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2012 Santa Fe, NM Restaurant Reviews by ALEDM

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NOTE: we always share our meals, typically ordering one starter, one main and one dessert for the two of us. That makes a big difference in the cost of our meals and the expansion of our waistlines. We don’t have the kitchen split the meals because Audre doesn’t eat as much as Dimitri. We just ask for an extra plate and Audre takes what she thinks she should eat. On our new regime, we rarely have wine or beer with our meals. Frankly, we feel better the next day.

Next item of note: we wanted to have ethnic one Sunday night in Santa Fe and found the two we wanted to go to were closed that night. Plan accordingly!

ALE and DM discussed adding ratings to our restaurant reviews and compromised on the following ratings:

HR: Highly recommended
R: Recommended and R++: Recommended almost as much as HR
NR: Not recommended
A: Awful

Okay, here goes:

1. Upscale

1.1 HR: We went to Geronimo (724 Canyon Rd., Santa Fe, NM 87501, tel. 505-982-1500, www.geronimorestaurant.com) because everyone said it was the best restaurant in Santa Fe. With that kind of hype, we thought we would be disappointed. On the contrary, Geronimo exceeded our expectations. The front room where we sat at a banquette was classically elegant. The restaurant is in a building that was built in 1756 and it has a number of rooms for diners. It was a chilly day in Santa Fe and when we arrived (we were one of the first) we thought the room was freezing, even with our wraps. The maitre made it warmer and we got comfortable. Our server, Steve, was friendly, professional and knowledgeable. We liked him. Dimitri took several photos of the art on the wall by Ashley Collins because he liked it a lot. Our food runner (from Guatemala) brought us bread—three kinds actually: a flat bread that had a piquant kick to it (that Audre loved), a roll of green chile and cheddar that had a wonderful taste and a sourdough roll that was more traditional. We shared everything, as usual, and decided to have 2 appetizers, one main and one dessert. There were a couple of appetizers that sounded good and it was difficult to decide. We chose the “Wild Mushroom Madeira Bisque, Asparagus & Scallions” ($12) from the Vegetarian Tasting Menu, followed by the “Duo of Tuna Feuille de Brick & Tartare, Petite Buttermilk Pancakes, Hoisin Green Garlic Sauce & Wasabi Aioli” ($18). The soup was outstanding and was more than enough for the two of us. The feuille were wonderful and the sauces great. The 4 pancakes were light and perfect for the tartare. We were having a great eating experience and we decided to accompany the meal with a bottle of Hall Sauvignon Blanc Napa ($40). That was special for us (on our new regimen) and we enjoyed it. For our main we chose the “Fiery Sweet Chile and Honey Grilled Mexican White Prawns, Jasmine Almond Rice Cakes, Frisee’ Red Onion Salad & Yuzu Basil Aioli” ($35). Another wonderful dish (that we couldn’t finish and so we brought one prawn home for lunch—it was large! It was a great addition to a salad). We had to try Geronimo’s desserts so we ordered one “Coconut & Jasmine Ice Cream Bombe, Blueberry Soup, Vanilla Cake and Feuille de Brick Tuille” ($10). It was yummy but we were stuffed. What a wonderful dining experience. We spent $142.42 plus tip.

