Gigi Italian Bistro – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

Gigi Italian Bistro

If you can go through with what Gordon Ramsey puts you through
there’s nothing much more you can do.
I mean the berating from that guy is unbelievable,
but the reward is even greater.”
Chef Robert Hesse

Veni, Vedi, Veci (I came, I saw, I conquered):  Chef Robert Hesse, the superstar consulting chef who launched Gigi left Albuquerque in February, 2019. The review below was based on three visits to Gigi when Chef Hesse prepared our meals.  In light of his departure, I have removed the rating of “26” I accorded Gigi and will update my review accordingly after my next visit.

Chef Robert Hesse isn’t the man he used to be. In fact, he’s literally and figuratively a shadow of his former self. Once tipping the scales at over 600 pounds and espousing the attitude that you should “never trust a skinny chef,” he’s now a svelte and fit 155-pound inspiration to caloric overachievers everywhere. I didn’t recognize him when he escorted The Dude and I to Gigi’s covered patio. Later when he dropped by and visited with The Dude, I thought “wow, Gigi’s host is really kind to dogs.” Even when he ferried over a plateful of mozzarella, ham and pepperoni for my debonair dachshund, I had no clue this man was the world-famous celebrity chef we had seen on Hell’s Kitchen as well as the Food Network’s Chopped and Beat Bobby Flay. It was only later when I asked Jay, our genial server and aspiring chef, for the restaurant’s “backstory” that I put two and two together.

If you’re a fan of Gordon Ramsay’s popular Fox reality series Hell’s Kitchen, you undoubtedly remember Chef Robert Hesse who appeared in seasons five and six.   Fittingly, Chef Hesse had a bigger than life personality, giving back as good as he got against formidable (and often cut-throat) competition.  He also had serious health problems, suffering three heart attacks before age 34.  In 2009, he left Hell’s Kitchen to focus on a healthful lifestyle, eventually undergoing life-saving gastric bypass surgery.  Along with healthy eating and exercise, he’s now one of those skinny chefs he once railed against.

Chef Hesse Brings a Meatball to The Dude

Chef Hesse’s real backstory isn’t that he once was fat, but now is thin. It’s even more than the cliche rags to riches and pulling yourself up by the bootstraps accounts Americans find so heroic though both maxims apply. Chef Hesse is, in every conceivable way, a survivor. Orphaned by his mother at age three, he surmounted the mean streets of Brooklyn, a dangerous drug habit then bitter incarceration at the infamous Ryker’s Island. As a condition of his release, a judge sent him to California where he landed a job washing dishes at the French Laundry, then (and still) regarded as one of the best restaurants in the world.

Jacques, one of the chefs at the French Laundry saw something in Hesse and took him under his wing. He gave the foundling increased responsibilities and taught him the nuances of such important chef skills as inventory management and selecting fish. Noting his young apprentice’s incentive driven nature, he challenged Hesse to obtain his GED, offering him $2000 if he did so. After Hesse obtained the GED, Jacques asked him to write a 200 word essay explaining why he would like to become a chef. Because of the heartfelt earnestness and obvious passion of the essay, Hesse earned a full scholarship to culinary school where he displayed an extraordinary acumen for cooking.

Zucchini Crostoso

By the time Chef Hesse was 27, he had worked in kitchens in 34 states and 4 countries. He’s created and helmed restaurant concepts throughout the country and consulted for five star properties, casinos and local mom and pop establishments. Still, what most of us are most curious about is the bombastic nature and fiery temper of Michelin star chef Gordon Ramsay for whom he worked for ten years. Chef Hesse couldn’t be more complimentary about his former boss, crediting him for much of his success and drive. Worn around Hesse’s neck are plastic dog tags inscribed with the four essential chef values he learned from Ramsay: sacrifice, standards, balls and discipline. These values define Chef Hesse’s approach and his passion for cooking.

