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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Find New Southwestern Style in Santa Fe

2. Where to Eat

Within a cozy adobe, Chef Joseph Wrede reimagines classic New Mexico flavors at Joseph's.  

Sample updated izakaya cuisine at Izanami, part of the venerable spa Ten Thousand Waves. A twist on the traditional Japanese drinking tavern, the focus here is on shareable small plates with locally sourced meats and produce and 50 types of sake. Settle into a custom-made booth or communal table, or opt for traditional floor seating (no shoes) in the tatami room, and start with the kinpira gobo (burdock root) with carrot-and-sesame soy dressing ($7). Move on to pork-belly kakuni with pickled watermelon ($12) and tonkatsu—a panko pork-loin cutlet with hot-mustard miso sauce ($12). Be sure to try a sake flight or two (from $12), from the sweetly spicy “mighty peak” ($10) to the rich “nigori” (cloudy) unpasteurized “forest spirit” ($12). The open, minimalist space is dressed in timber, warm paper lanterns, and Pop-y artwork by Japanese contemporary artist Ai Kato, while the outside patio has pleasant views of the nearby mountains.

Experience the French side of Santa Fe at cozy downtown bistro Bouche (reservations recommended). Grab a table near the wood-burning fireplace and watch the theatrical open-kitchen goings-on. The seasonally changing menu by chef Charles Dale (a Frenchman and disciple of chef Ferran Adrià) showcases locally sourced meat and produce, so it’s best to begin by delving into a specialty charcuterie trio of San Daniele prosciutto, Saucisson de Lyon, and chicken-liver pâté ($20). Try the tenderloin steak tartare with a fresh farm egg ($18), before moving on to updated brasserie classics like black mussels with white wine and red chili ($16), braised short ribs “pot au feu”–style ($30), or calf’s liver dijonnaise ($27). Retire to the ramada-covered patio and sip from a bottle of the local Gruet Blanc de Blancs ($42).

Dig into contemporary New Mexican cuisine at Joseph’s, a “culinary pub” within a small downtown adobe with wood-beamed ceilings. Chef Joseph Wrede’s 16 years in Taos have informed his beautifully plated creations, like juicy ribeye with parsley chimichurri ($38) and porcini-and-citrus-dusted halibut filet with mole verde ($32). The more casual bar menu (also available in the main restaurant) nods to homey pub fare with crisp duck-fat fries with house-made ketchup ($9), local lamb ribs with East Indian mint pesto ($14), and a solid lamb burger with local feta and green chili ($15). The outside patio is lively, perfect for sipping a pint of New Mexico’s Marble IPA ($6) while you’re waiting for your table. Save room for imaginative desserts like bay-leaf panna cotta with blackberry-espresso sauce ($12) and caramel-tamari duck-fat ice cream ($8).

Published on Nov 13, 2014 as a web exclusive.