Finally made it to this, the latest effort by the guys who own/operate Geronimo; in an old space, a stand-by for many, The Palace Restaurant, a block off the Plaza in Santa Fe.
The "place" first... it is decorated very tastefully in a southwest mode. It is lacking a bit in "character" but that takes time I think. All memories of the old Palace; the red-flocked wallpaper of the bordello it once was are gone. Staff was attentive and professional; knowledgeable about the menu etc the two times I've been in. Place was a little more than half full both times with street-side, Palace Avenue tables all taken and the back, outdoor patio busy. They do not appear to have hit a "stride" yet compelling people to come/try it. Guests seemed to be largely visitors. The advertising like that for Geronimo is very high-class/sophisticated which might be causing some hesitation.
The food... menu is "comfort food" with a decided southwest bent and skewed more to a "high-end" mind set than the nearby, venerable Plaza restaurant. There is an $11 Green Chile Cheeseburger, a Half Chicken with a Mole Sauce as well as a BBQ Rib Plate (both $16, I think), a fish special-of-the-day. Things I've eaten thus far that I liked a lot were that chicken with mole and Spicy Shrimp Tacos with a sauce and a salsa; soft tacos (4) with a very small side of beans... Pulled Pork Enchiladas with Green Chile (red chile or Christmas, of course, also possible) served with a very small bit of Spanish Rice (taco and enchilada plates are available with either chicken, pork or shrimp)... and Green Chile Mac and Cheese.
I'd heard that this Mac and Cheese was good so it was a must-try. It was VERY good and very satisfying should a Mac-and-Cheese dish ever be a craving. It is different in that it is a plate of rigatoni under/in the sauce, not Meuller's elbow macaroni baked. The bite of the chile/jalapeno is subtle and welcome. Note that though it is called Mac and Cheese it is more a conventional pasta dish. At $11 it ain't cheap but I'd be hard-pressed to not order it again were I ever ordering say, the hamburger.
Wines and Specialty Drinks... All sorts of margaritas and mojitos possible from the full bar of course and they are very fairly priced. The wine list is fairly extensive incorporating many of the old Palace's Italian wines with many wines that they carry at Geronimo. Prices for wine while not cheap are surprisingly fair for Santa Fe. (Note I've long complained about the outrageously high wine prices at Geronimo.) Couple examples - a Honig sauvignon blanc, usually $14 at retail, about $40 here; an excellent (and personal favorite) rose from Garretson in California, "The Celeidh", anywhere from $20-$23 at retail here; $42 in the restaurant; Stony Hill gewurtztraminer at $44. I mention those three because they are specifically good wines to go with this sort of food; plenty of others to choose from. While most wines are $40+ they've wisely (I think) left the $150 - $200+ bottles of really coveted stuff up on Canyon Road at Geronimo. A small, o.k. but undistinguished list of wines-by-the-glass is available for $8.
I'd go back especially if I had someone in from out of town who didn't want "fancy/special" but still wanted "good".
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