Italian restaurant Torino’s @ Home, located on Jefferson near Journal Center, gained local fame for being featured on the Food Network show, “Diners, Dive-Ins, and Dives.” I previously thought of this establishment as a place to grab a nice dinner and glass of wine (and, it still is), but the new owners want to appeal to a broader base. They added a small bar in an area that used to house imported retail items, such as olive oils and balsamic vinegars. Along with an extensive wine list, they now have six beer taps — all local.
Although Daniel and Jenna John just recently purchased the restaurant in February, they are jumping into ABQ Beer Week with both feet. I knew being involved with Beer Week is new for this particular establishment, so I met with them to get the details on the two beer dinners they will host. Not only is this the first year Torino’s will be involved in Beer Week, these beer dinners are a first for the restaurant in general. They said the process of adding the local beers has been a very positive experience and the breweries are great to work with. The breweries were also very helpful and enthusiastic when helping to create the beer dinner pairings.
Each beer dinner costs $45 and will include a “welcome beer” and a small bite, followed by four paired courses. The first dinner is on Thursday at 6 p.m., and is one of the first major events of Beer Week. This dinner is a collaboration with Santa Fe Brewing. The welcome beer will be Santa Fe Gold, paired with meats and cheeses. The remaining courses are as follows:
- Hefeweizen, paired with lobster and avocado salad
- Nut Brown, paired with pork belly and hazelnuts
- Western Bloc Wheat IPA, paired with grilled lamb chops and stilton
- Pale Ale, with Italian apple cake
The second dinner takes place the following Thursday, June 2, at 6 p.m., and features Marble Brewery. The pairings for that dinner are as follows:
- Pilsner, paired with a meat and cheese plate
- Double IPA, paired with a salad featuring arugula, gorgonzola cheese, walnuts, and raspberries
- Amber Ale, paired with mushroom risotto
- Red Ale, paired with spicy BBQ lamb chops
- Rita, paired with lemon cake/lemon delight
Daniel and Jenna also plan to start a new happy hour to coincide with Beer Week. Details are not finalized, but Daniel said they will likely have reduced prices on beer and tapas-style appetizers, and perhaps feature a cheese plate with a pint or glass of wine for a reasonable price. They hope Beer Week will help them launch happy hour and give people in the area a comfortable place to enjoy good food and local beer.
The new bar area was so inviting that, after the interview, my boyfriend and I decided to stay and have a beer. Torino’s future plans include improvements to their already beautiful patio, where they will add lighting and speakers for music. My guess is the owners want their patrons to feel as much “at home” as they did when they first walked in and instantly knew this would be their place.
Welcome to ABQ Beer Week, Torino’s @ Home!