Ever cognizant of his roots, he’s driven to give back. Though he’s had such glamorous stints as executive chef at the Playboy Mansion and has launched restaurant concepts throughout the fruited plain, at his essence he’s a regular guy who caught a few breaks. Giving back, not getting accolades, is what’s most important to him. Over the years he’s helped many mom-and-pop shops start off on a solid footing before moving on to another project. He’s helped countless chefs just starting off to gain confidence and learn what it takes to succeed as a chef. Giving back is also evident in his price structure. He wants people of all income levels to be able to enjoy great food prepared from high-quality ingredients. He wants blue collar workers to be able to say they’ve had white truffles…and it didn’t break their bank accounts.

Chicken Tortellini Carbonara

It was plans to open a new restaurant for an expansive Santa Fe food bazaar that brought Chef Hesse to a restaurant kitchen in the Land of Enchantment. When plans for that restaurant fell through, he decided to launch Gigi Italian Bistro in the space which was once home to Nanami Noodle House and Cafe Jean-Pierre before that. It faces and is within easy walking distance of the Century 24 theater. Gigi’(an Italian name for grandmother) isn’t the swanky over-the-top venue in which you’d expect to find a restaurant impresario. In fact, when I first espied it during a visit to Plum Cafe next door, my first impression was ” misplaced mall food court restaurant.” Boy was I wrong…very wrong!

Even after only one visit, it was apparent to me that Gigi Italian Bistro belongs above the upper echelon of the Duke City’s Italian restaurants. Today, that statement actually means something because the Albuquerque metropolitan area actually has a number of Italian restaurants which would be competitive anywhere across the fruited plain. A decade ago when only Joe’s Pasta House and Paisano’s served transformative Italian food, you couldn’t have said that. The addition of such stalwarts as Torinos @ Home, Piatanzi and the M’Tucci’sfamily of restaurants has given diners six more superb options for Italian food across the city. Gigi is the diadem.

Dinner Salad

Although all of Gigi’s menu items sport Italian names, it’s hardly a pretentious menu nor will you need a translator. In fact, you’ll probably recognize every item and every ingredient from which that item is made. It isn’t a particularly lengthy menu, but it offers terrific variety. It lists six appetizers (For The Table), six soups and salads (Zuppe & Insalata), eight entrees (Gigi’s Family Classics) and a create your own option called Gigi’s Favorites. Talk about versatility! Served with your choice of spaghetti aglio (an olive oil and garlic sauce) or spaghetti marinara, you pick your style (marsala, parmigiana, picatta, saltimbocca) and protein (chicken, shrimp, veal). There’s something for everyone on this menu.

11 August 2018: With a retort of “that’s so 1970s,” my Kim typically rebuffs my once-in-a-blue-moon suggestion that we order fried zucchini. The truth is, even during the “Me Decade,” fried zucchini was already well on its way out, an anachronism relegated to restaurants with little imagination. That’s why it surprised me to find Zucchini Crostoso (Parmesan-crusted zucchini with a house marinara) on Gigi’s menu. “Perhaps,” I wondered “fried zucchini is making a comeback.” I should have surmised that in the hands of a great chef, fried zucchini would never have gone out of style. Chef Hesse is that great chef! Instead of the more typical heavily breaded disc-shaped zucchini, Gigi’s version more closely resemble mozzarella sticks. Zucchini Crostoso is so much better than mozzarella sticks. The thinly applied Parmesan crust gives way to fresh, juicy zucchini prepared perfectly. There’s no oily residue as was typical of yesteryear’s fried zucchini. The marinara sauce is the perfect pairing, lending a bit of acid as well as sweet-savory notes typical of good tomatoes.

