M’tucci’s Italian Restaurant – Albuquerque, New Mexico

M’tucci’s Kitchina, an outstanding Italian restaurant on Montano

Sometimes the spaghetti likes to be alone..”
Stanley Tucci as Segundo in Big Night

With a name like M’Tucci’s Italian Restaurant, you might wonder if the Italian restaurant on the intersection of Coors and Montano is named for Academy Award nominated actor Stanley Tucci. After all, Tucci co-starred in Big Night and Julie & Julia, arguably two of the very best food movies in recent years. Initially christened M’tucci’s Kitchina, the “Kitchina” part of the restaurant’s name was obviously a whimsical play on “cucina,” the Italian term for kitchen, but was spelled more similarly to Kachina, the Hopi ancestral spirits. In any case, if the amusing name and fun, casual ambiance don’’t ensnare you, the food certainly will.

Colorful Dining Room

Step into the expansive dining room and the playfulness hinted by the restaurant’s original name continues. Our immediate impression was “Laissez les bon temps roulette” (let the good times roll) as in New Orleans Mardi Gras. That impression was gleaned from the colorful Mardi Gras-like masks on several walls and a life-sized alligator on another. Then there’s the pergola–large enough to accommodate a table of four–with an ominous lizard crawling down the roof. There’s something to pique your interest everywhere you turn.

The Gazebo Inside the M’tucci Dining Room

The colorful masks (which are easily mistaken for those widely seen in New Orleans) are Venetian, a staple of the Carnival of Venice. The alligator…well, he’s there because co-owner Katie Gardner likes him. The chandeliered pergola is designated for feting guests celebrating a special occasion. When we commented on the restaurant’s “wildly eclectic ambiance” Katie explained that she’s a wildly eclectic person. She’s also very experienced in running successful restaurants, having owned eleven of them along with her husband in New York City…and to paraphrase Frank Sinatra, “if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere.”

M’tucci’s is succeeding where other restaurants have failed in the digs formerly occupied by The Mill of New Mexico, Tomato Café and Spinn’s Burgers and Beer. It’s a tough location exacerbated by the fact that its storefront, while facing heavily trafficked Coors Boulevard, is obfuscated by distance, traffic flow and other shops. A very active Facebook presence and (mostly) glowing reviews by print and online media (including Cheryl Alters Jamison for New Mexico Magazine) helped tremendously, but word-of-mouth from satisfied guests (especially those returning) is a major catalyst for drawing new guests. In October, 2013, scant months of its July launch, M’tucci’s finished as runner-up in the Alibi‘s Best of Burque Restaurants as the “best restaurant on the west side.”  M’tucci’s continues to earn accolades.

Unique Ambiance

Katie 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. 

While the ambiance bespeaks of fun and whimsy, the menu includes some seriously good dining options, some heretofore unseen in the Duke City. It’s impossible to pigeonhole this modern contemporary Italian restaurant which offers playful takes on classic dishes as well as a bit of local flavor (it’s virtually impossible to have a menu in New Mexico without red and green chile). Six Neapolitan-style pizzas are prepared in a wood-burning pizza oven. The bar menu, which varies daily, includes tapas-style small plates.

Borlotti White Bean Soup

The visionary behind the menu is John Hass, executive chef and member of the restaurant’s ownership team. 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 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 they’re sub-titled “Enchiladas Italianas” on the menu.

Soup, Salad & Appetizers

5 October 2013: You’ll luxuriate in the warmth and deliciousness of the Borlotti White Bean Soup, M’Tucci’s answer to the seemingly de rigueur pasta fagoli. This superb soup is constructed from Haas-made (get it?) sausage, arugula, carrots and fennel in a steamy chicken broth with just a sprinkling of Parmesan. It’s Italian comfort food at its finest even without pasta or tomatoes. The Borlotti white beans are terrific with a “meaty” flavor, creamy texture and nary a hint of sweetness. The sausage is a bit coarse, but has excellent fennel enriched flavor. A bowlful will cure whatever ails you.

House Bread Imported From Three Doors Down

27 August 2016: When M’tucci first launched, the house bread came from America’s breadbasket  (one of the nicknames for the state of Kansas which is renowned for its high quality wheat production). It was an excellent bread! Three years later, M’tucci’s started backing all its breads in-house.  It’s outstanding bakery quality stuff! A basketful of the staff of life includes six lightly toasted and buttered slices. A hard exterior crust belies a pillowy soft inside with plenty of air holes. It’s the type of bread for which you risk filling up quickly, but can’t stop eating because it’s so good.

New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells laments “Menus shouldn’t need explanation. Menus should BE the explanation. That’s the point of writing things down.” In far too many restaurants, you practically need a degree in Egyptology to understand the hieroglyphics placed in front of you. As creative as they are with food, many chefs lack creativity with words. This translates to overly confusing, overly wordy menus. Kudos to Chef Hass and the M’tucci’s staff for publishing menus diners can actually understand.

Fried Brie crispy brie cheese, apples strawberries, mixed greens, grilled baguette, pomegranate glaze
Fried Brie

19 April 2014: One of the most exquisite appetizers on the M’tucci’s menu is the fried brie. Call it a finely choreographed symphony of simple flavors which go so well together. A wedge of soft brie is sheathed beneath a crisp, light, golden crust. It’s intended to be spread onto thinly sliced, pomegranate glazed grilled baguette. From there you’re on your own. You can then add crisp apple slices, strawberries and even mixed greens, a brie sandwich of sorts. The warm silkiness of the brie amplifies the tanginess of the apples and strawberries and the bitterness of the greens.

27 August 2016: One of the more interesting items on the Antipasti menu when we first visited in October, 2016 was the quaintly named Fauxpaccio de Barbietola Arrostite. Fauxpaccio is obviously a play on the word carpaccio, (thinly sliced or pounded thin meat or fish) while Barbietola Arrostite is an Italian terms for roasted sugar beets. The menu had me at Fauxpaccio. Served in a dinner plate, it was a beautiful dish: roasted yellow beets shaved supermodel thin and as gold as New Mexico foliage in autumn, pickled red onion, goat cheese and a pile of arugula all lightly drizzled with a champagne vinaigrette. It was a marvelous contrast of ingredients with varied flavor profiles and textures, all thoroughly enjoyable.

Golden Beet Salad

A few days after having this wonderful appetizer we learned that it is no longer offered because, for some reason inexplicable to me, it just wasn’t selling. Grrrrr! During our August, 2016 visit, we espied a “roasted beet salad” on the menu. Comprised of the same ingredients as the aforementioned Fauxpaccio, the golden beets aren’t shaved or presented quite as artistically, but you still get an excellent salad as exciting as its predecessor.

5 October 2021: In addition to a spectacular appetizer (antipasti) menu, M’tucci’ offers a contorni (side dishes) menu that includes such treats as a terrific Cacio E Pepe, literally “cheese and pepper,” or as described by some sources as a “minimalist mac and cheese.” Al dente pasta may look like spaghetti sans marinara, but in reality those long, stringy noodles are tossed in olive oil then impregnated with melted Pecorino and cracked pepper. The cracked pepper lends a pleasant assertiveness while the Pecorino 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.

