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Jul 16, 2010 07:27 AM

Chef's Table or Tasting Menu in Santa Fe?

We're planning a celebratory dinner in Santa Fe in October for two couples...Would love to do something special like chef's table, farm to table or multi-course tasting menu...Any suggestions?

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  1. Hey, mbasnack, welcome to my new hood! I miss Boston, but Santa Fe is a remarkably good chow town in its own right.

    Santa Fe just doesn't do tasting menus. Don't know exactly why, I'm sure it has something to do with demographics, but it's just not what they're really about here.

    Geronimo offers a "vegetarian tasting menu", but it's really a prix fixe of three predetermined savory courses, then dessert is still a la carte. Still haven't been, but many people have good things to say, and there's no arguing with the beautiful decor.

    I feel weird suggesting an Italian restaurant to a Bostonian, but I'd put Trattoria Nostrani up against just about anywhere outside Italy. Although they don't offer a tasting menu per se, this is one of the only places in town where I'd suggest asking them to choose for you and put a meal together of whatever is currently looking the best. You could even call ahead and say you were looking for more of a tasting menu experience, and I'm sure they'd play ball. The wine list is pretty top-heavy, but it's amazing, and there's some good value to be found.

    One other place to check out would be Restaurant Martin, which is New American with Southwest accents. I don't think the food achieves the same hyperdeliciousness as Trattoria Nostrani, but the food is about as daring as you're likely to find in New Mexico, and it would be another place might at least consider doing a tasting menu if you called ahead.

    Good luck, and enjoy your trip!

    Trattoria Nostrani
    304 Johnson Street, Santa Fe, NM 87501

    Restaurant Martin
    526 Galisteo, Santa Fe, NM 87501

    5 Replies
    1. re: finlero

      Before heading to TN be sure to check out their bizarre and abusive "fragrance policy". Web site says the policy is being "updated" whatever that means.

      1. re: bhoward

        Well, I've never personally seen anything "abusive", but the policy certainly is a little odd. They are (or at least they have become) diligent about reminding you about this when they call and confirm a reservation.

        A few other restaurants in SF have fragrance-free policies, including the outstanding Shohko Cafe a few doors down.

        Shohko Cafe
        321 Johnson St, Santa Fe, NM 87501

        1. re: finlero

          I have seen it and I am fairly certain that instances of it have been posted on this Board. But I do not want to turn this into a rant against the place. I will just agree with your description of the policy as "odd".

          1. re: bhoward

            Have you never heard of chemical sensitivities? I, for one, am sensitive to almost all chemicals derived from petrochemicals, which means almost all scents used in colognes and soaps. Fragrance-free policies often are enacted in consideration of people like me. I develop respiratory problems when I visit cities, even when they are considered to be "clean."

            Another reason for keeping a restaurant free of artificial fragrance is that diners are better able to enjoy the scents of a good meal.

            Besides being a great place to live or to visit, Santa Fe is one of the most progressive cities in the country, along with being a cultural mecca. It has a relatively small population for the amenities available here, welcomes diversity (even the less obnoxious Texans and Californians ;-) ). The government and local businesses tend to enact policies that outsiders may consider "odd," but then this is The City Different!


      2. re: finlero

        2nd that emotion for Restaurant Martin. Excellent food and service, and reasonably priced for what you are getting.

        Restaurant Martin
        526 Galisteo, Santa Fe, NM 87501

      3. We had a wonderful lobster tasting menu at La Posada several years ago. They are not that frequent, but it's ballon fiesta time... maybe they'll have a special tasting dinner.

        1. Coyote Cafe (chef previously ran Geronimo) also does a Tasting Menu but cannot comment specifically on it as I've not done it.

          I believe it is offered (only ?) at the counter that is practically in the cooking area. Not quite as comfortable as the dining room but it does yield an up-close-and-personal experience that true "foodies" often are seeking. A phone call (505-983-1615) should get more specific details.

          1. Max's has a tasting menu. New chef is cooking modern food, a little sous vide, a foam here and there and is the hot restaurant in town. Very plain and simple surroundings with with excellent food. It has rapidly become very busy place for foodies

            Max's - Santa Fe
            403 1/2 S. Guadalupe, Santa Fe, NM 87501