Amazing Amuse Bouche

11 August 2018: Some Bible scholars have posited the controversial theory that spaghetti carbonara, not the proverbial apple, was the irresistible “fruit of the forbidden tree” which tempted Eve. Who could blame her, especially if that carbonara was as good as Chef Hesse’s version? That version is a chicken tortellini carbonara (roasted pulled chicken, five cheese tortellini, prosciutto di Parma, English peas, crispy pork belly, wild mushrooms, garlic Alfredo sauce and sun-dried tomatoes) so rich and delicious it will make grown men swoon (it did me). It’s the stuff of which dreams are made, one of those dishes in which individual ingredients coalesce to form an even better whole. For one thing, tortellini is a much better pasta option than spaghetti, especially if the tortellini is stuffed with a quintumvirate of creamy cheeses and luxuriates in a rich Alfredo sauce. Your taste buds will delight in every element of this dish, a carbonara no one can resist. During my second visit to Gigi, my Kim called it “the best carbonara I’ve ever had.” Ditto!

15 August 2018: When my Kim, The Dude and I walked in for our second visit, Chef Hesse had caught my review and figured out who I was, but was more excited to see The Dude again. He couldn’t wait to see what The Dude thought about Gigi’s meatballs (The Dude gave them a five bones rating). He was also anxious to introduce me to his white truffle ravioli, a chef’s special he’s served at Michelin-starred restaurants for a princely sum. First, however, came two dinner salads resplendent with a bevy of fresh ingredients and drizzled with a housemade dressing. Though savory notes permeate all of the components of the salad and dressing, a light touch with palm sugar provided a delightful contrast.

White Truffle Ravioli

15 August 2018: Chef Hesse surprised us with one of the most delightful (and certainly the grandest) amuse bouche we’ve ever had. Typically, an amuse bouche (a French term which translates to “mouth amuser,” but is more commonly known as a chef’s gift) is small, sometimes bite-sized. What the chef brought us was the size of a generous appetizer. Not surprisingly it’s so good it should be on the menu. Picture two slices of lightly toasted crostini, a glistening gold lagoon of housemade fig jam, a timbale-shaped mound of ricotta cheese dusted in Parmigiano Reggiano, candied garlic and pickled onions. More than amuse our palates, it absolutely delighted them.

15 August 2018: To many of us, truffles are an ethereal concept, something only the one-percenters can afford. Indeed, some white truffles command as much as six to ten thousand dollars per pound. These subterranean fungi are extremely rare and are found almost exclusively in Italy. That’s where Chef Hesse procures them for his life-altering white truffle ravioli, one of the most delicious dishes it’s been my joy to experience. The aroma of white truffles has been described as everything from “newly plowed soil” to “locker room” to “the pungent memory of lost youth and love affairs,” but if it would be possible to have a love affair with a dish, this would be the one. With their complex, delicate and very nuanced flavor profile, the white truffles transform an already magical, magnificent ravioli dish into a sublime experience. Six ravioli, each the size of an iPod, are stuffed with a five cheese blend, one of which is mascarpone which imparts a slightly sweet flavor that contrasts beautifully against the rich, earthy truffles and their fungi brethren, wild mushrooms. A creamy Alfredo sauce blankets this theophanic dish.

Ravioli Napoli

24 August 2018:  Until rather recently, only al dente  pasta would do in Italy.  A chef committing the heretical transgression of frying pasta might be ostracized or excommunicated.  Frying pasta just wasn’t done! In wide circles, it’s still looked upon as one of those “American knockoffs like Alfredo sauce or toasted ravioli.”  Toasted ravioli originated in St. Louis, Missouri, but Chef Hesse’s rendition honors his madrepatria with the name Ravioli Napoli.  Strictly speaking, the ravioli isn’t toasted, but deep-fried.  That’s a technicality.  It’s delicious…as good as most toasted ravioli I’ve had in the Gateway City.  Gigi’s Ravioli Napoli features a garlic bread crust blanketing ravioli stuffed generously with the five cheese blend that’s works so well on several of the restaurant’s recipes.  A little shaved Parmesan, garlic herbs and the house marinara and you won’t care that you might be frowned upon by Italian traditionalists. 