Cacio E Pepe

5 October 2021: It’s all Greek to me.  While the origin of feta cheese origin is Greek, the name actually comes from the Italian word “fetta,” meaning “slice”. This is a reference to how the cheese is sliced and then placed in a brine.  An amazing 70% of the cheese consumed in Greece is feta.  Greeks are fiercely protective of their beloved feta which dates back to the 8th century B.C. and is written about in Homer’s The Odyssey.  Feta isn’t nearly as prominent in Italian cooking perhaps because quartirolo, a cow’s milk cheese from Italy bears more than a passing resemblance to feta. 

If feta is to be found on an Italian table, it’s likely going to be as an ingredient in a salad.  That’s why we were so surprised to find a spicy feta dip (Tucumcari feta, pepperoncini, red chile flake, lightly pickled cucumber, fire-toasted pita, taralli and lavash cracker).  Even more surprising was the excellent quality of the Tucumcari feta, a delightfully sour (some might say rancid) fromage with a rich, slightly salty flavor.  There is a discernible spiciness to this dip, but it’s offset by the lightly pickled cucumber.  The fire-roasted pita, taralli (an oval cracker somewhat resembling overgrown Cheerios) and lavosh proved superb vehicles onto which to spread a feta dip as good as we’ve had at many Greek restaurants.

Spicy Feta Dip


Pan Seared Duck Breast

Some Italian restaurants segregate their menus into Antipasti, Primi and Secondi, loosely translated to appetizers, first course and main course. M’tucci’s also includes a Pizza menu, offering some six pizzas, including gluten-free options. Portion sizes will make it a challenge to order one from each menu then expect to have dessert, too. The Secondi menu, available during dinner hours, is replete with proteins (rotisserie chicken, fried fish, duck breast, braised tripe, Kurobuta Pork and ribeye). Some of them are also available for lunch, too.

5 October 2013: Much as we admire the monogamy of ducks, it’s hard to resist the beautiful feathered waterfowl when it’s on the plate and it looks so inviting. The pan-seared duck breast with creamy polenta, braised kale, caramelized onions and a cherry Balsamic reduction is so good, it’ll mitigate any guilt we might feel. The duck breast is perfectly prepared and sliced thinly. The end pieces are slightly crispy. The polenta, often a “take it or leave it” dish is definitely a “take it” at M’tucci’s. It’s creamy, light and fluffy and it inherits additional flavor from the braised kale and caramelized onions which blanket the polenta. If polenta is an oft unappreciated dish, kale is often disdained, even by foodies. This kale might win over some converts.

Seafood Risotto
Seafood Risotto

19 April 2014: One of the most ambitious items on the menu is the Risotto Del Giorno, a daily risotto special featuring seasonal ingredients. Even the most intrepid of chefs avoid risotto because it’s easy to make simple mistakes that ruin the dish. You’ve got to admire Chef Hass’s gumption. He doesn’t just prepare risotto on special occasions, he’s got the temerity to offer it every day. If the seafood risotto is indicative of his mastery of this oft-intimidating dish, I’ve got to visit more often. The triumvirate of mahi mahi, shrimp and mussels in a sumptuous and rich saffron sauce was absolutely perfect. The saffron imparts the color of a sunny disposition and a uniquely umami quality. The seafood is fresh and delicious. The rice is a smidgeon past al dente, a textural success.

19 April 2014: The two culinary feats I have yet to master after nearly four decades on Planet Earth are using chopsticks and twirling spaghetti around a fork. Because of the latter, my appreciation for pastas other than spaghetti has grown tremendously. For fork challenged diners, a great alternative to the confounding, long, thin strands is the pappardelle noodle, a ribbon pasta easy to work with. M’tucci’s Pappardelle con Salsiccia, a ribbon pasta with sausage is an exemplar on how well this noodle works, both from a functional as well as an esthetic perspective. This dish showcases the Haas made Italian sausage, a medium coarse blend flavored with fennel. My Kim says it’s of Chicago quality, a huge compliment. A delicate sauce imbued with braised kale and Pecorino lend more than personality to this winner of an entree.

Ribbon Pasta with Sausage (Pappardelle con Salsiccia) - Haas made Italian sausage, braised kale, pappardelle pasta, pecorino
Ribbon Pasta with Sausage (Pappardelle con Salsiccia)

5 October 2013: During our inaugural visit, the lunch menu included an aptly named sandwich called the AL-BQ Italian Beef, Chef Haas’s interpretation of the Italian beef sandwich held sacred throughout Chicago. The sandwich is named partially for Al’s #1 Beef in the Windy City and of course, for Albuquerque. The thinly shredded roasted beef, giardinera and Italian beef au jus on an Italian hoagie roll make it Chicago while green chile makes it Albuquerque. Frankly, we enjoyed the AL-BQ Italian Beef more than we did the sacrosanct Italian beef sandwich at Al’s #1 (although Al’s does pack quite a bit more beef into its sandwiches. So do a number of transplants from the City of Big Shoulders.) For additional authenticity, ask for your sandwich to be served “wet” (as in immersed in the au jus). It’ll render your sandwich falling apart moist, but that’s why forks were invented. The sandwich is no longer on the menu.

10 October 2013: In recent years, Albuquerque has experienced not only a pizza resolution, but an evolution of its pizzas. Almost every purveyor of the pie now offers a pizza or two sans tomato sauce and we’re all the better for it. Of the six pizzas offered at M’tucci’s, only two of them are made with tomato sauce. The Alla Campagna starts with a beauteous golden brown crust topped with goat cheese, caramelized onions, rosemary, pancetta and Balsamic glaze. The crust is a little thicker than some Neapolitan-style pizzas, especially the cornicione (an Italian term for the “lip” or puffy outer edge of the pizza) which is thick, soft and chewy. It’s also delicious with the flavor of freshly baked bread. The Alla Campagna’s ingredients provide wonderful taste contrasts which not only make it an interesting pizza, but a delicious one.

Alla Campagna

23 August 2016: Had anyone other than founding Friends of Gil (FOG) member Bruce Schor declared the eggplant Parmesan at M’tucci’s “better than Joe’s” (as in Joe’s Pasta House), I would have considered that either heresy or hokum. Bruce loves the eggplant Parmesan at Joe’s. Moreover, he’s a native New Yorker who really knows his eggplant Parmesan, so his opinion carries a lot of weight with me. It took me two days to make my way to M’tucci to sample what is indeed a fantastic eggplant Parmesan. This magnificent dish, available for both lunch and dinner, features two thick eggplant medallions topped with marinara sauce and house-fresh mozzarella. You can easily puncture the light and crispy breading with a spoon, but there’s nothing mushy about the interior of this dish, just a silky smooth, delicious eggplant. The sauce is redolent of tart and juicy fresh tomatoes, a perfect foil for the melted mozzarella. Now is M’tucci’s eggplant Parmesan better–or as good as–the eggplant Parmesan at Joe’s Pasta House? That’s a decision you, my dear readers, will have to make yourselves. Both are head and shoulders above any other in Albuquerque, but for me it would take a side-by-side comparison to decide.

Ever since our friends Tom and Ellyn Hamilton brought us two bags of freshly picked mushrooms, we’ve been cooking with the fleshy fungi, expanding our repertoire and exploring the vast possibilities of cooking with sumptuous shrooms. From cream of mushroom soup to beef Stroganoff, we’re planning on running the gamut as to what can be done with mushrooms: grilling, stuffing, breading, frying, roasting, braising and sauteing. A recent visit to Torinos @ Home has inspired us to try concocting Porcini Ravioli ourselves. Similarly, our visit to M’tucci’s in August, 2016 gave us yet another mushroom dish we can try preparing ourselves (though it’s unlikely we’ll match Chef Hass’s high standards.)

