Restaurants & Bars


Joseph's of Santa Fe


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Joseph's of Santa Fe

finlero | | Jan 25, 2014 11:05 AM

I recently had the chance to get over to Joseph's of Santa Fe with a few chow-philic friends. I'd never been to Joseph's Table up in Taos, but I'd heard consistently favorable things about it, and was excited to try the Santa Fe incarnation of it. The meal wasn't quite a revelation, but it was very good top to bottom, and reasonable value for the price point as well, with the arguable exception of its wine list.

Located in the former Azur space near Sanbusco, the place is small, cozy, and welcoming, and although the staff seemed a little green, they had been trained well and were totally personable and knowledgeable.

The menu is unpretentious, upscale farm-to-table New American, using as many local ingredients as possible. As is so often the case at a restaurant like this, the starters seemed substantially more interesting, focused, and delicious than the mains. Standouts were a raw vegetable salad with a truffle vinaigrette and grilled polenta with chicken liver mousse. The entrees were fine, if remarkably large and a little overly blunt. My confit-style duck dish had two giant duck legs, which was particularly weird given the slightly smaller than average starter portions. Neither my entree nor tastes of anyone else's quite knocked my socks off, but they were all competently prepared, and the flavors were fresh and thoughtfully integrated. Desserts were above average, but nothing I'd expressly seek out again; a standout was the "cloud cake", a giant, fluffy Italian meringue cake in a caramel sauce, garnished with grapefruit and tarragon.

Overall, the prices are high, but far from exorbitant; all but one entree fell somewhere in the 20s. On the other hand, I thought the CA- and France-heavy wine list was kind of bizarrely chosen in terms of price, starting high but petering out short of the stratosphere. They have a few cheap (in all senses of the word) bottles in the 30s, the sweet spot seems to be around $80, and almost nothing on the list is above $150. Our Sinskey pinot noir ($78 at about a 100% markup) was possibly the highlight of the meal, but come on, it's not like it would require bending over backwards to offer a few more $30 or $40 bottles that don't suck. They also have a nice, short craft beer menu which would go really well with the bold food flavors.

Despite no hard liquor license, I was pleased to see they have a bar menu, the rarest of rarities in Santa Fe, including a great looking burger, as well as duck fat fries, all $14 or less.

So although I don't see myself becoming an uber-regular, Joseph's is a nice upscale addition to the city, and I'll definitely be glad to get back from time to time, especially with out-of-town guests.

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