1.2 R++: The chatter on the web was good about Restaurant MartÍn (526 Gallisteo St., Santa Fe, NM 87501, tel. 505-820-0919, web: www.restaurantmartinsantafe.com) so we went. We decided to sit inside because it was windy in the garden. There were a series of rooms in the house and we had one to ourselves but where we could see and be entertained by the diners coming into the restaurant. Our food runner brought us water (we decided not to have wine) and bread and butter. The bread was sliced but good (from a bakery in Albuquerque)—some baguette and some whole grain. Charles, our server, was pleasant, professional and knowledgeable but a little aloof. The flatware was Nambé and we liked having the local company’s wares used in the restaurant. The cuisine at Restaurant MartÍn is described as New American and it was. And, the dishes were composed so that they were particularly photogenic. We shared everything as usual. We started with the “Blue Lump Crab Salad, Mango purée, compressed watermelon, Marcona Almond flatbread, avocado pudding, crispy shallots, curry flavors” ($17). It was beautiful and it was delicious. The crab was sweet and the watermelon very intense. Each taste was distinct and very good (Audre didn’t taste any curry flavors, however). We were on a roll! For our entrée we had the “Alaskan Halibut with a pea purée swirl, sitting on artichokes, mussels, French breakfast radish and rock shrimp, accompanied by parsnip purée and bathed in a sweet corn nage” ($32). Another triumph! The fish was perfectly cooked and, again, the little tastes were well-defined. We shared one dessert, “Honey Cylinders, filled with lemon curd cremeux, and accompanied by blueberry panacotta, cantaloupe sorbet, apricot droppings and cherry droppings” ($9). The dish also had a beautiful swirl of cilantro mint sauce and crispy roasted puffed rice that the chef makes in-house. The honey cylinders were crunchy and sweet to the correct degree. We loved it. We also had one coffee ($4).The meal was a delight. We spent $67 plus tip.

1.3 R++: We had a great meal at Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi (a Rosewood Hotel, 113 Washington Ave., Santa Fe, NM 87501, tel. 505-988-3030). We liked our server, Hope, who was friendly, knowledgeable, professional and personable. Our food runner, Adriana, was lovely too. The restaurant had a fair number of people and a nice buzz. There was a guitarist playing beautifully-Spanish inspired music. We were brought lavache (kind of dry), sourdough rolls (good) and wheat rolls (very good) with flavored butter while we perused the menu. We shared everything as usual and decided to have a half bottle of Alberti Malbec ($25) because the price of two glasses of Malbec would have been $26. We enjoyed it. We started with the “Duck Enchilada Molé, pico de gallo and cilantro sour cream” ($14). The mole was yummy and we really liked the dish. Around this time Executive Chef Juan Bochenski (Argentinean mother and a father with a Polish heritage) came to chat (which we love). He said that he and his staff have been experimenting with the mole to make it perfect, with the right spiciness. For our entrée we had the “Achiote Chile Roasted Duck Breast, plantain purée, tinga onions, orange-tomatillo gastrique ($27). It was a delicious dish. The onion preparation was wonderful. With our entrée, we had a side of grilled asparagus that we liked ($8). We decided that there wasn’t a dessert we wanted and that we were full. We had a very nice evening and spent $80.06 plus tip.

1.4 R: We went to Las Fuentes Restaurant (The Bishop's Lodge Ranch Resort & Spa, 1297 Bishop's Lodge Rd., PO Box 2367, Santa Fe, NM 87501, tel. 505-629-4822, web: www.bishopslodge.com) after a long day of driving and because it was convenient. We were delighted with our meal there. Our server Juan was professional, chatty and good. The room was infused with evening sun and it was lovely, with interesting original western art on the walls by W. E. Rollins. We were brought bread rolls and corn muffins that had a tasty bit of spiciness. Along with the bread was goat butter and regular cow’s butter (we couldn’t tell the difference in tastes frankly). We shared everything as usual and had 2 entrées. One was a “Vegetarian green Chile Pot Pie, prairie thyme shell, organic vegetables, ricotta and garlic mushroom foccacia” ($17) that was a really good creamy (and not spicy) rendition. We also had the “Chimayo Chile Glazed Duck Breast, sweet potato and bacon hash, wilted greens, red chile confit, Spanish lavender honey jus, honey powder” ($28). The red chile confit had quite a kick to it and it was very tasty. The meal was a success! It cost $47 plus tip.