Pappardelle alla Crema di Porcini

27 August 2016: The Pappardelle alla Crema di Porcini (wild mushrooms, scallions, roasted chicken, Parmesan, Parmesan Porcini cream sauce, ribbon pasta) is a magnificent dish with the mushrooms shining so well, the roasted chicken is almost redundant. Hearty, nutty and earthy, the Porcini cream sauce is everything a strongly flavored mushroom sauce should be. The pappardelle noodles, large, flat and broad noodles, are perfectly prepared–neither al dente nor near mushy as pappardelle tend to be if not prepared correctly. The roasted chicken would normally have been the star of most dishes. Here it’s just a complementary ingredient, a delicious foil.

27 August 2016: Pappardelle noodles played an integral role in the special of the day, a magnificent dish so good it should make it to the standard menu. Picture three four-ounce heritage pork and lamb meatballs served over pappardelle ribbon noodles tossed in a tomato Agre Dolce (an Italian term for bitter-sweet) sauce. The dish is garnished with freshly shaved Parmesan. Our first bite of the meatballs challenged us to discern their composition. With notes similar to five spice powder, we finally had to ask our server to find out. It turns out the meatballs are made with nutmeg, cinnamon, garlic and sundry other spices. The meatballs were extraordinary with just enough filler to bind them, but mostly meat. The tomato Agre Dolce sauce was superb, punctuated with mint and Balsamic vinegar to help give the sauce their bitter-sweet flavor profile.  

Pappardelle Noodles and Meatballs

5 October 2021: During our many visits to the M’tucci’s family of restaurants, one Italian dish neither my Kim nor I recall ever seeing is spaghetti carbonara.  Perhaps M’tucci’s closest approximation to my favorite Italian dish is the Pasta Prosciutto “Ham and Peas” (Italian ham, fresh peas, asparagus, fresh onion, gorgonzola thyme cream sauce, house Campanelle pasta).  Like carbonara, it’s a very rich dish though better tempered by ingredients such as fresh peas, asparagus and micro-greens.  Among the many surprises this indulgent dish offers is how well the asparagus played with the gorgonzola thyme cream sauce.  

5 October 2021: In April, 2019, M’Tucci’s announced the availability of Chianina beef at all three of its locations.  Why the mayor didn’t declare the event a citywide holiday is beyond me.  Initially M’tucci’s used Chianina beef in the construction of its iconic meatballs, replacing wagyu beef (which is a bit ironic considering some consider Chianina to be “Italian wagyu”).  Our first opportunity to try the beatific beef was in the form of burgers from the Lava Rock Brewing Company (which is sadly no longer affiliated with M’tucci’s).

Pasta Prosciutto “Ham and Peas”

5 October 2021: While Lava Rock offered several burgers showcasing Chianina beef, M’tucci’s Italian Restaurant offers only one–the Chianina and Sackett Farms Burger (half-pound Chianina beef and heritage pork patty, caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms, aged mozzarella cheese, sesame seed bun).  In the spirit of full disclosure (and not solely because my burger was delivered at just a shade below charcoal), this burger was the very first item we’ve ever had at a M’tucci’s restaurant that wasn’t absolutely mouth-watering.  It’s a credit to the Chianina beef and Sackett Farms pork blend that I still ate more than half of it.  

So why didn’t we send it back?  As with so many restaurants impacted by Covid and economic woes, M’tucci’s was understaffed and as such, our entrees were slow to be delivered.  As all classy restaurants are wont to do, our entrees were comped.  Even at a degree of doneness only a masochist would enjoy, the burger wasn’t half bad.  We look forward to ordering the burger during a future visit and specifying medium-rare.  The truffle fries are a good accompaniment.

Chianina & Sackett Farms Burger With Truffle Fries


According to the M’tucci’s Facebook page, an ancient proverb once declared that if four or more desserts gather in one place, at one time, you will have the power to change the world. Whether or not that proverb rings with truth, one thing is for certain: desserts at this fantastic new Italian restaurant are fantastic. M’tucci’s inaugural pastry chef was Eric Moshier who was named America’s best new chef in 2000 by Food& Wine. Moshier has moved on, but the restaurant’s dessert offerings are still among the very best in Albuquerque.

5 October 2013: Desserts aren’t only spectacular, they’re inventive–some of the Duke City’s most unique and uniquely delicious pastries. The most inventive might be the Twinkie L’Italia which Cheryl Alters Jamison described as “zeppelin size fantasy of sponge cake with a cream-and-white-chocolate center under candied pecans and a caramel drizzle.” Fantasy is right! This is a terrific dessert. So is the Cannoli Di Sicilia (crispy cannoli shell, sweet ricotta filling, chocolate chips) with tantalizing citrus notes.

Torta De Panna Cotta

10 October 2013: Another transformative dessert is the Crostada De Limone, a lip-pursing lemon tart as artistic and beautiful to ogle as it is to eat. It’s one of few lemon tarts in the Duke City that’s actually made well in that it doesn’t reek of artificial ingredients and flavors. The lemon is actually allowed to taste like lemon, not artificial in the least. It’s the type of lemon dessert you might find in Florida.

27 August 2016: Of all Italian desserts, panna cotta may be the most delicate. While Italians tend to think nothing should sully its purity, American pastry chefs like to partner it with everything from fresh fruits to fresh fruit sauces. M’tucci’s Torta De Panna Cotta is an interesting variation on an Italian standard. In Italy, a torta is normally a pie consisting of a filling (sometimes even vegetables) enclosed in thin dough and baked in an oven. M’tucci’s torta is a chocolate Genoese cake topped with strawberry-rhubarb Jam with a single pine nut bark wedge leaning on the chocolatey creation. Delicious as we found the cake, we enjoyed the single pine nut bark most. The pine nuts are redolent with the roasted flavor of good piñon, intensely–sweet with a subtle hint of pine.


5 October 2021:  If there’s one Italian dessert that seems to be de rigueur it’s cannoli.  By and large most cannoli is pretty much the same as any other.  There are rarely any surprises.  We were delighted to have encountered one of the most surprising and delicious cannoli we’ve had in Albuquerque.  Instead of the predictable ricotta, the cannoli shell is impregnated with a honey and orange mascarpone and is served on a drizzle of cherry limoncello with roasted cherries.  These flavor combinations awakened and delighted our tastebuds and showed once again that restaurants need not strictly follow a template for preparing a dessert.

The restaurant’s coffee is made by Villa Myriam Specialty Coffee, a start-up franchise owned and operated by Juan and David Certain. The hand-picked Colombian Arabica bean is hand-roasted in Albuquerque. It’s an excellent coffee, best described on the Villa Myriam Web site: “A very intense fragrance and aroma with an exotic flavor and a medium to heavy body, very balanced cup with a strong character and very pleasant after taste. With nutty cacao and hints of caramel smokiness notes. With the richness and flavor that makes Colombian coffee famous.”