24 August 2018:  Rarely has Duke City bureaucracy rankled my ire as much as much as the red tape which prevented Gigi from serving its Brooklyn-style pizza until some nitpicky, white-gloved inspector deemed the pizza oven safe to use.  Yeah, we all know inspections and other officious rigamarole are necessary evils, but we’re talking Brooklyn-style pizza here.    Some of the best pizza in the universe comes from Brooklyn where stalwarts such as Totonno’s, Di Fara and Lucali have been preparing people-pleasing pies for generations. Nothing should stand in the way of pizza with such tradition!

Fig N’ Pig Pizzette

Brooklyn-style pizza isn’t something you can typecast. It can be thin, thick, crispy, chewy, cheesy, meaty or vegany. Chef Hesse’s version is in the Neapolitan tradition, meaning thin-crusted with a puffy cornicione (an Italian term for the “lip” or puffy outer edge of the pizza) which is soft and chewy. Thin-crust doesn’t mean cracker-like, however. There’s no way Chef would allow something cracker-like to leave his kitchen.  The pizza Chef Hesse recommended for us is the Fig N’ Pig Pizzette, a beauteous fourteen-inch beauty topped with a garlic Alfredo sauce, baby arugula, fig jam, fennel sausage, prosciutto di Parma and blue cheese.  You’re probably thinking that sounds more like something out of California rather than Brooklyn.  Indeed, Chef Hesse served a version of this pizza at a Napa Valley restaurant, using duck instead of sausage and prosciutto.  Call it a bi-coastal pizza if you want, but you will call it absolutely delicious.  The fig jam is a differentiator in the way it contrasts with the blue cheese.  Then there’s the saltiness of the prosciutto and the fennel-kissed sausage, two meats carnivores everywhere will love. 

24 August 2018: The etymology of the term “calzone” has been widely debated.  Claimants have argued that the genesis of the name is a derivative of everything from shoes to stockings to trousers.  The most credible (to me) is that calzone is a “trouser leg” (in Spanish, too) and its plural form calzoni is another word for pantaloni (pants in English, pantalones in Spanish).  Wherever the truth lies, what really matters is how good this “folded over pizza” is.  Gigi’s calzone is not only a steroidal, plate-covering, big as a half-moon treat that will feed a family of four, it’s as good as any calzone I’ve ever had.  Credit some of that to the cheese, which is even in the bread “knots” that make up the crimped edges.  Cut into the calzone and you’ll be treated to a molten feast of luscious ricotta.  The meat-lover’s calzone is the way to go!  This is another winner!

Meat Lovers Calzone

15 August 2018: Chef Hesse got no further than cannoli in naming Gigi’s dessert options. He’s understandably very proud of his conically-shaped masterpieces, every component of which is handmade on the premises. That includes the delicate fried shells, incredibly rich ricotta, exceptional goat milk Chantilly cream, dark chocolate bark topped with popcorn and hazel nuts and the Ghirardelli chocolate dip. It would be unfair to compare any other cannoli we’ve had with this one. It would be no contest, like comparing The Dude’s charm and good looks to mine.


Chef Robert Hesse is the most unlikely “celebrity chef” you’ll ever meet. Though he’s über-talented, he’s got an endearing down-to-earth personality, high-likeability quotient and humility that are rare in the world of the glitterati. Visiting Gigi is like having your paisan cook for you…only this paisan can really, really, really cook!

