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First impressions of Vivre (Santa Fe)

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Conceptually this place looks very promising. Menu prices are exceedingly gentle - the most expensive entree is $26 - and the "everyday" wine list includes some very nice selections at $25 and $50 (I actually saw one of the items on the $25 list in a local retail shop the next day priced at $23).

The menu itself is quite straightforward, with a relatively familiar roster of French classics. Unfortunately, on our first visit the execution didn't quite measure up to the concept. Three out of our four dishes were unimpressive - frisee and goat cheese salad was dressed with an incongruously sweet vinaigrette, duck confit with caramelized onions, pear, and gruyere was sort of a soft brown mush with little textural or flavor contrast, and a nicely cooked piece of pork belly came with a murky red wine reduction and an almost flavorless turnip gratin. A perfectly executed piece of salmon with lentils was the only real bright spot.

Having enjoyed some delightful meals at Nostrani, I'm sure the kitchen will hit its stride eventually, but I was little surprised at the number of rough spots in this meal. Still, there's a lot to like here, especially the wine program, so I'll look forward to a return visit in the near future to see how things are progressing.

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