Two Scoops of Housemade Gelato

In its May, 2023 edition Albuquerque The Magazine awarded M’Tucci’s tiramisu a”Hot Plate Award.”  This award is bestowed by the editors and staff of the Magazine “for dishes, drinks, concepts, ideas or persons who are doing amazing things in our local culinary scene.”  The classic Italian dessert was described as putting “a signature twist on traditional elements.”

You can never have too many good, must less truly outstanding Italian restaurants in town. M’tucci’s Kitchina falls into the latter category. With a formula that includes great food and great fun, M’tucci’s Kitchina has the right stuff needed to succeed in a tough market.

M’tucci’s Italian Restaurant
6001 Winter Haven Road, N.W.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
(505) 503-7327
Web Site | Facebook Page
LATEST VISIT: 5 October 2021
1st VISIT: 5 October 2013
COST: $$ – $$$
BEST BET: Twinkie L’Italia, Chocolate Cannoli, Borlotti White Bean Soup, Fauxpaccio de Barbabietola Arrostite, Pan Seared Duck Breast, AL-BQ Italian Beef, Alla Campagna Pizza, Crostada de Limone, Seafood Risotto, Pappardelle con Salsiccia, Eggplant Parmesan, Cacio E Pepe, Pappardelle alla Crema di Porcini, Pappardelle Noodles and Meatballs, Golden Beet Salad, Torta De Panna Cotta

46 thoughts on “M’tucci’s Italian Restaurant – Albuquerque, New Mexico

  1. Went to M’Tucci Restaurante as the “Deli” closed at 6 (see Changes Comment https://tinyurl.com/y5ozx8zs). While there’s been a bit of a hiatus per visiting, nevertheless there is still a welcoming hostess to lead me to a nice two-top whereupon a server named Megan, promptly greeted me. (As an aside, I think she should really be named Sylvia…don’t know why…maybe it was her stylishly chic aura…, but it just struck me as so. Could’ve been a kind of Synesthesia?)
    Ordered and had a tasty, not too tart, house Margarita. Ordered the Salmon from their variegated menu as typically I can’t eat a mono-bowl of pasta, altho I’d often relish some as a side, e.g. with a Filet. The salmon was cooked as ordered, medium. Was fine; tasted “simple”. Same for the green spears. Alas, the melange of pieces of potatoes, with the keeping of their nutritious skins, had a nice (A+) “roasty” flavor. Also, but partially hidden per the presentation, was a minx of a delightful condiment that had the consistency somewhat of a homemade jam which brought to mind: You’re never too old to learn (experience something new)! Waving down my attentive server (I know… impulsively gross of me), after she’d already checked my well being, she shined as a true server by knowing it was Agrodolce (which I’d never heard of at the likes of…if they may have it…Joe’s, Trombino’s, let alone Olive Garden). Yo, she also readily spelled it when queried and explained it is likened as a Sweet n Sour sauce; indeed, its “late” sauciness is what caught my interest. All in all, continues as a worthy venue per food/service/ambiance easily reached from e.g. The East side as a straight shot down Montgomery onto Montano…e.g. 15 minutes from Louisiana.

  2. This weekend, I had a fantastic meal at M’Tucci’s – my inaugural visit. I don’t know why it took me so long to try this place.

    I had the 5-pork Bolognese and an antipasto with Salami, Abruzzi Salami, olives, and artichokes.

    The Antipasto was wonderful – and that house-cured Abruzzi salami was about the best salami I have ever eaten. I need to try a sandwich made with that stuff. They should leave Santa Claus Abruzzi salami and a beer instead of cookies and milk. He will be so much happier.

    The 5-pork Bolognese was a very ample portion (and I’m a big eater) of one of the tastiest and new things I have ever put in my mouth. Those pigs give up their lives for something noble! It was super rich and flavorful. It was so rich in fact that I’m not sure I could have eaten more of it. But I started craving it the very next day. Tender morsels in the very flavorful ragu and ribbon pasta made for a memorable meal.

    In the immortal words of Ahhhnold – “I’ll be back.”

  3. The food was overpriced. The wait staff over friendly. Items never heard of and romaine lettuce served as large, whole pieces, you have to cut up ? Come on. Not returning!

  4. Oh yes!!! M’Tucci’s Kitchina is a must visit if you’re in that part of the world. Love their décor and I’ve heard people referring to the masks, but hardly anyone knows they’re Venetian! If you like spicy food, this restaurant has a large variety of flavor to tantalize your palate. I’ve tried their Risotto Carnaroli de Pesce, but you can try their pizza or pasta, because they are mouthwatering too. For dessert, either the tiramisu or any cake. And I love their delivery bus!!

  5. Last week I had a craving for Italian food while my wife was away.
    Took myself over to Joe’s Pasta House and had their half Gorgonzola salad, which is the size of a large salad anywhere else, and Joe’s fabulous chicken parm. Brought home enough leftovers for a good chicken parm sandwich. My needs for an infusion of back east red sauce Italian food was more than satisfied. I told Joe his food was a lot less expensive than a trip back to NY and every bit as good.
    This past Thursday the craving continued so it was off to m’tucci’s with a friend who had never been there.
    Everything on the menu interested me, all sounded so good.
    Opted for the eggplant Parmesan with a side of pasta and except for needing a bit of marinara for the pasta the dish was outstanding in every way.
    Crispy rounds of eggplant perfectly cooked to a soft interior were so good.
    My friend and I shared some outstanding arancini, a great starter. My friend raved about her pasta dish.
    Add to the mix a terrific waitstaffer whose knowledge, attitude and smile, were an added plus to the great food. Alana had waited on me at the original Kactus Brewery location in Bernalillo, then Torino’s @ home, and finally m’Tucci’s there by earning her PH.D. In hospitality and food service.
    I told a foodie friend the eggplant parm was the best I had in a long time.
    He said “better than Joe’s?” Well, yes it was.
    And I really like Joe’s.

  6. RE Saturday’s FOG here: Arrived early at 6:30 cuz wanted to pass a few ideas to a barman for his getting an intro to a local news gal, before I met up later with The FOGies. Whoa! that wasn’t going to happen as the bar along with its 2-Tops were rocking, elbow to elbow, even after “Happy Hour”! Despite ‘Oh, The Crush of Humanity’, I readily got a beverage to then make my way to our setups in “The Grotto” which graciously awaited us, albeit emptily, even tho it could have easily been filled for 20 while awaiting us, given all the tables in the restaurant were full.
    (I swear, while ambling over, I saw Dr. Barry Ramo and, if so, it perhaps speaks well that M’TK’s must have some heart-healthy offerings?)
    – Had the Pappardella alla Cremi di Porcini. As was a 1st time so can’t compare, but was tasty and chock full of taste bits to enhance the pasta. Dang, forgot to catch what others had, but looked well consumed…LOL
    – Wait staff: Per Comments here and elsewhere and with all do respect to FOGies “being known from whence we came”: I have previously noted my experiencing the wait staff here to be a cut above other places. The Guy we had that night continued to fit that mold in terms of demeanor, attentiveness, and going ‘extra’, i.e. besides serving us all together, he accommodated a request for separate checks at the height of the ‘rush hour’. Also, I swear he must’ve been wired to call in a drink refill so that by the time he made it way across the house, the drink was ready for him to pick up in the busy bar and return it!