1.5 R: The room at Terra @ Encantado Resort (198 State Rd., Santa Fe, NM 87506, tel. 505-946-5800, web: www.encantadoresort.com) is decorated nicely and casually elegant, but the tables didn’t have tablecloths (although the photographs on their website show tables dressed with tablecloths). We think a restaurant looks better with them. Our server, Craig, was good and knowledgeable. He was incredulous when we said we just wanted to drink plain, non-iced, water. He went through a litany of no wine, no iced tea, no sodas? Then he accepted our answer. We shared everything as usual. First we were brought a basket of breads: a lavache, a corn bread and a baguette with a flavored butter. We started with “Tuna Tartare, blue corn blinis, wasabi flying fish caviar, grilled scallions” ($18). It was a great dish and our only complaint was that there wasn’t enough sour cream for the 4 blinis. For our main we chose the “Pan-seared Alaskan Halibut, baby artichokes, cherry tomatoes, wild arugula salad” ($32). This dish was also very good. We ordered a side of “Crispy Kale” ($8) too and it wasn’t needed. There was plenty of food for the two of us. Our only complaint with the kale was that it wasn’t uniformly crispy. For dessert we shared the hazelnut cheesecake ($10). It was very lovely meal and evening. We spent $72.51 plus tip.

1.6 R: We went to Ristra because we had heard and read good things about it (548 Agua Fria St., Santa Fe, NM 87501, tel. 505-982-8608, web: www.ristrarestaurant.com). We decided to sit inside. We had one room in an old house to ourselves—most everyone else was sitting outside on those hard, wooden, folding chairs. We had a banquette to ourselves and were a bit lonely, frankly. Our server, Robert was very good and so was the young man who brought the food and cleared. We were brought okay bread and butter. As usual, we shared everything and had one starter, one main and one dessert. We started with “Sea Scallops en ‘papillotte’, spinach, spices and saffron sauce” ($15). The papillotte was crunchy and good; the scallops were sweet and delicious and the sauce was wonderful. Because we were sitting side-by-side on the banquette, we were able to share our dishes (without spilling on the starched, white tablecloth). For our main, we shared the “Pistachio & Almond Crusted Pacific Sea Bass, Fava Bean Polenta, Cherry Tomato and Flying Fish Roe Fumet” ($32). It was a wonderful dish. We asked for the fish to be “rare” and it was—maybe even a little under-cooked. The fava bean polenta was good but Audre couldn’t actually taste the fava bean or the flying fish roe. For dessert we shared the “Berries and Honey Ice Tuile” ($8.50). The honey ice cream was delicious and the tuile was nice and crunchy. We had a delightful meal. We spent $63.30 plus tip. Also, the owner stopped by which we like very much. He told us about his other restaurant, Azur, a Mediterranean one.

1.7 R: We went to Santacafé (231 Washington Ave., Santa Fe, NM 87501, tel. 505-984-1788, web: www.santacafe.com) because we wanted to have lunch near the center during our 10 mile bike ride. It is an important Santa Fe restaurant and we wanted to try it.There is a lovely courtyard and an historic house with many small rooms that have been made into dining rooms. We decided to sit inside because it was windy and cool out. Our server was Henry and he was pompous and not terribly well informed about the food preparation. We were brought bread regular bread, a dry-ish brioche with chilies in it and a lavache kind of cracker that was also dry. From the Sunday Brunch menu we started with “Shitake Mushroom & Cactus Spring Roll, with Southwestern Ponzu” ($11). It was a big order and the spring rolls were crispy and filled with tasty morsels. Audre wanted to have a sandwich and Dimitri wanted to have the baby arugula salad. Since we share everything, Dimitri agreed to share the “Grilled Chicken Tenders Sandwich on House made Ciabatta with Roasted Bell Peppers, Applewood Smoked Bacon, Asadero Cheese, Chipotle Aioli and Parsley Fries” ($12) We thought the thin, crisp fries were outstanding. The sandwich ingredients got lost in the bread (which we didn’t like—too dry). We didn’t have anything to drink (we were biking) and there wasn’t a dessert we wanted. The total was $24.90 plus tip.

