San Ysidro Brewpub

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Yet another "upscale brewpub" to temp fate by locating in Albuquerque's downtown area, San Ysidro Brewhouse seems off to a good start with the food and a fair one with the beers. Patrons are first greeted from the street with the sight of the brewhouse in its shiny stainless steel glory. The reconditioned dairy equipment previously saw duty at the now defunct Elephant Butte Brewpub overlooking New Mexico largest body of water, the dammed Rio Grande. Inside the high ceilings and light walls provide an airy and spacious feeling. Past the ceramic-tiled wood-fired oven stands the one medium-sized room of the dining area. Two dozen wooden tables, topped by white linen tablecloths afford a cozy dining experience. At the back of the room lies the long black metal bar, its surface coated for protection and gloss. A six-tap, stainless steel dual-tower pours the house beers while another ten taps on the wall supply micros and imports such as Cabezon Sunchaser and Anasazi Wheat, Celis White, Harp Lager, Guinness Stout, Bass Ale, Dos Equis Amber Lager, and Anchor Steam. A fair selection of bottled micros is also on hand. All beers are served very cold.

The beer side of the house has gotten off to a rocky start but look for calmer waters ahead as new brewer Guy Ruth puts his touch on the lineup. Guy is well-known in the New Mexico homebrewing community for his frequent competition awards and leadership in the Dukes of Ale homebrew club. Guy's first beer is an IPA. This dark amber colored brew has plenty of body with the big malty flavor barely dominated by the hops. More beers should join the lineup shortly.

The principals behind the restaurant operation are very familiar with the Albuquerque market and are very proud of their menu offering. The lunch menu features soups and salads from $3 to $8, pasta around $7, along with pizza and sandwiches from $7 to $8. For the dinner crowd the Starters lead with shellfish, scallop and crab cakes, baked garlic, duck spring rolls, and roasted garlic custard, all ranging from $8 to $10. Following the variety of salads are the entrees of fresh fish, "bouillabase", wood oven roasted "poussin", braised lamb shank, beef tenderloin medallions, gorgonzola chicken, wild mushroom and goat cheese tamale, scallops and Mediterranean chicken. These main courses range in price from $11 to $18. Flavorful homemade desserts round out the menu.

As the downtown area struggles to find its identity San Ysidro Brewpub is well-located to offer tasty beer and food, all in a relaxed setting complete with a 270 degree view of the brewhouse. The layout is fully wheelchair accessible and if the very tall steel bar chairs seem formidable there's always the bench seating of the small lounge area, perfect for small groups. The current happy hour offers complementary appetizers and $2 pints from 4 to 6 PM, Monday through Friday. Hours of operation are Monday through Saturday 11 AM to 11 PM. Smoking is allowed at the bar only and so far the atmosphere remains fresh and enjoyable.

San Ysidro Brewpub
405 Central Avenue
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87102

Reviewed by Tom Ciccateri - January, 1998

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