Gourmet Girl: Eldorado Eats

Gourmet Girl - March 24, 2015

The culinary scene in Eldorado is heating up with new restaurants, dinner spots and craft cocktails, too.

For months, chef Paulraj Karuppasamy of paper dosa has wowed diners with his authentic Indian street fare, served at events across the city. Paper dosa had a regular Monday  pop-up dinner date with Cafe Fina, which brought lines for his famous dosas – South Indian crepes filled with a variety of spiced, exotic ingredients and served with fragrant chutneys of tomato, coconut, sambar. The cafe stopped hosting the dinners a while back, but paper dosa now has found a home of its own at 551 W.Cordova Road. It's helmed by Karuppasamy and his wife and business partner, Nellie Tischler, and the menu features traditional Indian food including curries, chutneys, raitha, mango and goat cheese salad, organic mung sprout salad, and the famous dosas filled with a variety of delicious, exotic ingredients like white truffles, lamb, paneer, collard greens and sweet pepper and three cheeses. Dosas are made with fermented rice and lentils and served with an array of fragrant chutneys, including tomato, coconut and sambar. Paper dosa's menu also includes uttapams, a South Indian pancake with ingredients cooked inside the batter.

Dosas on a Plate

by Lynn Cline

Paper dosa may be gone from the neighborhood, but Eldorado is rapidly becoming a culinary outpost of Santa Fe, with a diverse offering of restaurants, including the brand new Cafe Oasis, serving up Mediterranean fare from gyros with beef and lamb, or falafel, chicken and more to inventive sandwiches like the Tacchino, with oven-roasted turkey, caramelized onions, pesto aioli and provolone cheese. There's also a classic Reuben, a Cubano with pulled pork, ham, pickles, Swiss cheese, garlic/lemon aioli and mustard, and a Melanzana, with roasted eggplant, roasted red peppers, caramelized onions, tomatoes, pesto aioli and provolone cheese.The menu also includes fresh salads and items for kids. Cafe Oasis is located in La Tienda and is open Tuesday through Saturday, 11 am to 8 pm

Also in Eldorado is Chez Dre, a charming French cafe that recently started serving dinner and offering craft cocktails, beer, wine and other drinks. Here, you can start your day with breakfast burritos, fresh croissants, pan au chocolat, cinnamon buns or biscuits and gravy. Or stop by for lunch and try the Croque Monsieur or Madame, a Brie Burger made with Kobe beef and pickled onions, a Chicken Cordon Bleu sandwich, Mahi Mahi tacos, steak frites, pork tenderloin with apple cider chutney...and that's just for lunch! Chez Dre also hosts a happy hour Monday through Saturday from 3 to 5 pm featuring drinks, apps and desserts for just $5! The menu includes Kobe beef sliders, crab green chile corn hushpuppies, green chile bacon mac and cheese, pork wonton tacos and much more.

Just up the road on Old Las Vegas Highway in a vintage gas station, Cafe Fina has added beer, wine and sake to its menu, and now serves dinner Thursdays through Saturdays, 5:30 to 8:30 pm, with delectable dishes including mushroom lasagne, duck confit, fried oysters, fish tacos and, of course, the cafe's classic green chile cheeseburger. The crispy polenta with creamy gorgonzola sauce, breadcrumbs and scallions alone makes the drive from town worth it! I, however, am lucky to live in the 'hood, just behind this great restaurant, so I can simply walk down the country lane for dinner...and I always get that polenta!

Crispy Polenta from Cafe Fina

by Lynn Cline

Eldorado also has a neighborhood Tap Room in La Tienda operated by the Santa Fe Brewing Company. There's a great shuffleboard table and a local crowd that stops by for amazing deals on fresh brews. If you're hungry, you can order a hand-tossed pizza from Pizza Centro located across the street in the Agora. Their artisan pies are rich and hearty with inventive specials like Hell's Kitchen, with sausage, flash-fried eggplant, green chile, and jalapeno; The Soho, with roasted chicken, mushroom, sundried tomato and truffle oil,and The Chinatown, with prosciutto, pineapple, green pepper, onion, balsamic glaze, marinara, whole milk mozzarella.

Or you could order take-out from La Plancha, a Latin grill-style restaurant located next door that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner (their Sunday brunches are famous among Eldoradoeans). The menu includes jumbo shrimp with avocado, rice and refried black greens; chicken mole, roasted chile poblano with chile arbol and poblano cream sauces and roasted tomatillos; Salvadorian tamales with red or green chile, fajitas, and a Plato Tipico Centro Americano, consisting of pupusa, empanada, tamale and fried plantain. Yum!

As you head out of Eldorado, don't miss the Blue Moon Cafe, right next to the gas station and serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. This place is famous for its home cooking, from country-fried steak and eggs and pork chops and eggs to sourdough sandwich with egg, cheese and bacon, Bacon Blu Burger, pulled pork BBQ sandwich, chile relleno and more.