1.8 NR: We went to The Compound (653 Canyon Rd., Santa Fe, NM 87501, tel. 505-982-4353, web: www.compound.com ) because it had been highly recommended. We were under-whelmed. The house is large, with a back garden. We sat inside, near the garden at first. Dimitri sat in a chair (that he said was too low for the table) and Audre sat on the kind of banquette-type, built in seat. We had a difficult time finding a table we liked. We finally settled on a kind of banquette table in the corner (where both of us sat on the built in seats) away from the door going the outside. It wasn’t too comfortable either—the table was too small. But there were nice, white, starched tablecloths. On the lovely table were salt and pepper shakers that looked like they were from a diner—too downscale. Next problem: our server, Liroh, was too affected. Our food runner brought us bread from Sage Bakery which was totally uninteresting. It was sliced (very Wonder bread-ish, not upscale dining-ish) and it was a slice of whole wheat and a slice of olive. We shared everything as usual. Our starter was a Compound Classic of “Sweetbreads and Foie Gras, cèpes, cayenne and Spanish sherry” ($19). The sauce started in one’s mouth deliciously but finished way to salty. The dish was okay but there weren’t many sweetbreads—it was filled with cèpes and a tiny morsel of foie. Kind of disappointing. Our next dish came too fast by about 10 minutes. (We felt rushed.) We ordered the “Alaskan Halibut, pan roasting fingerling potato, scallion and artichoke white anchovy-Meyer lemon butter, fried basil leaves” ($38). Dimitri loved the fish which was perfectly cooked. The sauce was lovely. Audre was disappointed that instead of fried basil leaves, there was one fried basil leaf that she had to share with Dimitri. But our main course was very good nonetheless. We were finished with our dinner in record time and there was no dessert that tickled our fancy. We spent $61.67 plus tip (we didn’t feel like having wine).

2. Ethnic

2.1 HR: We went to Lan's Vietnamese Cuisine (2430 Cerrillos Rd., Santa Fe, NM 87501, tel. 505-986-1636 (Cerrillos at Lujan, near Camino Carlos Rey, in a strip mall called College Plaza South, in the back near Curves). There is a Smiths in the same complex) because of a good review on Yelp and we wanted to have Vietnamese. It is a pleasant space and the walls are filled with large, artistic photographs of Vietnamese women cooking street food. The menu is truly interesting. We decided to share one Vegetarian entrée. It was #19 served, at room temperature. It was “Bun Chay ”BBQ marinated organic tofu, soy protein with lemongrass, lime leaf, shallots, cucumbers, green papaya, organic carrots, cilantro, garlic, green onion, peanuts, lettuce + mint on vermicelli rice noodles or jasmine rice” ($10). It was tasty and delicious and only just enough for the two of us. The owner’s husband came to talk to us and to tell us that the photographs were ones he took. It was a delightful find, reasonably priced and we’ll return. (The menu is reproduced on urban spoon: http://www.urbanspoon.com/cities/279-...) We spent $10.82 plus tax and tip.

2.2 HR: There was a lot of good chatter about Mu Du Noodles (1494 Cerrillos Rd., Santa Fe, NM 87505, tel. 505-983-1411, web: http://www.mudunoodles.com/) on the Internet. We were delighted with our dinner (it’s not open for lunch). We didn’t make a reservation and had to wait a few minutes (although we could have eaten outside in the back garden but the chairs were uncomfortable and it was windy). Our server was good and the owner (who said she was from Canton) was delightfully charming. We shared everything, as usual, but didn’t have the kitchen split anything (because there is an extra $4 charge and Audre can’t eat half). We had a pot of green tea with rice ($4) and it was good. We started with "ORGANIC LAMB MARTABAK, Indonesian crispy dumplings filled with minced organic lamb, scallions, garlic and Middles Eastern spices, served with a mint-cilantro dipping sauce" ($10, I think). There were 5 and they were crispy and tasty, as was the sauce. For our main we had the “Hanoi fish on rice,” accompanied by a sweet chili sauce and peanuts ($22, I think). It was delicious. Dimitri heard a soft shell crab appetizer special being described by the owner and decided to have that next ($8?). There was one deep-fried, crisp soft shell crab sitting on top of a tasty salad. A very nice dish. Even though the restaurant was very busy, the owner had time to stop to chat. We remembered how to say that the food was good in Cantonese (something like “ho ho sec”) and she responded happily. All of a sudden we were brought a lemony, delicious creamy pot of dessert. Yum! What a nice meal. We spent $44.36 plus tip.