  7. To clarify my comments to Mr. Long.
    I readily accept critical comments regarding restaurants I’ve enjoyed.
    What I object to as a born and raised NYer is Long’s need to his perceived arrogance on the owners being NYers even though the wife of the ownership team is frm ABQ.
    It’s stupid stereotyping based on a dislike for the NY Yankess by a still despondent Bosox fan who hasn’t gotten over the Bosox selling Babe Ruth to the Yanks and the 1986 fiasco against the Mets.
    Silly at best.

  8. Whao…time flies…guess its been about 6 months. Eeek! Sorry to hear of such wait staff experiences as I’ve particularly touted them as amongst tops in ABQ in the past.
    If I may…while there are great Italians on the other side of town, if Y’all have missed it, just down the road and forever, I’ve found Mimmo’s to offer “heavy” “down home” plates reminiscent of neighborhood places in New England. Just up the road, some find the style of Zio’s to their taste. If ya have a moment, try some “old world” ambiance/plates/service just a ways up in Rio Rancho at Joe’s Pasta House https://www.nmgastronome.com/?p=177.

  9. I think G Long has a point regarding the general environment. I’ve only gone to this restaurant twice. Even though the food was good, the menu was interesting, and the restaurant is near my home, I am just not interested in returning. Why? Because I have also picked up on that feeling of arrogance.

    The first time, the person dining with me had a question about something on the menu. The server acted like it was the dumbest question she’d ever heard. I expected an eyeroll at any moment. The service for the remainder of the meal was lackluster at best, though the food was very well executed.

    The second time, the pasta was definitely undercooked– I’m a big fan of al dente but this was ridiculous, you could see a definite core of uncooked pasta inside. We could not get our waiter’s attention until the meal was half over, and when we brought it to his attention, he informed us that’s how their pasta is cooked. We asked them to take it off the bill then, and they did not.

    I can make good food at home. Part of what I expect when I dine out is to feel welcome and relaxed. I didn’t feel that way there, so I drive right past it as I go on across the river to the other side of town for dinner.

  10. Long/Lnng, (your confusion not mine)
    You just keep assuming and assuming.
    You probabally hate the Yankees for 26 or 27 reasons, not to mention the sale of the Bambino, the great Babe Ruth, to the Yankees, and I’m no Yankee fan, again you are just assuming.
    I did love the ’86 World Series with the Bill Buckner error leading to the Mets improbable win. Still must stick in your assuming craw, eh?
    You’ve been to M’Tuccis 25 times which makes you something of an assuming glutton for punishment. My use of the term nasty NYers was dripping with sarcasm which flew way over your head.
    25 visits to determine you don’t like a restaurant is truly as laughable as it is improbable.

  11. Gee G now that you have alienated all of NYC with your comment regarding “NYC arrogant approach” I wonder if you have ever visited the Big Apple?
    I wonder if your smear of NYers is a real or exaggerated stereotype?
    Having dined at M’Tucci and having distinctly different experiences Including staffing that goes beyond accommodating I can’t help think there may be something else that is causing your reaction.
    Restaurants like M’T’s don’t survive AND thrive without coupling good eats with a welcoming ambiance.
    And everytime I’ve been there the “arrogant” owners are patrolling the dining room making sure everything is up to their standards.
    Maybe you should make Dion’s and Dominos your go to Italian places, and that way you don’t have to be subjected to those nasty New Yorkers. I don’t think they’ll miss you.

    1. Gee FGFABQ, you sound like that arrogant New Yorker I spoke of. Been there many times and I don’t like the fact that they tend to buy their World Series championships either. We in Boston earn ours and those Yankees keep trying to take our players. You seem like the type who enjoys arrogance so I’m sure they will want you to stay as a customer, so they can keep dishing it out while you keep arrogantly paying for that type of service. I don’t do Dominos, so I’ll leave that to you on the days you’ve had enough arrogance and are just itching for some normality, but if I have to stick with Dion’s as my Italian place, so be it, as least they are customer oriented…you stick with your “nasty New Yorkers” (by the way, that was your words, not mine) and keep going back to M’T’s for your arrogant fine dining pleasure…as long as you keep paying for that, they would love to have you…

  12. Extremely pricy…You get nickeled and dimed for anything. The portion size is extremely small for the amount charged. We have gone there several times and ordered a specific item, but when asked why there was only a quarter sized amount of topping instead of covered like normal, we were charged an extra $2 for a “side food.” When we asked what it was, we were told someone in charge has decided to charge for it. When we asked to speak with that person, we were told no. I told the waiter that we would never go into that restaurant again with that type of response and for him to tell the person that added that small, yet improper charge, especially when the extra (if you must call it that) amount was less than a tablespoon, that we would go elsewhere from no on, he went to the back yet just brought back the bill with the charge still attached. The waiter said, “See you next time,” but I responded that it would never happen. When they have messed up on my order before, they have never reduced the price or made any concessions at all. I think it is because it ownership has the NYC arrogant approach to dealing with people and it runs all through the staff. In my case, there was absolutely no reason for the upcharge, no matter how small, and even the waiter agreed, but could not and would not remove it, even after I told them it would result in my never coming back. They told me how they were expanding and had all the business they could handle. I take that to mean they really don’t care about the customers…maybe that is what they mean about being upscale…poppycock, I say!!! Hope you choke on it…I can only hope the rest of their “customers” understand just how important they are to the NYC business and take their business where it could be appreciated.

    1. I just counted the number of times we have been to M’Tucci’s-13 and the number of times we have been subjected to an arrogant attitude-0. All of the servers have always bent over backwards to please us with the full encouragement of very professional owners. I am sure though that Jeff can respond in kind if approached with an attitude.
      The restaurant is not dirt cheap (that type of food just wouldn’t be cheap) but it is far from the most expensive in Albuquerque. I have even paid much more at Pappadeaux (a chain fish & chips place) that I have ever paid at M’Tucci’s.

      1. Jim, no one said the resturant was cheap and no one compared it to Pappadeaux’s (another over-priced eating establishment). What was said was they nickle and dime you to death. Even when they mess up, and everyone does, they don’t try to fix the problem. They don’t basically care for the customer. I’ve beat you, I’ve been there from the time the doors opened and have been there over 25 times, but the arrogance of “we are doing you a favor” doesn’t cut it with me as a consumer. I don’t like it and won’t go back to that type of treatment because I won’t accept that, even if they were to pay me…

  13. For the vast majority of people who no longer take the Journal, this mornings paper announced that Mr Spiegel will open a new restaurant, M’Tucci’s Latin Cocina at the Hispanic Cultural Center, probably in May.

    By the way, because of the disgusting way I think, I suspect that the name M’Tucci’s, comes from “kiss m’tucci.” This I am sure will never be confirmed by anybody in authority

  14. The Pappardelle con Salsiccia is no longer on the menu, but the head chef made a plateful specially for me. What a fabulous dish!
    The sauce is a blend of chicken stock with white wine and is liberally laced with fresh lemon zest that provides a fine finish. Be sure to get some bread to sop up every delicious drop of this sauce.
    This dish has made its way onto my Best Dishes of 2015 List. Beg for it. Often. Maybe it will be returned to the dinner menu.

      1. Thank you Larry! We dropped by last night and I took your suggestion. The Pappardelle con Salsiccia is absolutely wonderful and I usually avoid pasta dishes at restaurants.

