OLMOS PARK — Chef Alejandro Santoyo said his dream for Pesto Ristorante has not come to fruition. Two locations in six years isn't enough for his Latin-infused Italian food. He wants more locations.
"I love challenges," Santoyo said.
The 49 year-old worked his way up to becoming a restaurant owner after being trained as a chef in Chicago and San Antonio. The husband and father of two took those skills to his first location at 15302 Judson Rd.
"When I go to Italian places, they just serve the pasta without any flavor," he said. "I started coming up with different type of pestos and, because we're in San Antonio, I infused some things from the Latino plate."
Latin-infused Italian food allowed him to open a second location eight months ago at 5221 McCullough Ave.
"The Latino flavor with the Italian flavor..it goes very well together," he said.
Customers can get traditional Italian dishes on the menu or ask the chef to whip up something to their liking. He said they even offer carb-conscious meals.
Neighborhood Eats was provided a four dish sampler plus wine and Pesto made bread. The taste test started with a poblano pasta with cream, squash and broccoli. It was good.
The next dish was a gluten free pasta with a chipotle pesto and feta cheese. It was good, too.
Santoyo's avocado salmon was a hit. It's salmon on a bed of veggies with lemon butter garlic sauce topped with avocados and mozzarella cheese. ¡Qué rico!
The chef's signature dish is Shrimp Alejandro: Lightly floured shrimp in lemon butter garlic sauce paired with basil pesto pasta. ¡Qué rico!