Take Me Home, Corrales Road
Bistro Brewery is the place where you belong
As a long ago villager of Corrales, the first thing that comes to mind when I hear the words “Corrales” and “dining” in the same sentence these days is “ka-ching!” Don’t get me wrong, there are truly terrific restaurants in Corrales—but the bill typically lands at the higher end. Ah, but not always. Hidden along Old Corrales Road are a few spots for rock-solid casual dining that are downright easy on the wallet—and Corrales Bistro Brewery is a prime example.
One of the first things you notice about the large, open room is the camaraderie of regulars (always a good sign) and a terrific smattering of arts and crafts that Corrales is known for. Let’s call it a laid-back hippie chill with local beer and wine for the artistic set. As far as the food goes, they offer generous portions and a wide selection of apps, wraps, salads, sandwiches and burgers you’d expect to find at a casual joint. And while the service is warm and friendly, they too are pretty laid back—a refreshing break from the type of service that’s predicated on high table turnover.
I started with the soup of the day (cup $6/bowl $7.50)—creamy green chile chowder. It was a giant, sturdy and scrumptious bowl of silky potato and corn chowder, with bits of chicken, some aromatic herbs, and the heat and punch of fresh green chile. It comes with a hunk of hard-crust sourdough with a quick buttered char on it. I’d petition the chef for some red pepper flake in the soup, and as much of that bread as I could get.
The Corrales bleu cheese quesadilla ($9) is another intriguing starter—though, as with the soup, you could probably make a meal out of it. Red onion and tomatoes join the green chile and cheddar—but with the welcome addition of a mild bleu cheese. What seems at first blush to be flavors in competition blend perfectly with each other, even if all the wet veggies make it a bit of a messy bite. A mild, roasted-tomato salsa and thick sour cream finish the plate, so ask for extra napkins and dive in.
If you’re looking for a lighter entrée, the Rio Grande chef salad ($11) is a pile of romaine, shredded cheddar and squares of sliced Swiss, topped with a couple rolled-up slices of turkey and ham. Carrot sticks, red onions and tomatoes add color and texture to a salad that doesn’t necessarily surprise in any way, though there’s certainly nothing wrong with it either. It’s a comfortable, standard go-to, one done right.
If you’re in the mood for a surprise, look no further than the Pancho de la Plancha Greenblat ($10). It’s a New Mexico take on Hollywood’s famous pastrami sandwich, this one made like a quesadilla. The grilled tortilla wraps in all the hot, salty goodness of the pastrami and the luscious melted cheddar, and again the green chile brings the spicy heat that’s hard to beat. It’s a got a great name, a simple, straight-forward style, and comes with fries or a side salad. And while I’d love a dollop of a grainy, stone-ground mustard on the side, I’d certainly have this one again however they’d give it to me.
Big appetites should check out the You Figure It Out! (base $8.75 + topping prices from $1 to $2.50)—a build-your-own burger or grilled chicken sandwich. I went with a medium rare burger, sauteed onions, green chile, Swiss and bacon—and that is one serious burger. Don’t worry about a flavorless lean ground beef here, this burger is thick, and juicy enough to get your fries wet—if you can get your mouth around it. It’s served on a terrific bun dusted with cornmeal and is one of those burgers that you shouldn’t put down, because you might not be able to pick it back up.
If you’ve managed to save space (or better still, just come for a beer and dessert another night), the Muddy muffin ($6) is a crowd-pleaser. Part cake, part brownie, part muffin ... but all chocolate! It’s served hot, with a drizzle over a couple scoops of vanilla ice cream and is so big you won’t mind sharing (much).
So take that lovely drive out of the city and into Corrales, soaking in the natural beauty of cottonwoods and orchards, the adobe and the ditch banks. There’s cold beers and tasty fare waiting for you. Plus, they offer one of the regions most unique “mug clubs”—for a year you rent a gorgeous, hand-thrown ceramic mug and get 10 percent off every ounce of beer that you drink from it. In the past decade they’ve proven their commitment to local talent, offering live music almost every night of the week, so if you want a local brew, some pub-grub and live tunes all in a terrific setting that’s downright affordable for Corrales, give them a try. Then bend a few villagers’ ears and find out how I can afford to move back!
Hours: Sun-Sat 8am-10pm
Vibe: Laid-back hippie chill with ceramic mug of something local for the locals
Alibi Recommends: Creamy green chile chowder, Pancho de la Plancha Greenblat, a local brew, Muddy muffin