Southwestern panache at Joseph’s restaurant

Zingy, zesty cuisine is the order of the day at this Santa Fe gem

Any visit to Santa Fe should really revolve around food: new restaurants, cafés and incredible farmer’s markets are the beating heart of the scene. One of the latest additions to this delicious field is Joseph’s of Santa Fe, a jewel box of a restaurant that serves vegetable-centric dishes in a wood-beamed setting that fuses traditional adobe architecture and Native American flourishes.

Once seated at our table in the bar area, my party opted for several small plates – delicate halibut- and sea-bass ceviche ($18) with red and green jalapeños, red onion, cilantro and lime; a beautifully simple salad ($11) of raw zucchini, squash and fennel shavings, with butter lettuces in a black-truffle vinaigrette that was full of zest; and a stack salad ($11) of roasted sunchokes, beets and locally made goat’s cheese that could have made for a substantial main course. Of the eight entrées offered that night, we sampled two: a pan-seared sea bass ($30) set atop a sweet miso-potato purée, garnished with a housemade kim-chee; and crisped eggplant with a French-lentil tahini sauce ($20). Both dishes were outstanding, but if I’m honest, they were completely trumped by the accompanying duck-fat fries with the chef’s own ketchup ($9).

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I was ready to skip the pudding and call it a night, but an introduction to the affable chef and the offer of a sliver of his signature Cloud Cake ($14) – an Italian meringue with caramel sauce, fresh tarragon and grapefruit supreme – could not be declined. And thank heavens.

I’m due to return to Sante Fe next spring, and will be making a beeline for Joseph’s picturesque patio – the best place, I’m told, to sip its Root Beer Floats…

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