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Apr 16, 2009 06:49 AM

The New Santa Fe

Dinner at the new Santa Fe last night. Opened five days ago on Esplanade in the old Gabrielle building.

Very uneven, as should be expected less than a week in. The servers were swamped, they were cash only, and they ran out of sangria and most of their wine. That said, my wife's fish of the day (puppy drum) was done perfectly and was easily the best of the evening. The good news long term is that Alan, the owner and chef, was the chef at the original Santa Fe (working under the owner, Marc) and later the chef at the Marigny Brasserie. He is used to these recipes, and one hopes that once they get the kinks out this might be a good place. It would be great if we could have something close to the old Santa Fe return again.

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  1. Good news. Now if we could only get Gabrielle to open up again.

    4 Replies
    1. re: N.O.Food

      There has been a lot of chatter re Greg and Mary Sonnier and reopening a space in the CBD. I wish I could share more details. I hope your wait, and all of ours, for Gabrielle's food is not much longer.

      1. re: Lyonola

        I loved Gabrielle and would love to see Greg and Mary return...though I wouldnt' expec them to after how rottenly this city has treated them.

        1. re: Lyonola

          Isn't Greg Sonnier at the Windsor Court now? I've moved out of NO and am a bit out of the loop (but try to keep up!)

          1. re: bronwen

            Nope, the Windsor Court eliminated his position last summer. As far as I know he and his wife are just catering now.

      2. so, is Chef Marc not involved in this incarnation?
        is Alan the guy who bought Santa Fe from Chef? if so, I hope this time it is better, as they bastardized the original recipes and was terrible, service and drinks included.
        what's curious is everyone refers this new location as the old Gabrielle, which was later some Italian "chain" restaurant that later opened in the old Santa Fe location under a different name, but w/the same menu. they ran the "new" Santa Fe into the ground, so hopefully those folks are not involved with this latest version of the new, new Santa Fe.

        5 Replies
        1. re: edible complex

          To answer your question, Santa Fe had been for sale for quite some time before Katrina. After the storm, Marc and Wendy sold it entirely (property, branding, recipes, equipment, etc). At this time, Alan was the chef at the Brasserie (where he brought the Chicken Maximilian to the menu). There was some common ownership between those who purchased Santa Fe and those who opened La Vita (where Gabrielle was and Santa Fe now is). I agree with you that the "new" Santa Fe was a complete disaster, and it justifiably failed. However, Alan was not connected with that incarnation. So, I was very pleased to hear he was associated with the new version. Had that not been the case, I would have given it no consideration at all. Given the common ties between this building and the old building, my suspicion is that the owners who bought from Marc and Wendy brought Alan in as a partner in the new venture, although I have no evidence of this. Alan is in fact a terrific chef and, in my opinion, made the Brasserie as good as its ever been, so I am hopeful that this will be more like the old Santa Fe.

          1. re: Vineaux

            "Given the common ties between this building and the old building, my suspicion is that the owners who bought from Marc and Wendy brought Alan in as a partner in the new venture"
            it does sound like the folks that bought the original from Marc and Wendy and opened the "new" SF are now opening this latest version. w/the sale, Marc agreed to consult w/them in the kitchen, which the new owners refused...big mistake. once the nuts and raisins were no longer topping my faves, it was over. and they never could get the margaritas to be tasty or frozen.
            will give this new incarnation a try, but from someone who ate at the original twice or more a week since it opened, it may be tough for this one to live up to the expectation.

            1. re: edible complex

              I worked in the kitchen at Santa Fe--oh, it must have been 95... Marc was SO cheap. I made guacamole every day, and we'd save it. The following day, the guacamole from the day before got mixed into the fresh guacamole. The guacamole never, ever, got thrown out, so were it not for Katrina, the guacamole they're serving today would have molecules of 20-year old avocado.

              1. re: francesb

                Do you think the new guy will have people do that, or will it be ok?

                1. re: francesb

                  whaa!! thats crazy.

                  guac that isnt fresh or loaded w/ citric acid (such that it tastes like lime paste) amazes me. good guac is just a precious few ingredients and can (and really should) be made to order.

          2. We visited on Sunday night. The service was definitely spotty (had to ask for water and an extra bowl of salsa twice and three times, respectively), but the food was very good. The salsa tasted a bit different -- it seemed smoother and sweeter -- than I remembered it.

            Still cash only and still no frozen margaritas.