4959 Pan American, N.E., Suite A
Albuquerque, New Mexico
LATEST VISIT: 24 August 2018
1st VISIT: 11 August 2018
COST: $$
BEST BET: Chicken Tortellini Carbonara, Zucchini Crostoso, Macaroon, White Truffle Ravioli, Dinner Salad, Cannoli, Amuse Bouche, Meat Lovers Calzone, Pig N’ Fig Pizzette, Ravioli Napoli
REVIEW #1057

12 thoughts on “Gigi Italian Bistro – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

  1. Hi,
    My party of four had a great meal at Gigi on April 20. However, we were the only customers in the place — on a Saturday night! This was my first visit to Gigi, strictly on Gil’s positive review. The food was great. However, they will not be around for long if they have more Saturday nights like that one. We asked the waitress about it and she said it was a little slow and attributed it to the Easter holiday. The only thing slower would have been stop. Seems to me that they need a beer and wine license as a minimum for those folks who would like a glass of wine with their pasta or a beer with their pizza.

  2. Great Food! Loved it! Can’t wait to go back! A couple of concerns…..I asked for business cards to share with my friends but they didn’t have any. Also, with the new trend to not use or serve plastic straws, the first thing on the table with our drink were plastic straws. If you want to attract a higher-level clientele, look at trends to use less plastic. Speaking of plastic, I took a bit of my wonderful spaghetti dish home – in a styrofoam container….again, some thought about using compostables to support the environmental effort would be appreciated.

    Did I mention – Great Food!

  3. We went to Gigi to celebrate my wife’s birthday. We were not disapointed. I had a fantastic lasangna, my dear wife had the Chicken Piciotta and our son had spaghetti and meatballs. All 3 were great. We met the owners and Chef Hesse and our server was very friendly and attentive. All in all it was a fine birthday outing. Gigi is a real jewell.

  4. Whoa! Met up with El Hombre and his Kim and their Dude esconced on the patio where I thought I’d give Chef Hesse’s Italian Wedding Soup a shot. Blush, the first I ever had was “late” in life in the mid ’90s by a Dude (whoby we were called Gumbas to each other) who was an Italian Bronx “streetwise” Guy whose “neighborhood acquaintance”, Chazz Palminteri, gave my friend’s social club a cameo in his The Bronx Tale. He and his Bronx Barbara Streisand doppelganger wife had “relocated” to Vegas where, after becoming a horse owner, he’d opened a hole-in-the-wall bistro in Boulder serving basic “Mama Mia” dishes. In Chef Hesse’s creation, he adds some actual chicken to the typical chicken broth. Overall, a great treat/memory not often found around ABQ.
    OMG and unfortunately per my avian noon time appetite, I missed sampling but was awed by the size of Gil’s “semi-football sized” Calzone let alone Kim’s Chef’s pizza which was garnished with fig jam/jelly. Did manage to swipe a dab which is most intrigueing on a pizza…must be like salt on pineapple!
    Alas, I can’t remember the ambiance when as Jean-Pierre’s; currently it is neo-moderne which seemed to fit the needs of a noon time gathering.
    If I may, I observed Chef Hesse as enjoying flitting amongst the Guests as much as he apparently enjoys being a creator of dishes. Indeed, John(?) the owner is quite congenial as well….
    ….Buona Fortuna!/Buena Suerte to them both in this “overstocked?” dining market. I say that per recently shocked to learn of the demise of the relatively recently opened Groundstone, given the Ziglers who gave us Liquid Assests many years ago.
    (Tip of the day as there are several adjoining eateries: if the parking in front looks overwhelmed continue southwesterly for more close parking around the back and enter through the patio.)

