Justin Schatz is The Paper's daily news reporter. He has reported on New Mexico for KRQE News, Searchlight NM and the Santa Fe Reporter.

M'tucci's culinary crew in Rome

A quality Roman dining experience will soon be open in Albuquerque at M’tucci’s new Nob Hill location. M’tucci’s sent a crew of five to the Italian capital last month to observe and learn from one of the finest dining cities in the world. The intention for the culinary mission was to bring the authentic Roman dining experience to the 505.

This isn’t the first time that M’tucci’s has sent out a culinary mission and it won’t be the last. According to M’tucci’s Beverage Director Austin Leard, the restaurant will send out another crew to observe service abroad before each location opens. “Each location we have, we do an R&D Trip prior to opening,” Leard said.

“The guys went to New York and visited a bunch of NY-style delis and got the feel for not only the food and the quality of food. They also got a better understanding of the experience of the food and the nature of what was there,” Leard said. For their I-25 location, M’tuccis sent a team to Tuscany. “Each location has a cultural feel of the place we visited prior to opening.”

For their Nob Hill location, Leard said that what they “are shooting for is a page out of Rome.” Leard was also quick to note that the goal of these culinary expeditions is not to copy the location that they visit but to take back the nuances and elements that make the experience unforgettable. “We don’t like to copy ideas. We don’t like to things that people are already doing. But we go to soak up the culture of what they do and bring back the ideas and feel to make our own,” Leard said.

Leard noted that what distinguished Rome from other heralded culinary destinations was the region’s feel and care regarding cuisine. “It’s down to the feel of how you’re treated by the people, the nature of the service, the authenticity of what you would feel like you would get in Rome.”

The new M’tucci’s Nob Hill location was originally scheduled to be open in December. Due to COVID and the headaches that accompanied the pandemic, the location is now slated to open mid-February to early March. M’tucci’s also runs M’tucci’s Italian, M’tucci’s Moderno, and M’tucci’s Twenty-Five.