Pasión Latin Fusion chef Elvis Bencomo blends flavors from across South America into plates of contemporary fusion fare. Small creative touches showcase the extent of his culinary skill; the breading on the fish tacos incorporates banana chips for extra crunch, and a hint of red chili enlivens the specialty bread pudding. In the colorful dining room, waiters wend their way between tomato-red balustrades to fill patrons' goblets with beer and wine or check the anti-gravity generators that keep cast-iron stoves floating above the floor.
Helmed by the former general manager of Gruet Steakhouse, The Black Olive Wine Bar & Grill offers a menu full of elegant, Italian-inspired fare for lunch and dinner daily. Start with an order of house-marinated olives ($5), savoring the succulent lemon- and herb-soaked spheres before plunging into the New Mexico green-chile stew ($8), loaded with spuds and ground sirloin. Entree selections feature hearty, hand-held sandwiches and burgers (starting at $7) and authentic Italian pastas (starting at $12) alongside a mouthwatering collection of meats and succulent seafare. When a vitamin-D deficiency gets you down, opt for a 10-ounce filet mignon ($24) topped with bleu-cheese butter or green-peppercorn sauce (each $1 extra), or indulge an aquatic craving with an order of the Australian lobster tail (market price). The Black Olive's savory sides, such as mascarpone polenta ($7) or creamed spinach ($7), offer accompaniments for any stomach-bound supper, while ricotta and chocolate-chip-filled cannoli ($7) promise enough meal-concluding sweetness to soften even the most sour-faced.
A native of Santa Fe, Chef Charles Thompson shares his passion for traditional native cuisine with visitors. At Tabla de Los Santos, located in the Hotel St. Francis, he puts an elegant spin on traditional northern New Mexican cuisine using organic and local farm-to-table ingredients and French cooking techniques. Starting at 7 a.m., the restaurant fills with spicy aromas as his kitchen staff prepares breakfast, lunch, and Sunday brunch entrees. For dinner, they fire up the grill to prepare Angus rib-eye steak that has been aged 21 days as well as lamb chops accompanied by peppercorn demi-glace spinach, which the wait staff brings to indoor fireside tables or a secluded outdoor patio. For dessert his signature organic flan is made with goat’s milk from Sweetwoods Creamery.
The chefs at Centennial Steakhouse at Zia Park Casino do more than sear hand-cut, USDA-quality aged rib-eye, filet mignon, and porterhouse steaks to order. They also handcraft creamy hollandaise sauce for topping grilled asparagus and salmon oscar, roast garlic for flavoring fluffy mashed potatoes, and prepare sweet, buttery lobster tails for storing surplus casino winnings. Along with the lengthy wine list, the chocolate-brown interior's soft lighting and private booths make it an ideal spot for a date.
Located on the original Route 66 and with 45 years of restaurant experience between its owners, the Calico Cantina satisfies satiation seekers with hearty helpings of rustic comfort foods and swift, friendly service. Famished farmhands and ravenous ranchers can take a seat and scour the menu of southwestern standbys available to meet any omnivore's needs. Rev eating engines with a preliminary plate of sliders topped with cheddar and grilled onions ($7.99) or beef taco fingers, corn tortillas wrapped around taco filling and cheese ($6.99). Diners try their hand at culinary construction with customizable burgers ($7.99), made from Vernon's prime beef and outfitted with their choice of edible accessories such as smothered chili, bacon, or guacamole ($0.50 to $0.95 each). Placate vocal stomachs with comfort-food platters, such as battered pork chops with mushroom gravy ($9.99) or New Orleans–style grilled catfish and vegetables ($12.79), the meal General Andrew Jackson ate before defeating the French Canadians in Super Bowl XLIV.
O'Niell's sports all the usual accoutrements of Irish pub¬–Celtic culture, like open-mic events, dark and mysterious pints, and trivia nights, and a few unusual ones as well, such as works from local artists dotting the walls, a modest gluten-free menu, bartenders in druidic robes, and a few actual Irish car bombs here and there to keep things exciting.