  5. When Gil wrote about Gigi’s Italian Bistro, I was excited and intrigued. The story of Chef Robert Hesse is akin to that of rags to riches all wrapped up in the American dream. As trite as it sounds, it’s one of those feel good stories that we all love to hear. And it takes a lot of courage for a chef to appear on a reality show like Gordon Ramsey’s Hell’s Kitchen or the Food Network’s Chopped or Beat Bobby Flay.
    It seems like everyone is a restaurant critic these days. I admit that I read feedback and critiques regularly but I read them with caution and a grain of salt, bearing in mind some very basic and logical tenets that have held me in good stead over the years.
    People who know themselves to be demanding and / or critical of food and restaurants are well advised to check out multiple review sites prior to visiting rather than after, providing ample opportunity to reasonably assess a restaurant and compare it to their expectations.
    Gigi’s is a new restaurant that opened in early August, likely still working out a few kinks. People unwilling to tolerate this should best wait a few months before visiting a new venue. And despite goals to the contrary, any restaurant can have an occasional instance of bad service. According to the stated terms of Gil’s rating system, he does not rate a restaurant’s atmosphere or service, although they will be mentioned where warranted.
    Anyone looking for a fine dining establishment should plug that requirement into their assessment criteria. Gil specifically noted in his review that Gigi’s “isn’t the swanky over-the-top venue in which you’d expect to find a restaurant impresario.” It’s clearly a small place and it’s a bistro, defined as follows: “A bistro or bistrot /ˈbiːstroʊ/, is, in its original Parisian incarnation, a small restaurant, serving moderately priced simple meals in a modest setting.” Perhaps in this case, the owner blundered by not naming it Gigi’s Trattoria but most people apparently “get it.”
    In general, splitting an entree is not appreciated or encouraged by restaurants and most that permit it note an applicable charge. Whether we like it or not, restaurants are in business to make money. Taking up two seats generally indicates the proper ordering of two entrees. Diners who visit an unfamiliar restaurant and order only an entrée to split are taking a risk when it comes to actual quantity received but to then complain it wasn’t enough food is nonsense. “Enough for two” is a term open for interpretation – the expectations of avian eaters are far different from those with more hearty appetites.
    And then there’s the business of sending food back to the kitchen which can be tricky. For example, if a rare steak is clearly ordered but a well done version is received, a return is justified. However, the return of a dish served in accordance with the menu description but for some reason not to a diner’s expectations is not always justified. I have found that if I don’t care for the taste of something, it’s best to simply not eat it. A savvy server will take note of polite feedback and in most cases, the diner will not be charged for it. And a closing word of caution: raising an unrealistic fuss with multiple returns can risk unscrupulous action by frustrated kitchen personnel.
    Finally, there’s Gil’s best rule of all: “In all fairness, I won’t rate the quality of a restaurant’s food until I’ve dined there at least two times.”

    1. Some of what you have written is actually pertinent to what I wrote, some is not. I had read Gil’s review and did not expect a ” fine dining establishment.” In fact very few of the restaurants I regularly visit fall in that category, many are very close to “sleazy dives.”

      What had my attention & the reason I visited was the 26 rating which would make Gigi’s food the most delicious in all of New Mexico, perhaps even in Rome. It isn’t even close (except for the cannoli-something I will order again in 2028 for caloric reasons). I tried to point this out by giving an 11 or 12 rating as is, and perhaps an 18 if I ignore all other flaws including the fact that I saw not one hint of a smile among any of the staff while we were there. I do however consider service and general atmosphere of some importance though less than the food and am well aware that this restaurant had just opened and was shaking out the bugs.

      I am also well aware of what “Bistro” means in France and I like small restaurants. “Bistro” seems to not mean much in Albuquerque and is even being greatly stretched in Paris. Also I NEVER send food back to the kitchen-I know what often happens when you do, even when you order a burger medium and receive “double extra crispy super well done” as in at least half of the places I visit here. After a couple of times I simply tell the server to remind the kitchen the medium does not mean “double extra crispy” and it usually comes out right.

      Your comment about splitting orders is utter nonsense. Order sizes have become ridiculously large in recent years. As I have written before I used to eat with the Texas A&M football team from time to time and all us “normal” people would be amazed at what they ate. Now a typical restaurant serves larger portions than what they ate back in the ’60s because customers demand it. I have noticed that portion sizes have even become ridiculous in France much to my shock.

