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Jul 22, 2014 07:29 PM

Memorable dinner in Santa Fe?

I have a reservation at the Compound, but am wondering if there are other better options out there for a nice dinner. The menu suggested formal, which may have be a good choice for two tired bodies straggling in from a day trip in Taos. We're staying downtown. Is the Compound the one, or does anyone have any CH suggestions?

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  1. If you want the Compound's level of formality, I think you're in the right place. Good, very safe (perhaps a little tired) food in an unparalleled setting. Slightly more progressive food across the street at Geronimo. Neither really bowls me over, but the overall experience at either will be flawless and distinctively Santa Fean.

    Places a notch or two down in price and formality that might be worth a peek due to what I think is better chow: Georgia (owned by the Geronimo people) and Taberna. Both have lovely outdoor patios and very good food. Taberna has the more inventive food, Georgia has the nicer patio (although the Compound's setting is still nicer), both are absolutely delicious.

    1. Restaurant Martin for an impeccable meal. The raves however are all focused on Kim Mueller's new place at 10000 Waves... Izakaya.

      1 Reply
      1. re: silverfoodie

        Just a little counterpoint on Restaurant Martin: I've been there a number of times in the four years it's been open, and unfortunately my experiences have been steadily worse over time, to the point I can't really recommend it anymore. The food is still absolutely beautiful to look at, but recently I've had too many dishes where the fundamental food preparation was lacking. Yes, by all means create edible art, but there's no excuse for things like overcooked, dry chicken or dessert cake. I will say that their outdoor patio is among my favorite al fresco settings in town, and in Santa Fe that's really saying something!

        Izanami is very good, N.B. it can feel a little frenetic and noisy when it's filled to capacity.

      2. Finiero - your comment has been stewing in me ever since I read it. That's really too bad to hear. My visit was around Feb of this year as I was touring all of the James Beard nominated restaurants in the region, and my critical assessment was that overall it was a very good meal, and the meats and sauces were exceptional. Flavor combinations were a bit subdued for my tastes, but not bad. I've had others say that they were underwhelmed but usually that comment was tied to the price tag. As a chef I understand that when the machine is moving smoothly the universe smiles, but when a kink is thrown in (like possibly his addition) your attention is just not quite where it should be. So I still would advocate for Martin, although right this moment, from what my customers say, I would still have Muller's place at the top of my list.

        1 Reply
        1. re: silverfoodie

          Definitely didn't mean to stew you! I really WANT to like Martin, and I hope they find their feet, but lapses in the fundamentals have happened too frequently lately for me to be able to ignore.

        2. Thanks for the recommendations. There is no substitute for a considered view of an educated eater. Any other choices that are not as traditional Georgia, but not all the way to Restaurant Martin?

          1 Reply
          1. re: Theresa1

            The other place I'd consider is Joseph's of Santa Fe. The menu is at least a smidge more progressive than Georgia and prepared very well, with a heavy emphasis placed on eating local.

            I'd say I was more impressed with the food at my one visit to Georgia than I have been on my multiple visits to Joseph's. The more "varsity level" chow items at Georgia are in limited supply (presumably based on limited demand in this town), but if it's on the menu I think there's a pretty good chance it will be excellent. One of my DCs ordered a 24-hour braised rabbit pasta special that was truly, you know, special.

            Joseph's is quite good, though, especially the starters. And my better half swears by their "cloud cake" dessert, a meringue cake with caramel, grapefruit, and tarragon.

          2. Thanks to the CHers who provided comments and suggestions. After due consideration, we selected Georgia over the Compound. A new SF restaurant, we were generally happy with our choice. We ate in the very tasteful main room. The chef appeared in person - a nice touch. He described his food as the best ingredients simply cooked and elegantly presented, which in our view turned out to be truth in advertising. Georgia's not the most inventive fare (the chef commented he did not favor "muddy" flavors), but it was interesting and for the most part, pleaantly surprising. I really enjoyed the beet salad (wished there was a bit more of it - the quantity seemed a little precious); the edible flowers strewn on top were a nice touch and goat's milk yogurt was a welcome lighter change than the usual goat cheese. Our favorite was the grilled radiccio salad with lovely, clean flavors, slightly deconstructed and just right. Main courses were fine. One featured special, a take on shrimp and grits, needs a bit of tinkering to get just right, in my humble opinion, before it graduates to a more stable part of the menu. All in all, we liked Georgia. It deserves to succeed in the Santa Fe restaurant scene.