Or dwarf. Or height challenged – my point is not to start a PC argument but to make a point.
Jim Harrison, the original roving gourmand before Gil, packed a two-ounce vial of Tabasco sauce every time he boarded a plane. Whatever the in-flight offal offered, Tabasco will make it mercifully more palpable he said.
Now, Village Pizza. Heard it’s good. Never been there. Pizza buffet? To a Pizza addict like me that’s a guaranteed overdose. Code red. But I have been next door (on one more than one occasion) to Perea’s Tijuana Bar. John, family owner, is a gentleman with the best of them. He also offers a buffet – a bourbon buffet. With bottles you won’t find anywhere else in NM. Some day I will haul myself away from John’s buffet and try the Village buffet. But I can’t promise I will.
Aaah mysteries. You noted that Village Pizza was expanding to the corner of Rio Grande and Griegos in ’14. While I commented re a rationale for going to the one in Corrales, I checked this expansion early on, given often passing by. Alas, the wilty salad and flaccid slices of the Serve Youself bar, put the Corrales site to shame. Within the past couple of weeks the Rio Grande venue, like ya might do with a hearty pizza, folded…for the past year, the parking lot always seemed sparsely filled.
Before VP, there was the valiant try Geezamboni made with BBQ. Dang it, I can’t remember what it was in this funky setting in the ’90s? Is this corner hexed despite Flying Star always looking packed a block away? Across the way, Joe S. Sausage, the sausage maker, moved out awhile ago after several years. The other day, I thought I espied him in the old place that first made great jerky on 4th just past I-40. Nope, he is now over on Girard NE just south of Candelaria in between the Left Turn Distilling and Palmer Brewery & Cider House. http://tinyurl.com/lnueom9
Less Bruce, who ate your Village Pizza review alive (pun intended), didn’t know it, Jaws was named “Bruce” by the film’s crew after Bruce Raynor, the lawyer of Spielberg. (Yo….no “offense” to lawyers herein is implied, as that is always a “personal”/confidential choice.) http://tinyurl.com/jvy7rhf
My VP experience: on the spur of the moment a few years ago, met up with daughter/S-i-L/G-kids per being half-way between residences, i.e. as a convenience, to try out a new place. Per a glorious late Spring day, sat under the canopy of trees circling the walled patio. Found the salad bar bountifully varied and fresh. To be honest, per the conversation and The Enchantment the patio affords, have never really concentrated on the pizza during multi-annual visits, except to say it was “fine”. Given the focus is being somewhat targeting of the behemouth Village Combo (for meat lovers), I cannot imply VP’s matches Saggio’s Milano*.
Bottom line, if in the neighbor or checking out what other foodies’ delights might be on The West Side or desiring an outdoor, nonurban setting for camaraderie while casually munching is sought, I find it an enjoyable pick (altho the “management” might want to pay attention to spiffing the patio up from time to time to make it an even bigger ‘draw”…ala a lazy (i.e. relaxing) NewMexicana place to be on a warmer afternoon/eve! Eh, you can even tie your (rental) horse up while Y’all munch!
*While maybe not having rare cheeses/anchovy bits (which I love)/exotic shrooms to qualify it as a gourmet pizza, it’s not being listed on the menu does give it that aura!
As a loyal reader and contributor I can’t recall any other of your reviews that have struck me as being a bit incomplete and somewhat unfair. In my humble opinion I believe that this is the first. Hopefully I didn’t miss the subtleties of your review and am just over-reacting a bit but…
As a Corrales resident with some bias I do think Village Pizza as Pizza Parlors go deserves a bit more direct praise. Of all the restaurants that serve Pizza in the surrounding area I believe they do a great job and provide good value. While I would not rank them in the same category as Nicky V’s or Turtle Mountain (which to me fall into the category of “gourmet” pizza) they certainly far outperform the “chain” competition, and in my own personal experience they provide a much better tasting product than their closest competitor Ilvicino. (Very bad first experience previously documented.)
I used the phrase a “bit incomplete and somewhat unfair”, because it seems to me that the “meat” of your review (I just had to find a way to work that in) is based primarily on your experience with the meat lovers combo. I too am not a fan of the “meat lover” style pizzas in general and refrain from ordering those – with the lone exception being Geno’s East River North in Chicago (of course this is a whole ‘nother form of pizza not for the faint hearted).
I much prefer a one or two item pizza served on a thin style crust with the items complementing rather than competing with each other.
I think a fairer more complete review would focus on standards such as these.
My wife and I and friends also partake of the buffet from time to time but we are a bit picky in our selections. When paying for our all you can eat order we sometimes make a request of our favorite which is Sausage (hot) with Green Chili (Mild) on the thin crust. They have always been happy to oblige and even from time to time bring a couple of slices directly to our table before they are set onto the buffet and devoured by the hungry masses. Our second favorite is Pepperoni with either mushrooms or black olives.
By the way, am I wrong in seeing this as your first documented review of Village Pizza after 6 visits? Did I somehow miss this?
Thank you, Bruce. I value your feedback and upon further review agree with your assessment. I strive to make my reviews fair and balanced, but my review of Village Pizza is hardly balanced. It’s very skewed against the one aspect of a dining experience we did not enjoy and does not reflect how much we have enjoyed other experiences. With that in mind, I’ll return to Village Pizza someday soon with a more open mind.
This was not my first documented review of Village Pizza. As with all my reviews of Corrales restaurants, a link to the Village Pizza review can be found in the New Mexico Restaurant Index.
Thanks again for your feedback. Now, when are we going to see you at a Friends of Gil (FOG) event?
Thanks for the response Gil, I’m very happy that my comments were so well taken and that you will be returning there soon. I sincerely hope that the folks and food at Village Pizza will not disappoint you when you do and that someday perhaps a future FOG event may even take place here in Corrales. In the mean time I’m headed over to your current FOG page to sign up for the next event. See you then!
I somehow have missed this review in the past. Happened to catch it now from your most recent visit, though. You hit the nail on the head! Again!
I could never figure out why I LOVED the pizza in the buffet, but when we order a combo to take home I only LIKED it. I thought it had something to do with it not being as fresh, but you are absolutely right about too many toppings overpowering the dish as a whole. Not quite cooked mushrooms, etc.
I still very much enjoy their buffet (although the Corrales location is head and shoulders above the Rio Grande location). I especially love the stew (think cream of chicken soup with green chile, carrots, onions, celery…chicken pot pie filling if you will). And the salad bar – basic and unassuming – manages to produce a very tasty salad.
Overall hit and miss, but mostly hit when we do the buffet. Will have to try the chocolate mousse parfait. The sounds and looks yummy!
moving to Corrales NM in 3 weeks, can’t wait ! peace, Micha in VT
Ive lived in the area for 6 years and it is hit and miss. The whole place seems to be run by a grumpy older lady and a slew of teenagers. I never dine in because I service isnt great. During the buffet it is rare that fresh or even additional pizzas are brought out. I wish they would omit the “nacho/taco pizza” all together from the buffett it looks and tastes horrible. Usually our carry out orders are OK
The pizza pictured above looks gross! It looks like they just gave the ingredients to a group of toddlers and told them to decorate the dough.
The pizza is OK. The service has always been good, I like the atmosphere. May have 10 visits logged. Out of town friends have enjoyed it. Their menus are a bit confusing. My wife has ordered Calzone in advance to pick up as she drives by and that has always worked without a hitch.