Maria Venturino moved from Italy to the United States in 1964, and her love of the old country shows in every dish she creates. She still makes her own marinara sauce the old-fashioned way?from scratch?in addition to whipping up homemade Italian staples such as lasagna, baked ziti, and meatballs that crown plates of spaghetti. Aldo's main dish, however, is pizza. Maria, along with her two sons and a bunch of elves in chef's hats, bake classic cheese and pepperoni pies, as well as specialty pizzas including artichoke hearts and minced garlic.
Pizzeria Espiritu's founding chef Tom Berkes formulated his pizza dough recipe around Santa Fe's unique altitude, tweaking each thin crust and thick crust pie to cook just right. In addition to specialty pies and calzones brimming with fresh toppings, Pizzeria Espiritu plates old world favorites including pastas drenched in cream sauce and oven-baked salmon. At lunchtime, sandwiches and individually sized pies make for more satisfying midday meals than anything you could find under your car seat.
A central fireplace set into a stone column flickers, emanating warmth toward the leather-upholstered chairs and booths of Coronado Crossing. There, culinary partner Fred Gallegos draws upon his 16 years of kitchen know-how as he oversees an oak-fired grill that infuses burgers, steaks, and chicken with a smoky, woody flavor. Chefs also take great care with the restaurant's other signature dishes, which include southern mainstays such as shrimp etouffee and the Coronado prime rib, which is roasted to rotisserie perfection before picking up a hint of smoke during a stint on the grill. All the while, guests can select sips from more than 100 local and nationally recognized wines, cocktails, and craft beers.
In addition to their everyday lunch and dinner duties, the chefs at Coronado Crossing can also serve up their dishes in crowd-sized catering servings. Their restaurant also welcomes crowds of its own, with a 30-person computer-capable video meeting room ready to host lunchtime business discussions or attempts to break the record for most games of Donkey Kong Jr. played simultaneously.
The restaurant Amavi was in a rough spot. It was in serious need of new ownership and quickly found a savior in Rick Smith, who bought the restaurant within 10 minutes of stepping inside. Over five weeks, Rick and his team renovated the 100-year-old adobe hacienda's interior, as he told the Santa Fe Reporter, creating brand-new bar and restaurant menus. He added atmospheric touches and rebranded the eatery Tanti Luce 221. Along with the new look and menu came a new executive chef, Tom Kerpon, who adds a regional influence to classic Italian, French, and Spanish small plates and entrees. In the kitchen, he directs the careful construction of inventive dishes such as the housemade ravioli stuffed with beer short rib and the gorgonzola crusted petite filet served with almond green beans. Over in the adjoining Bar 221, barkeeps fill patrons' glasses with 100 wines and specialty cocktails, including the Salad in a Glass, which imbues imbibers with a spa-like feeling using the flavors of cucumber vodka, far preferable to clods of alcohol-infused soil.
At Fratelli Bistro, each calzone begins with a circle of dough, a swirl of homemade marinara, and a generous portion of meats and veggies. After assembling the toppings, cooks shape the dough into a half-moon and bake it to a rich golden brown—the hue you would get if you mixed the colors of the Italian flag. Cooks take similar care when crafting other entrees, whether rolling meatballs, breading eggplant slices, or stuffing oven-baked subs. They round out meals with two classic Italian desserts (cannoli and tiramisu) and cups of freshly brewed Boyds coffee.
New York–style pizzas with thin, crisp crusts are a house specialty at Forghedaboudit Pizza, an eatery nestled off of Interstate 10 in Deming. Cooks knead homemade dough for those pizzas, then layer on freshly made tomato sauce and buffalo mozzarella. Diners can customize the pies with toppings such as organic spinach, sirloin steak, and locally grown sweet chilies, or opt other house specialties: jumbo wings or sub sandwiches made with Amoroso's rolls from Philadelphia.