315 Restaurant and Wine Bar sits on Old Santa Fe Trail, one of the city’s most iconic streets. Walk through the door, though, and find yourself immediately transported to France. The high-top tables, the bar, the mirrors with the day’s wines by the glass written across them in distinctive script — it’s a trip to Paris without the jet lag. Patio dining’s lovely here, as long as the weather holds. I’m always happy to sit in one of the dining rooms, but 315 feels most francais when sitting in the bar.
It’s always a good sign to me when respected local chefs and restaurateurs frequent the establishments of other pros. I saw two dining here the evening I last stopped by.
315 is one place I always start a meal with oysters on the half shell. Well, sometimes I finish a meal with them, too! They’re a real specialty. During my last dinner here, the choices were both from Eastern shores — New England Blue Points, with their creamy sweetness, and somewhat more briny Malpeques from Prince Edward Island. I generally try some of whatever’s available, but you can order any quantity of one, or all, of the day’s options.
Fries and Main Courses
A friend, when dining out anywhere, orders French fries for the table as soon as the group sits down. If the kitchen gets the fries right, it’s a good sign of things to come. Those here are scrumptious, a tangle of skinny frites with garlicky aioli. If you want to eat them more conventionally, get them on the side with either the New York strip steak or steamed mussels.
This kitchen fries foods exceedingly well. If you’re more in the mood for an American comfort classic, fried chicken’s a forte, too. It comes with homey mashed potatoes and green beans. If you want a lighter dish, get the Caesar salad with the addition of fried scallops.
The French onion soup, properly rich, and blanketed in melted Comte cheese, makes a hearty starter, or a small but satisfying repast. The curly-cue pasta, cavatappi, is another starter that could be the center of a meal. The pasta, made in-house, mingles with shreds of duck confit and woodsy porcini mushrooms.
I’ve been to France twice in recent months, and something odd stood out to me about dessert both times. By far, the most frequent café finales we were offered were tiramisu and lemon meringue pie. Huh? What happened to real French classics, crème brûlée or chocolate pots de crème? Well, you can find both here at 315. Other French-style desserts are lemon crepes and airy profiteroles with vanilla ice cream and dark chocolate sauce.
The restaurant has a full bar and plenty of cocktail options. It’s wine, though, that always feels right to me here. Chef/owner Louis Moskowitz takes his wine list very seriously. It shows real depth in French, Italian, and California selections, in particular. Louis always has a number of half bottles on the list, something I appreciate as a frequent solo diner. Even when dining with others, it makes it more feasible to enjoy multiple wines during a meal, matching each specifically to the course.
315 — It all adds up to a splendid evening!
315 Restaurant and Wine Bar
315 Old Santa Fe Trail
Open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday
Story and photos by Cheryl Alters Jamison
Four-time James Beard Foundation Book Award-winning author Cheryl Alters Jamison is the host of Heating It Up on KTRC and is now the “queen of culinary content” for SantaFe.com. Find new stories about the Santa Fe food scene each week on SantaFe.com.