      We are old geezers and like many geezers split orders all the time whether we are in cheep burger joints or fine dining establishments all over the world and none have ever complained. I guarantee that they are very happy for our business. I tip a little more to cover the inconvenience & I am a pretty good tipper anyway. We have only been charged extra 3 or 4 times which is fine with me. I used to eat my entire meal & take about half of my charming wife’s meal home to serve as breakfast for two the next day. My wife is skinny and I am a fat pig trying and failing to become skinny. This split breakfast was still to heavy so we started splitting portions and preparing a really good healthy breakfast. None of this however is relevant to what happened at Gigi, however. I was looking at the menu trying to decide whether to get an appetizer or a plate and commented to the server that the reason my wife was so scrawny was that she didn’t eat squat & I was a failure at losing weight. She volunteered that the main courses were enough for two with no promoting from me. It was not enough for two so we ordered the cannoli.

      The final check was however less than we usually pay even at sleazy dives. I still would like to know how Chef Robert lost that weight though.

  6. This review inspired us to visit last night. I made a reservation and when we returned I looked up the place on Yelp which had already accumulated 46 reviews (nearly two a day since opening-more than any restaurant I have ever seen ). 22 of the reviews are shown and 24 obviously fake and highly lauditory reviews were hidden. The reviews that were shown varied from high praise (and sounded much like the obvious fakes) to downright insulting. The story of Chef Robert is certainly inspiring even though I can’t stand any of the “realty” shows that Gordon Ramsay puts on so I had never seen Top Chef.

    Other than that when we walked in the door it struck me more as a feeding station for the homeless than as a fine dining establishment. None of the elegance of Cafe Jean-Pierre was left. We were given a crappy table which was never really set up but which was great for witnessing the chaos of this tiny place. Nobody knew who was waiting us or whether our orders had been taken even though there were only two waitstaff. As we do most everywhere we split a “large enough to feed two” order of Shrimp ALA Vodka which wasn’t big enough and since the makeshift table was too far across to share a plate we begged for another. It was ok.

    Since the main was so skimpy I was able to talk the Child Bride into desert, Cannoli, which was wonderful. It was only the second I have ever eaten, Mike’s Pastry was the other. As much as I loved it I can only order one every ten years or so because the 10,000 calories are followed by 3-hours of bloating and nausea but after 10-years I will have another.

    We met Chef Robert as we were eating and he was quite nice and even brought us some “extra” bread which had not been brought in the first place. He told us tat he was not the boss, just the chef. The owner whose name I forget stopped by and admitted to having owned two Thai restaurants in Santa Fe.

    I certainly would not rate it a 26 (best Italian in Albuquerque) but way down in the pack, maybe 11 or 12. A little (maybe a lot) of sprucing up the decor and some organization could greatly improve my rating but I can’ see it getting above 18.

  7. Chef Robert Hesse is one of the reasons I am so proud to be in the foodservice industry. Dedication, is whats needed to be unique, changing and evolving faster than tech. Robert has that joy in creating and innovating. Be prepared for passion on every plate, every menu item. While the menu may look familiar, the experience will be memorable..
    Good luck.

  8. Gigi? Seriously Italian?..with the French likes of Leslie Caron, Maurice Chevalier, Louis Jourdan?
    OooEee…I’m not into “musicals” albeit some of the music is enchanting…
    Nevertheless, Gil’s Enchanting review has enchanted me enough, that I will take my Sunday Albuquerque Journal there to see…munch… if indeed he writes veridically this Sunday around 5:30….Bon Appetit another time…. lest you might join me!

    1. Roberto

      Gigi is an oft used Italian term of endearment for grandmother. It’s a perfectly Italian name.

      I was so impressed by Gigi that I returned four days after my inaugural visit. I hope you check out my updated review for more information on the great chef and the outstanding food he creates. The rating accorded Gigi after two visits will certainly go up if the chef’s red sauce dishes and Brooklyn-style pizza are as wonderful as everything else.

      Of course I write veridically. No mendacious fake news here.


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