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What's new in Santa Fe: Restaurant news for March 2014

The Compound Restaurant Santa Fe
The Compound Restaurant Santa Fe
The Compound Restaurant

The city of Santa Fe may be busy with skiing and snowboarding in the mountains, but with sunny, crisp days in town, fresh things are happening in the world of Santa Fe cuisine. Here is what’s new in Santa Fe this season:

The Compound Restaurant reopened after a two-week remodeling project that included new diamond plaster on the walls throughout the historic property. New sous chef Michael Frank, most recently of the Phoenician in Scottsdale, arrived just in time to help Chef Mark Kiffen create a winter menu that includes new items like pancetta wrapped monk fish plus new flavors for old favorites like the pan-roasted chicken breast now with shaved pear and foie gras jus. New furnishing and upholstery are planned in the coming weeks.

Shake Foundation is now open in a re-imagined gas station on Cerrillos Road near downtown. It’s the brainchild of well-known Santa Fe chef Brian Knox whose vision is to rejuvenate nostalgic foods with local, highest quality ingredients. The iconic New Mexico green chile cheeseburger is, of course, the star of the menu, plus classic burgers, lamb burgers, an oyster sandwich, and old-fashioned shakes made with Taos Cow Ice Cream.

Izanami, a Japanese-style grill has opened at Ten Thousand Waves. In a wooded setting in the mountain foothills, the restaurant features a high-beamed ceiling, cozy booths, and lots of Japanese art. The menu is small, tempting plates and the artisanal sake selection can’t be beat.

L’ Olivier has opened on Galisteo Street, downtown. The French/Southwestern bistro is owned by chef Xavier Grenet who trained in Europe and was most recently executive chef at Ristra. The menu features soups, salads, and sandwiches for lunch and a range of creative entrees for dinner.

Inspired by the Brazilian experience at the Museum of International Folk Art –more information on the experience below– the Museum Hill Café has a new, prix fixe four-course menu featuring the robust flavors of Brazil including a duck tostada, feijoada, a traditional stew of meat and black beans, Brazilian Empanada, Queso Fundido and Orange Flan. The Brazilian selections are optionally paired with wines for a celebratory lunch. The café has spectacular views and is open from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. daily.

Long-time Santa Fe chef Fernando Olea – of Bert’s Burger Bowl fame – opened his latest restaurant, Epazote on the Hillside, on Valentine’s Day. The lunch spot, 11am to 2:30 pm, will feature Olea’s New World Cuisine in the art and craft filled market space. Look for the chef’s signature cuitlacoche based dishes, tuna tartar and desserts. Dinner service is planned for the future.

El-Evation Bistro opened the first of the year and has been getting great reviews for its traditional American fare, hip ambiance and attentive service. Not to mention the convenient downtown location, happy hour deals and friendly vibe. Look for more as this place gets its feet on the ground.

The Draft Station, opened in early February, is downtown’s newest taproom and pouring 13 local craft beers. Located in the Santa Fe Arcade the new brew pub has one of the few second floor patios in the city with a commanding view of the Plaza. Serving food from sister operation Rooftop Pizzeria, the Draft Station is certain to be an instant hit with Santa Fe locals and visitors alike.

Information courtesy: Santa Fe CVB