  15. NYC Italian Deli Lovers! McTucci’s Kitchen is targeting this Fall to also open one a couple of doors down featuring counter items of homemade meats and cheeses and other deli items and a few tables for folks to enjoy a sandwich. “People from New York who have these delis imprinted in their souls, they’ll walk in and feel they’ve been transplanted back to Arthur Avenue in the (or da – “Ed’s” note) Bronx.” says the ’07 transplants in Friday’s Journal.

  16. Alas…my first bit of a letdown, but I’m sure easily adjusted. Reminiscing about Philippe’s French Dip in LA with a friend and seeing Gil’s pic of the AL-BQ Italian Beef sandwich, were too much to resist this Lunchtime offering! Indeed the beef was tender and nicely/thinly sliced, but, and despite my rep for being cheap, was pushin’ it for 11 bucks given the serving size, e.g. vs Itsa Italian Ice’s Green Chile Philly Steak https://www.nmgastronome.com/?p=3570. Also, hate to say it, but altho the M’TK’s green chile topping looked nice, it really needs to rechecked for flavor and heat, albeit the pickled carrots mixed in did add an ‘interesting’ tang. In contrast to Gil’s suggestion to ask for “wet” per the awkward size of ramekins at most places for dipping, I’d suggest spooning the tasty au jus to maintain the integrity of the bun. The side of home chips and the Italian Lemonade were great along with the usual fine service.

    A Heads-up re Cinco de Mayo: The Uncle of M’TK’s Chef Haas, Chef Juan Aguacate, will join him to create a prix fixe menu (with/without tequila/beer/wine pairings) for May 5th & 6th, lest one might wish to make reservations!

  17. We finally made it by last night and I wish it had not been so long. I ate the slow braised shank of dead pig which was made into a delicious, tender and filling stew. Being a pig myself I ate it all.

    My better half loved her Shrimp, Lobster & Crab Cannelloni and, being who she is, we had half of it more breakfast this morning. I turned it into a traditional New Mexican Breakfast with a side of steamed asparagus and scrambled egg with green chile, onion and diced avocado seasoned with basil and oregano.

    I had a nice talk with the male half of the co-owners who confirmed his 11 restaurants in NYC but he made it easy on himself by never running over six at the same time.

    I agree with your 23 rating.

  18. Alas, El Brute: “quiet”?: Me (of all people?) couldn’t think of a better word as it wasn’t exactly tasteless nor negatively overpowering in flavor. It added to the banger, but I can’t describe how….LOL
    ~Polenta? Sorry, “didn’t do” anything for me, but again didn’t find that as a negative as I munched up half of it!
    ~Speaking too young for an older diner? Yes, those catch-phrases are pretty endemic across ABQ and and elsewhere. My Sis, just a tad less aged than I in MA, has been using “aaahsome” for 10-15 years!!!! Geez Louise! ‘Absolutely’ and ‘You-got-it’ are several years newer! How about retroing to youthful things “of my day” like “Bitchin choice!” which shocked my New England sensibilites when off to college in CA…LOL
    ~Older Diners looking for deferential treatment? Au Contraire! That was the Primo thing that Jarad oozed, albeit not overly sugary/patronizingly, and would charaterize other M’T staff as well in contrast to a lot of other places.
    ~Get an absolutely, awesome Prius? Big Al thanks you….wherever he is in hiding nowadays. I Thank You so I can drive around in my FireBird and get a Thumbs Up from some of those yang-thangs you think I can’t be in sync with! LMAO! (Pardon, I’m off to my patio now to catch some rays too!!!)

  19. I’ve been waiting to go a couple of times to M’Tucci’s to write a review. First time was a couple of months ago. I had the grilled hanger steak with mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus. Very tasty and tender. In a word? Delicious. The wife had spaghetti and meatballs. I don’t know how something so simple could be that good, but it was pretty darn good. Dessert…well, I’ll get to that.

    Second time was for Valentine’s Day. We decided to go for a late luch/early dinner. The only dissappointment was they were serving the luch menu (although, I have to admit, I did not ask if I could order off the dinner menu). I had the green chile grilled pork tenderloin sandwich. Very good sandwich. My dissapointment in not having dinner options quickly faded. Very tasty (and quite piquant) green chile, a perfectly cooked breaded pork tenderloin, very good pickles, letuce, tomato…MMMM. The wife had the spaghetti and meatballs – she wanted to try something else, but decided it was just too good to not have again.

    Dessert – both this time and last time – consisted of the twinkie. OMG! This is one of the better desserts I can recall having (bested only by the sweet crepes at Chez Bob). My wife even loved it, and she is not into sweets very much (again, the sweet crepes at Chez Bob being a HUGE exception).

    Service was attentive without being intrusive both times.

    M’Tucci’s is starting to become one of our go to places – convenient since we live off of Coors and I-40.

  20. BOTVOLR,
    I’m curious what you meant when you posted the marscarpone was “quiet”? Marscarpone is very simply Italian cream cheese ala Philadelphia brand except that it is sweeter. So your use of “quiet” is confusing.
    Polenta when done well is a treat for me, one of my all time favorite dishes is a creamy polenta with wild mushrooms and a great brown sauce. I asked the chef who created the dish what his secret for creamy polenta included and he said he uses milk not broth or water when boiling to get the polenta very creamy and finishes it with a touch of cream. A very rich treat.
    You seemed very satisfied with your waitperson, Jarad.
    I can’t really tell if you were hit with “aaahsome”, “you got it” and “absolutely” during this latest visit. Is this glitch in service limited to M’Tucci or epidemic in ABQ? The wait staff I’ve encountered is primarilly made up of younger types and it’s understandable their manner of speaking may be too young for older diners who are looking for deferential treatment based on their advancing years.
    Perhaps a Prius is needed to get you over the bridge to the 21st century, that would be really absolutely awesome. Got it?

  21. Stopped in mid-week to an almost packed dining room even before 6…people wishing to avoid the V-Day crowds?
    ~ I think it is a Hoot or some kind of Karma that the 5 times I’ve been, I’ve been seated as a single, 4X by chance at the same pleasant table, i.e. not at a 2 top smashed against a wall; one time I chose the bar.
    Ventured off the beaten track to order the Grilled Sausage with creamy polenta and mascarpone. Not having had the latter 2 before: the mascarpone was “quiet”, but a dip seemed to enhance the sausage. The polenta? It seemed right on, but I’m not a polenta person apparently. (If truth be known? I’da preferred a plate of plain Angel Hair that I could slather with melthing butter to accompany the more ‘Mano’ sausage!) The sausage: the prick of the fork gave a nice ‘snap’. This banger/link/wurst was nicely ‘compact’ having also a good ‘grit’, texture wise. While my palate is not as sophisticated as most Commentators to tease out the spices of the sausages, they were to a “T”!
    ~ Waitstaff/Service: I think M’TK’s are superior to most in The City. My guy Jarad was the Best (but only if I was forced to choose)so far not only re myself but how he accommodated a a couple with pre-toddlers and didn’t shine off a guest in a large party catching his eye per her table “not being in his section”. Note to waitstaff in general if I may, however. Thank goodness “No Problema!” seems to be fading! Let’s lay to rest the use of “Absolutely”, “You got it!”, and most of all, “Aaahsome!” Or am I wrong!?!?
    ~ Heads up: Lest Y’all haven’t been in awhile, there have been some “refinements” in menu items, if I’m not mistaken, possibly to the delight of some more refined Westsiders, if there is such a thing, (see Grilia: http://www.kitchinaabq.com/dinner.html) who are willing to also pay the price .