2.3 HR: At Annapurna Chai House (1620 St. Michaels Dr., Santa Fe, NM, tel. 505-988-9688, www.chaishoppe.com). (At St. Michael's Village West, behind Carl's Jr.), we had one thaali that was very good ($11.95) and described as “India’s national dish! A variety of our daily vegetables #1, #2 and #3, dal, sambhar, basmati or brown rice and your choice of a chutney, yogurt, or raita. Served with one of the following: chapati, gluten-free dosa or three puri.” We chose the brown rice, the raita and the dosa. Yum! The other dish we ordered was Puri Bhaji ($8.95) described as "Four puffed savory fried breads alongside, bhaji, a traditional spicy thick tomato, vegetable and potato combination" Everything was full of taste and delicious. We ordered too much and took a lot of the puri bhaji home! Another Santa Fe ethnic success.

2.4 R: There was lots of good chatter on the Internet about Jambo Café (2010 Cerrillos Rd., Santa Fe, NM 87505, tel. 505-473-1269, web: www.jambocafe.net, e-mail: urembo23@gmail.com). It opened in 2009 and the owner and chef is a Kenyan named Ahmed Obo. The cuisine is called African and Caribbean but we thought it also was heavily influenced by India. The good chatter is warranted. We had a very good meal. The restaurant has two rooms in a strip mall and the walls are covered with beautiful photos from Kenya. We shared everything as usual and ordered a starter described as “Stuffed Phyllo, phyllo pastries filled with spinach, black Moroccan olives, organic feta, roasted red peppers, chickpeas, over organic field greens, drizzled with pomegranate sauce” ($6.95) There were 2 diamond shaped pieces and it was very good. The feta had a distinctive taste, the phyllo was crispy, the greens were good and the pomegranate sauce was a great addition. For our main we had the “Goat Stew, slow-cooked goat with carrots and other vegetables and potatoes in an island curry sauce, with either coconut basmati rice or roti” ($12.95) We chose the roti and enjoyed the stew. The meat was tender, there were lots of vegetables and the curry sauce had a kick to it. There was plenty of food for the two of us. For dessert we had the “Cardamon espresso flan” ($5.95). It was good (but not light) and tasted of coffee. With our dessert we had the “Spiced Hot Chai” ($2.95) that was a very good rendition of Indian chai, but with a little difference. We spent $31.18 plus tip and were happy.

2.5 R: Sunday night for ethnic in Santa Fe presented challenges. We planned to go to Lan’s Vietnamese Cuisine but it was closed. Then we headed to Jambo Café but it was also closed. Some women who had also been planning to go to Jambo recommended Jinja (Jinja Bar & Bistro, 510 N. Guadalupe, Ste. P, Santa Fe, NM 87501, tel. 505-982-4321, web: www.jinjabistro.com). We were surprised and delighted with our meal. The place is very large (and very dark inside) but was very crowded. It looks and feels like a chain/franchise but they only have 2 other outlets—in Albuquerque. Our server, Sandra, was pleasant but forgetful. We started with a Malay Coconut Soup (that cost $2.95 when “added” to an entrée order) which was huge and very tasty with shrimp in it. It was described as “House made Tom Yum with coconut milk, includes shrimp, udon noodles, carrots, green onions and bean sprouts” and is usually $4.75. We had 2 entrees. One was “Thai Red Curry Beef tenderloin in a red curry sauce with bell peppers served with white jasmine rice or Tsuru Mai brown rice” ($17.95). The sauce had quite a kick to it and the dish was very tasty. The meat was surprisingly tender. We also ordered a “Chow Fun Chili Noodles, wide, hand cut rice noodles, wok-tossed with marinated organic tofu, chopped red and green bell peppers, spinach, green and yellow onions in a spicy chili sauce” ($11.95). It was a delicious dish with lots of fresh spinach leaves in it. Jinja only had American-sounding desserts so we passed. We spent $34.78 plus tip.

