Bouche Bistro (Santa Fe)
Had an exceptional meal last Friday at this new restaurant helmed by Charles Dale, formerly of Terra at the Encantado resort. It's a tiny, bustling space that seems much lighter and more convivial than it did in its previous incarnation as Aqua Santa, and the food was superb across the board.
First courses included seven-herb ravioli with a (huge) crispy frog leg for me and sauteed foie gras for my wife, both of which were excellent. Main courses were a reference-standard steak frites featuring densely flavored, beefy hanger steak and crispy fries, and the real highlight of the evening, short ribs "pot au feu", a pile of meltingly tender meat in a light broth with brussel sprouts and carrots that managed to be both classic and original at the same time.
One could hope for a few more interesting under $50 selections on the wine list (especially on the red side), but that's my only minor quibble. I always had a sense that Chef Dale's talents were somewhat underutilized at Terra, and Bouche seems to confirm that. This looks to be an exciting and most welcome addition to fine dining in Santa Fe.
I have now been to Bouche three times.
I'd waited for the early jitters and trendy followers to move along, and was wowed.
I am a huge fan of Parisian Bistro food, and this was as good as I have experienced in Paris.
So far, my favorites would be, starters, the seared fois gras.
The Halibut was excellent, the Steak Frites was wonderful, although as good as the fries are, I think I'd opt for the truffle fries.
Desserts really shine, the apple tartin is perfect.
As are the profiteroles. The seating is cozy, about 40, so good to make a res.
Altough the community table is fun, with a great view of the kitchen activity.
Good for Chef Dale. A real win.
I retract my previous post on Bouche.
Have now had three poor meals there in a row, and am done.
I enjoy restaurants whose cooking is better than I can prepare at home. This is no longer one of those.
Joseph's is my new favorite.