  22. Third visit to M’Tucci last nite and they continue to impress.
    6:30 reservation, seated at 6:30 and they were already crowded.
    Service was terrific, the food was delivered very quickly.
    Group of 6 and everybody enjoyed everything ordered.
    Another restaurant with hands on leadership by the owners who kept making the rounds making sure that everything was running smoothly.
    A great polenta appetizer and equally good calamari, the best I’ve had in New Mexico.
    Entrees were excellent and unanimously praised.
    And then there was the tiramisu, wow, so good.
    A word or two about the service.
    For a restaurant that’s always busy the service was attentive without being intrusive. The food comes out perfectly cooked and in an incredibly time fashion. Our waiter was knowlegable, agreeable and amazingly efficient.
    Everything added up to an exceptionally dining experience and by the way there were 2 back east Italian gentlemen who were likewise impressed by this Italian eatery, enough said.

  23. Gil,

    I forgot to let you know about M’Tucci’s Kitchina’s most recent guest chef dinners. I think it’s ok since we were sold out for both evenings. But nonetheless, I regret not letting you know in advance.

    On November 22 and 23, Jason Kapela, the owner and Chef of Louie’s Wine Dive with restaurants in Kansas City, Des Moines and Omaha, was guest chef for two evenings: an Italian Wine Dinner and an eclectic New Mexico Meets Iowa. The Italian dinner was built around a porchetta of a suckling pig which was pretty wonderful. Jason was our Chef and Partner, John Haas’s mentor earlier in his career.


    On Tuesday and Wednesday January 22nd and 23rd , 2014, we will have our next such event. This one will feature Richard Matteucci and Don Ostermiller. Richard is a life long friend and an excellent Italian cook. He has cooked for both Presidents Bush. Don is a sculptor renowned for his animal figures of all kinds.

    In 2014, after Richard and Don, we will continue with our guest chef program, with Tamara Murphy and others. Tamara currently owns Terra Plata in Seattle. Previously she owned Brasa for 10 years where she was selected as the James Beard Society award winner for best Chef in the northwest. Before that, she was sous chef in one of our NYC restaurants, Extra! Extra!, where she cooked under our Chef Christine Keff. Chris was our first guest chef in August and opened with me our first three NYC restaurants. Like Tamara, Chris was selected as best Chef in the Northwest for her work at her Seattle restaurant, Flying Fish.

    Just wanted to keep you abreast.

    Best Regards,

    Jeff Spiegel
    M’Tucci’s Kitchina

  24. We came for a pre-Thanksgiving meal with my Dad and decided to share all of our dishes, so we could have a sampling. We ordered the Quadrefiore alla Carbonara, the Cannelloni and the Polenta e Salsicce. All were delicious – with the sauce on the cannelloni (red chile and marinara) being a favorite and the sausage (nice and crisp, not greasy) and polenta being a perfect winter’s night meal. The Carbonara was delicious too, except for a few fatty pieces of guinciale – sadly, I was the one who bit into those.

    What I really loved about the restaurant was the fact that it was not all pasta. Even though gluten-free pasta is available, it just makes the menu that much more friendly to the group to offer meat-based entrees, so that all different cravings can be met. Great bar selection too – good choice to have Left Hand Milk Stout on the draft menu, but maybe a few more local brews would be good too.

    I am not particularly fond of the location/decor and thought that maybe the large size of the dining area allowed the food to cool down fairly quickly – my only complaint, really.

    If we’re ever on the west side and need a meal, we’ll choose here. Maybe an east side location is in the works?

  25. Per one Daughter/S-i-L needing to visit ‘his side’ tomorrow, meant for us to gather tonight which gave the opportunity to eat Italian per my preference…”Chinese style”! I.e. we passed around servings of Quadrefiore alla Carbonara…quite sabrosa, Cannelloni Ricotta E Spinaci…the marinara “con NM Red” was great, and the Polenta E Salsicce…which is quite different in my experience per enjoying the sorta drier/slightly ‘crisp’ texture as a change of pace. Dang, forgot to get the very new waitstaff’s name, but, besides his good service, he remembered the days of Harvey Wallbangers which served well after dinner tonight, i.e. they do have Galliano as any Italian joynt should for e.g. a pour in your coffee! “Chow!”

  26. Dinner at M’Tucci last night was more of an adventure than the first time.
    The difference was the service affected by a rather large group of at least 20+ patron who were ordering their meals at the same time we were doing the same.
    Three grilled Caesar salads came to the table as house salads and had to be replaced.
    My roast chicken (highly recommended) came to the table as something else but not with the sides of grilled asparagus and mashed potatoes. I inquired why the mashed potatoes were replaced by spaghetti and were they out of asparagus and that’s when I was told it was the wrong dish. Doh!
    It was replaced but everyone else had their main dishes by that point.
    The bill was split into the three couples and two, not mine were mixed up and required some adjustment by the two folks who got them.
    The food, from my fried polenta appy, the grilled caesar,to the gnocci, to the paparadelle plates and the salmon special were terrific.
    The other couples were surprised by bread being an option at additional cost, as was I on our first visit.
    Desserts included the twinkie Italiana, the tiramisu, and a lemon tart and were terrific.
    The two couples who had not been to M’Tucci said they would absolutely return.
    Just try to avoid the place when they have large groups coming in while you are too.
    It may be difficult, it’s a very popular spot.

  27. Sounds like you enjoyed the experience although I think that any comparison with Joe’s Pasta House seems to be a stretch. Joe’s is the epitome of neighborhood Italian, great dishes like chicken parm and meatballs and spaghetti. Large portions that can be taken home for great leftover dining.
    M’Tucci is a notch above in terms of ambiance and the specials are much more ambitiously upscale. Not as homey as Joe’s.
    I also wonder why bread is for sale like an option on an automobile. Are restaurants tossing out more uneaten bread from diners who are watching their weight. M’Tucci isn’t big on red sauce from what I tell from their menu whereas Joe’s is a mostly traditional red sauce eatery.
    And if anyone is thinking there is no fine dining in Italian restaurants they really should try Torino’s.
    Foie Gras is not what you would expect to find at Joe’s or M’Tucci, but Maxime does do a fabulous version.
    When I arrived in Albuquerque I asked a NY transplant of Italian descent what was his favorite Italian restaurant. He replied without hesitation The Olive Garden. We’ve come a long way in a relatively short time with the likes of Torinos, M’Tucci and Joes PH. A very long way.