2.6 R (with caveat): We saw Raaga (544 Agua Fria, Santa Fe, NM 87501, tel. 505-820-6440, web: www.raagacuisine.com) and thought that it looked good and that the menu was interesting when we stopped by. We had a good meal but it wasn’t great and so we were disappointed. Our server, Noah, tried but didn’t make the grade. Paddy Rawal, the owner of Raaga, was cooking the night we went for dinner and he stopped by our table several times (which is nice). We ordered one Spicy Lassi ($3.95) and it was unusual with onion and cilantro in it. It was very good. For our starter we ordered a “Steamed Mussels, coconut infused with curry leaves” ($7.95). It was really a soup with a coconut base and a half dozen mussels in it. It was good. For our main we ordered the “Bombay Fish Masala, mahi mahi, ginger, garlic, onions, tomatoes, cardamom and turmeric” ($17.95) that came with basmati rice. It was a very good dish and plenty for the 2 of us. Even so, we ordered a “side” of the daily vegetable combination that comes with Tandoori dishes ($4.95). It was mixed vegetables with cumin seed and okay. The naan we had with our meal was a plain one and good ($1.95). For dessert we ordered one rice pudding ($4.95). It was lumpy and not so good. It didn’t even have a sprinkling of cardamom or cinnamon on top. Oh well; the restaurant has only been open 5 or so months. Maybe they will hit their stride in a few more months. We spent $46.20 plus tip.

2.7 R (with caveat): We went to Shibumi Ramenya (26 Chapelle St., Santa Fe, NM 87501, tel. 505-428-0077, web: shibumiramen.com) because the chatter about it was good on the Internet. When Audre called for a reservation, she was told that the restaurant is “an odor free zone” and that it only takes cash. That was a first. When we arrived we found a tiny place with tiny tables very, very close together. We were there early so we had our tiny section to ourselves at first. The menu is a “tiny dishes” kind of place so we had around six and shared everything. We saw no Japanese cooks, servers or anyone of Japanese descent. The owner is an American who got into Japanese food. While the food was good, we think it is audacious of the owner to think that he can have a serious Japanese restaurant. So, we’ll call it kind of a fusion place. We ordered a pot of the barley tea which we expected to taste like Japanese toasted rice tea. It didn’t; it was kind of tasteless. Our first dish was a fusion-kind-of-combination of tastes. We ordered the “Kushiyaki Barbeque Pork Belly with Eggplant” ($8). It was very good. With that we ordered the “Izakaya Gizzards with Spicy Curry” ($5.50) that was also very good. Next we ordered the “Izakaya Natto (Sticky Beans) with Quail Egg & Radish” ($6.50) which are soy beans that are fermented into a gelatinous concoction that we liked very much. With that dish we had the Yaki Grilled Wild Salmon ($12). It was nicely cooked and we enjoyed the flavors. The next dish, “Tempura Vegetable” ($8), was the only disappointing one. The tempura batter was too thick. The last dish we ordered was the Yaki Grilled eggplant ($5) which was also very good. By this time, the tables next to us were filled and we might as well have been sitting in their laps. The restaurant was also hot so we were uncomfortable. So we asked for our check and squeezed our way out. We spent $53.75. We would choose a more authentic, less fusion, Japanese restaurant next time.

