- Griffin Swartzell
Bistoro, 109 Central Plaza, Pueblo, 719-696-9672, bistoropueblo.com
Husband-and-wife owners Pellumb Dhamo and Joette Ucar-Dhamo originally opened their eatery as Neon Alley Bistro, but moved it and changed the name in mid-2018.
On a visit, I try server-suggested Pintxos, the Spanish cousin of Italian bruschetta, and ours come atop a crostini that’s toasted golden-brown yet still soft and squishy, which I’m happy with. Specifically, she recommends the El Pueblito Pintxos for first-time diners, which come topped with roasted, diced Pueblo chiles tossed in a mix of white balsamic vinegar and the apple cider vinegar-based house dressing that guide each bite through brightness to oily mouthfeel to chile bite, with salty Parmesan finishing. It celebrates the ingredients nicely.
I try also the Elena bocata and opt for an orthodox hoagie presentation — they serve any bocata over salad, veggies, fries or a few other options. The Elena combines golden brown chicken tenderloin pounded flat with raw cucumber and onion that don’t quite balance salty Kalamata olives and raw garlic in tarator, a close relative of tzatziki sauce likely made in the style of Pellumb’s native Albania. The intense flavors on that lovely toasted hoagie beg for wine to cleanse the palate.
Color me intrigued. I’ll be back.