  28. Can’t remember which restaurant I’d last been to in this site which tried valiantly to make it, but the first thing that struck me this weekend was the grand ‘renovation/reincarnation’ that’s occurred of what was formerly a very large, blah room engendering ennui. I know, I know, it’s supposed to be all about the food and I’m kinda reneging on my bias for Sullivan’s principle of “Form follows Function” as epitomized by my first TV http://tinyurl.com/lvbpa3v ,but……LOL
    The separation of the now new bar/eats area from the dining area gives the latter a sense of ‘coziness’ akin to being in a fine dining restaurant (even tho some might argue “Can you really say that about eating Italian?” Oh come on! Don’t send me letters as Leno is wont to say.)
    Seriously? just cuz ya add cloth napkins? Or cuz ya add synced-dressed wait staff who flit/bustle about attending to your satisfaction, but are not overly fawning trying to make you BFFs? (My Gal, well waitress, handled my ‘older man to younger gal like’ chit-chat with notable aplomb!) To all that, they add a fine Menu to achieve the FD designation, despite all of us being dressed-down in our ABQ “finery”.
    I chose the Shrimp Diavolo which appeared in a timely manner despite the ‘house’ being about 85% full at 5:30 (reservation hint on a Sat. night) Aha! Tied with Joe’s PH. Both sauces twang your palate from the gitgo. Uh oh, Joe’s red chile(?)and green parsley(?)flecks on his bowl’s lip bring a festivity to the offering and he offers a more reasonably priced, bountiful house salad as a side option. Joe also throws in some bread and OO dip. Isn’t comped bread in an Italian Joynt like Chips n Salsa most elsewhere? Aha…M’Tuccis ‘recovers’ with a significantly lower price Entree and the option of a ‘mixed’ (pricey?) cocktail!!!! Ambiance? Equal, tho wildly different. Background music about equal: JPH excellent, live classical/jazz guitarist; MTK nice mix of, albeit recorded, jazz. Staff? Both put many places to shame. Bottom Line? I think this ‘space’ has more than met its match for a lasting tenant! “Chow!”

  29. Yo, while it is nice/humbling to be homaged (no matter how small), we all know that is ‘code’; i.e. Cartering about lusting in your updated heartstuff for The Linda. Indeed, my heart thrives on her Texas Lady-like, oozing of enthusiasm which doesn’t cause parents to squirm while kids are in the room and simply enhances the plethora of things making living here…er… enchanting, including, e.g. going beyond the pleasures of a GCCB or a Footlong (NM Red) Chile Cheese Dog from the Dog House!
    Speaking of Italian, let me use that segue to alert aficionados/lovers of things Pasta, that Anthony of the Classic (i.e. longest running ad for 13 years) has been revived!!! Alas, and pardon for being a stick-in-the-mud or being Anti-”Change” (no pun ‘intended’), I prefer the original version of…”If it’s Wednesday, it’s Prince Spaghetti Day!!!” as can be seen here http://tinyurl.com/in79233 with the updated one!
    BTW, I hope some Commentator of McTucci’s can affirm it is a true Italian joynt because in their liquor stock, there is an alluringly golden bottle of Galliano from which a splash can be floated onto one’s after dinner coffee or used to make a Harvey Wallbanger of yore as an appetizement! (FYI: the story goes, it was named after a surfer surnamed Harvey who’d bang his head against a bar wall in Manhattan Beach, CA lest he lost a surfing competition.)
    As always,

  30. My wife, our son and his girlfriend and I had dinner last evening at M’Tuccis .
    A bit of a schlep at “rush hour” but well worth it.
    We quickly ordered a mushroom pizza and my son’s favorite, fried calamari both coming quickly to the table while we ordered the rest of our meal.
    I know I’ve said that I would never order fried calamari again in NM mainly because it’s almost always calamari strips but what intrigued me was the description referring to it as “east coast squid” and that it was.
    Tentacles and rings lightly breaded and done very well,served with both an alioi sauce and a good marinara.
    Everyone at the table enjoyed it along with a very good slice of the mushroom pizza and both served as appetizers and certainly were enough.
    I shared the bean soup with my wife and it surely warmed me up as any comfort food would.
    The one menu item I would pass up is the Gorgonzola Salad, a rather uninspired version with iceberg lettuce, bacon shards and a Gorgonzola dressing. Boring is the description that comes to mind.
    Mains included my wife’s pork shank which in Linda Beaver’s terms will wow ya( a small homage to BOTVOLR). Served with excellent mashed potatoes it looked majestic when it arrived at table.
    The girlfriend had the salmon, shrimp, mussels special and it looked wonderful.
    My son of simple palette has the meatballs and spaghetti and enjoyed that too.
    I had the Paparadell with a cream sauce. The pasta was perfectly prepared just slightly, very slightly past the true al dente.
    I would have preferred a bit more sauce but that’s nit picking.
    The Kansas Ciity made bread disappeared in a flash.
    We all shared the terrific tiramisu which rivals the best I’ve had in NM.
    Service was concerned, attentive and not overly saccherine.
    As I’ve said before I’m not happy with cloyingly friendly waitstaffs.
    The staff at M’Tuccis was great.
    Go try it for yourselves, another excellent find by Gil.

  31. H and I finally made it over to M’Tucci’s over the weekend, and had an excellent experience. Appetizers: Calamari Fritti (very nice – light, crispy batter, a bit of heat from pepper flakes, accompanied by aioli and a really good marinara that made me regret not ordering the spaghetti) and Fried Brie, which was nice and crispy.

    I had their house-made grilled sausage, which had great flavor (although I wish there was some fat in it — it was a little crumbly), on top of a delicious creamy polenta and a few dabs of mascarpone. Some kind of veg (braised kale?) would have really made the dish, but everything on the plate was fantastic.

    H ordered the special, which was grilled salmon. I normally don’t order salmon at restaurants because it’s invariably either dry and chewy or insipid, and H doesn’t usually eat salmon but is on a “eat things you don’t normally eat” kick. I’m pleased to report that the salmon was terrific — perfectly cooked, with a tasty crust on the outside and moist and flavorful on the inside. One of the things I measure a restaurant by is how well the chef cooks fish, and M’Tucci’s gets a solid A for this salmon.

    Dessert was the day’s special, pineapple upside-down cake, and I couldn’t not try the Italian Twinkie. Both were great. The cake could have used a bit of caramelization on top, but had intense pineapple flavor and accompanied by a dollop of vanilla ice cream and cooked cherries – yum. The twinkie was exactly what I hoped it would be, that’s all I can say about that.

    While my first love for Italian food in ABQ remains Torino’s, H and I very much enjoyed M’Tucci’s and will be back. I find both restaurants interesting in the twists they put on their Italian cuisine — Torino’s with its French influences and M’Tucci’s New Mexican spin. I haven’t had this kind of Italian/New Mexican fusion before, but I think it’s a match made in heaven.

  32. I live nearby this restaurant. My husband and I are regulars already and cannot eat enough of their gourmet Italian food!

  33. Joined Sensei and Boomer for a wonderful Italian lunch. I had the mushroom pizza with truffle oil that was really good. The dough was like eating sweet bread cooked wonderfully. It was joined by outstanding Columbia coffee. We started with fresh grilled bread bread with a light bit of oil. They have great deserts, I sat out for that and watched. I am looking forward to coming here for dinner, I feel the organic Ribeye calling my name or perhaps the Grilled Chicken. Great food and Servers, glad I came! Till next time…

  34. The tiramisu, built up in a martini glass, is a welcome depart from the usual sliced sheet cake version. And, it delicious!

  35. I’m salivating as I read this! It all sounds devine. Can’t wait to go back, the calamari is also a fabulous appetizer and the chocolate “lava” cake is out of this world. We’ve not had a bad meal there and we’ve been many times. Wonderful restaurant, excellent service. A real plus for the West side in particular!!!

  36. Gil, I need to not look at your website first thing before breakfast. Pan-seared duck breast? I am there. I haven’t had a good Italian Beef in years. And that Twinkie L’Italia looks…compelling.

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