2.8 NR: It looked to us like Saigon Café (501 W. Cordova Rd., Santa Fe, NM 87505, tel. 505-988-4951, http://saigoncafe-nm.com/) was decorated in the 50’s and nothing has changed since then. Okay, maybe they have added some new plants and they have dusted. We ordered two dishes to share; they both came at the same time. The #27B, “Banh Hoi Tom Nuong, grilled shrimp with vermicelli & rice paper” ($14.95). This is a kind of do-it-yourself spring roll and it was disappointing. The shrimp were over-cooked and dry and the ingredients failed to include mint or basil. It was messy and we should have just ordered the pre-made spring rolls. The other dish was outstanding. It was #43 “Catfish cooked in claypot” ($15.95). The catfish tasted good and the juice/soup it was cooked in was outstanding. While we wouldn’t return, we would suggest trying the restaurant. We spent $37.72 plus tip.

3. New American Cuisine or Other

3.1 R: Vinaigrette (709 Don Cubero Alley, Santa Fe, NM 87505, tel. 505-820-9205, web: www.vinaigretteonline.com) has a lovely room for lunch, with nice art and uncomfortable seating. The service by Marc was good. First he brought bread (I think sliced ciabatta) and olive oil. For lunch, we ordered one salad to share: the "CHERRY TART, Dried cherries, mild feta cheese, peppery baby arugula and toasted pecans with Champagne vinaigrette" ($9.95) and one cup of the soup of the day which was a lemon, chicken, rice soup ($4). The soup tasted like avogolemeno and we like it. The salad was delicious—full of taste and great ingredients. It was a delightful lunch. We spent $15.08 plus tip. BTW, we looked at the dinner menu and it wasn’t sufficiently different to warrant a dinner visit.

3.2 R: We went for lunch to Swiss Bakery Pastries & Bistro because Dimitri liked the Danish pastries he had bought there (401 S. Guadalupe St., Santa Fe, NM 87501, tel. 505-988-1111, web: www.swissbakerysantafe.com). We had a mushroom and cheese crepe that was freshly made and very good—both the ingredients and the crepe itself. It came with roasted potatoes and a slice of orange and quarter of strawberry garnish. It was a very good lunch and Philippe , the owner of the Swiss Bakery came to talk to us. He said he had only been open for 5 months and he was very glad that we had done a Trip Advisor review. He was charming, Swiss, a skier and a road bike rider. We complimented him on the Danish pastries that we had bought on a previous visit and he was happy and thankful. We hope that he does well. We spent 410.15 for lunch plus tip for Joel, our good server.

3.3 R: We wanted to try Joe's Diner and Pizza (2801 Rodeo Rd. A-5, Santa Fe, NM 87507, tel. 505-471-3800, web: www.joesdining.com) because it is a locavore kind of place. We liked it; kind of funky, with lots of people dining. We had one special quiche of the day to share ($9.99). It was made with spinach and Tucumcari feta cheese (www.tucumcaricheese.com) and came with a green salad. It was very good and almost like a pudding. There was plenty of food for the 2 of us. We liked our server, Joshua, and talked to him about the fellow at the door seating people. He was trying very hard to do a good job. We spent $10.81 plus tip and enjoyed our lunch.

3.4 R (with caveat): We went to the Santa Fe Steamer (3242 Cerrillos Rd., Santa Fe, NM 87507, tel. 505-438-3862) because we wanted a simple meal of fish. We started with 6 (huge) oysters fresh from British Columbia ($1.50 x6). They were sweet and delicious. Then we ordered the special fish of the day: “Blackened Wahoo served with sautéed crawfish and cajun butter ($15.95). We chose cabbage and rice as our sides. We asked for the fish juicy and it came out dry. They offered to bring us another piece and we accepted. The second piece was much better but still too dry—perhaps from the searing. We don’t know. Next time we’ll get the fish steamed! The server was nice and the place not bad although rather old-fashioned. We spent: $27 plus tip.

