I want to put in a plug for the lunch at La Casa Sena. First, just to thank them for having a lunch menu at all. Then, for having reasonable prices. Finally, for delicious food. I would love to thanks them for the stellar service but there were a couple of bumps in the road.
I entered La Casa Sena at 2pm on a Sunday. The dining room was less than half full and most diners were winding down (lunch service ends at 3:30) but there were fires in the fireplaces and a light snow outside which made the lovely room feel snug and comfortable. I was greeted by a distracted hostess and had to over-explain my presence. "Lunch for one." "Yes, just one." I was seated at a lovely table and the famous blue corn muffins arrived promptly, as did my very competent waitress. I ordered the Sena Sampler and a glass of Irony Chardonnay. I informed my server that I was going to the restroom and when I got back my muffins were gone! The hostess was two tables away and when I got her attention she said "yes?" STILL from two tables away. I don't like to yell across the dining room and advertise service flaws--and she shouldn't either-- so I asked her if she could come closer. She sort of huffed over and I asked (nicely) if I could get my muffins back. It was so worth it because they are the bomb. Blue corn, green chile, freshly made.
The rest of the service was very smooth and I was very happy with the food. When I go to a "nice" restaurant I like to eat things that I would not/ could not make at home and I always leave tamales to the experts. This tamale was porky and lovely and made me very happy. The shrimp had just the right amount of crunch and the mango salsa was perfect, not to sweet or soggy. I don't see flautas on a lot of menus in Albuquerque so I enjoyed these for the novelty AND the taste.
As for the service--when I travel abroad, particularly France, I often encounter ladies having lunch alone. Often they're impeccably dressed and are happy to savor their wine and food by the window. They are not treated any differently by servers, bussers or hosts--perhaps because it is so much more common elsewhere. I always want my dining experiences to be like that when I dine alone but I find that servers/ hosts are often just not up to the task. Oh well. I'll keep trying.
La Casa Sena
125 East Palace Avenue, Santa Fe, NM 87501