M’Tucci’s Moderno offers great views, food and drinks for people in northwest Albuquerque.
Moderno, a sister restaurant of M’Tucci’s Italian on Coors and Montaño, has a large menu and plenty of tasty drinks. The star of the restaurant, however, is the stunning view of the Sandia Mountains.
There are four M’Tucci’s locations in the Metro area, but these are hardly chain restaurants. The general manager and chef at each location is encouraged to tweak the menu to their liking and put their own spin on what their restaurant provides.
Robin Dibble, the GM at M’Tucci’s Moderno, has 25 years of experience in the restaurant and says M’Tucci’s is unlike anywhere else he’s worked. Dibble is not just a GM; he also has a partnership agreement with the founders of M’Tucci’s that gives him a percentage of the profit his store brings in on top of his salary.
“This place is different; there’s not a lot of places like this, I don’t think, in the city,” Dibble said. “M’Tucci’s in general, I think, is different. Number one, because we put a pretty big emphasis on trying to make everything we can from scratch. But I think a lot of aspects of our company are different, not just the food, not just the individual restaurants themselves, but just kind of our leadership and our core values as a team. We’re doing a four-day work week for all of our salary managers, which is unheard of in restaurants. You know, giving people partnership agreements, having faith in people and allowing people to have a piece of something is really what I think our business was founded on.”
It’s not just the corporate structure that’s different at Moderno; the food and drink menus are also unique.
There’s pasta, salads, charcuterie and, of course, pizza on the menu, which is all authentically Italian.
“We do scratch Italian food, obviously, Italian cuisine,” Dibble said. “Historically it is a passionate thing. It’s done by hand. It’s done by tradition. It’s very, very much steeped in these roots and traditions of how to do it the right way. So the one unique thing about our restaurants that I think is really interesting is that all of our locations have a different menu. And that’s by design. You know, that’s on purpose because we didn’t want a cookie-cutter like, you know, Olive Garden where you’re gonna get the same thing everywhere. You certainly want to serve the same spaghetti and meatballs. We certainly want to serve the same bread and the same, you know, base things. But as far as going outside of the normal menu, staples, each chef can kind of do whatever they think is appropriate, you know, and each chef kind of tailors that to what our neighborhood wants. So it’s a little more personal; the chef has a voice.”
Nothing goes better with Italian food like wine, which M’Tucci’s Moderno has plenty of options to choose from. There’s also beer and cocktails, but one drink jumps off the menu: the shrub cocktail.
Shrubs date back to 17th century England, where they were used to preserve fruit by mixing in vinegar with the fruit. Eventually, it was discovered the vinegar was now colored and flavored much like the fruit, and it was delicious.
The shrub cocktails started popping up on high-end bar menus in the last 10-15 years. M’Tucci’s Moderno offers four flavors: strawberry basil, pineapple rosemary, blackberry and blueberry raspberry.
“We make our shrubs specifically for that liquid, and we save the fruit for our jams as an afterthought,” Dibble said. “You know where originally the shrub was made to save the fruit and the liquid is an afterthought. We have affordable grinds, and they’re just kind of a starting point. We make a cocktail that has soda water, citrus juice, a little sugar and shrub juice and then whatever kind of liquor.They’ve become wildly popular for us. I mean, they’re definitely a cornerstone of our business.”