4. New Mexican/Mexican/Southwestern

4.1 NR: Gabriel’s (Exit 176, Hwy. 84/285, 4 Banana Lane, SF, NM 87506, tel. 505-455-7000) is just the kind of family-style Old Mexican restaurant we try to avoid. But we were staying at The Bishop’s Lodge and wanted to try something different (we had already tried Las Fuentes at our resort and Terra at Encantado) in the northern part of Santa Fe. We just had the salsa and chips that are automatically brought to the table because a $12 starter of table-made guacamole prepared table-side in a molcajete seemed ridiculous. We shared one main of “Pollo en Mole Poblano” ($13.95) and the mole sauce was very good. We ordered a side of corn tortillas ($2.25) that were good too. With our dinner we shared on Negra Modelo beer ($4.25) that we liked. For dessert we shared on sopapilla ($1.25) that was also good. While the meal was good we wouldn’t go back.

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  1. Quite a thorough report; most informative.

    Sorry you didn't care for The Compound. We had a fabulous dinner there and loved sitting in the garden.

    I am just a bit curious - do you notice any "attitude" [for lack of a better term] towards you since you are only ordering 1 app, entree and dessert and usually no liquor? And if you don't mind my asking, how do you tip? Just wondering what the reception/reaction is to your approach.

    2 Replies
    1. re: DebitNM

      Generally no attitude. We tip on the basis of the service--not an automatic anything.

      1. re: DebitNM

        +1 about The Compound. I find the food outstanding and can't wait to get back there. Your question/comment about sharing is a good one. Even though, at times, I'm not as hungry as I should be when dining....it would never occur to me to share plates to cut down on portion size.

      2. Very informative. We are looking for a place for a celebration and probably eat outside on a nice patio. Do you think Geronimo's would be a good choice or did another restaurant exceed your experience there?

        1 Reply
        1. re: Foodie_Phil

          The Compound has a lovely outdoor space, as does Restuarant Martin. They both do a great dinner, but a nod to The Compound for stellar experience including the food.

        2. Aledm, it's interesting that you had a positive experience at Las Fuentes. It appears to be a bit of an enigma on the web forums (CH, TA & Yelp). It seems like it is a nice location.

          Do any of the Santa Fe regulars have any thoughts on Las Fuentes?

          1. A bit late in my follow-up, but I must say Geronimo's was an excellent experience. The food was creative and delicious. The staff was attentive. The porch is a nice setting. The street on which Geronimo's is located has a great deal of galleries, but in the evening it is very quiet. As recommended by the staff, we actually had a New Mexico Champagne that was surprisingly good.

            1. referring to your reply to DebitNM, I do hope you tip very generously--your ordering strategy makes sense for you, but cuts into the restaurant employees' income, plus you do ask for special treatment (extra plates, etc.)
              that said: impressive work, thanks, gonna use your ratings during our visit to Santa Fe.

              1. Wonderful reviews.

                We visited Santa Fe last week and ate at Luminaria for dinner (well-executed dishes with delicious sauces), Vinaigrette (the salads are a nice relief from rich restaurant meals, but still very filling and inventive in composition), Joseph's (menu changes nightly but everything was delicious and a good value--heavily farm to table menu), The Shed (fairly pedestrian southwest food heavy on the cheese and chile sauce), and Raaga for lunch.

                We have eaten Indian all over the US and in India and thought it was one of the best Indian restaurants we have ever eaten in. The sauces were complex in flavor and well balanced. We ordered from the "tapas" menu so we could get small portions of lots of things and would have returned for dinner too if it had not been our last day in Santa Fe. We also met and had a nice conversation with the owner who was quite charming. I would highly recommend Raaga. And if you like your food highly spiced--ask for spicy. Medium spice was actually pretty mild.