In Santa Fe for the next few days. Been reading Chowhound, Yelp, dining guides, blogs, etc, trying to decide where to eat. I generally shy away from fine dining in resort/tourist dominated areas. I've found that it's usually over-priced and can't compete with the quality of top tier dining destinations like NY, Chicago, or San Francisco, or even top restaurants in lesser food cities like Seattle, DC, or Houston. But people keep insisting that the fine dining is truly good here and my first meal in town at La Choza was so mediocre I'm a little scared of the more pedestrian eats now, too. (And I don't think I'll bother with The Shed now, which seems to be the most recommended restaurant on CH for SF.)
Looking through menus of recommended spots, such as Geronimo and Coyote Cafe, I'm becoming disheartened. It's like these chefs never left the '90s (or '80s). Ingredients flown in from all over the world put together in a chaotic fashion with fusiony this and that?
Was looking at the Ristra menu, thinking from the name and the description on the website that they might actually, "capture the simple and powerful spirit of New Mexico through its decor, ambiance and cuisine." But the menu doesn't seem New Mexican at all -- chipotles, ahi tuna, orzo, etc. And the the topper: chilean sea bass. Talk about the '90s! From the ingredient list, the menu would make more sense in the Polanco District of Mexico City. I had a harder time telling with Anasazi. Looked more modern, more of a New American fusion with Mediterranean dishes using Southwest seasonal ingredients, perhaps.
Is there a place trying harder to do some thing seasonal emphasizing local traditions and foods? Or, I'd just be happy with a place making classic New Mexican fare with top quality ingredients and a really good palate behind the scenes.
La Choza Restaurant
905 Alarid St, Santa Fe, NM 87505