Rio Chama: Santa Fe’s Steakhouse

Lynn Cline - May 16, 2017

Relax, unwind and dig into a delectable steak...

When you're craving a thick, juicy steak with the best of sides—garlic mashers, green beans almondine, creamy mac'n'cheese—head on over to Rio Chama, one of Santa Fe's favorite steakhouses. For more than a decade the rambling, romantic rooms in this historic adobe have provided the perfect setting for prime rib, filet mignon, gourmet burgers and more.

Located in Santa Fe's historic Barrio de Analco, Rio Chama is a place to relax and unwind, whether in one of the handsome dining rooms outfitted in Southwestern décor, with rustic beams and a cozy fireplace or on the outside courtyard or patio.

Rio Chama's Executive Chef Tony Blankenship has crafted a menu for serious steak-eaters as well as seafood lovers, vegetarians and fans of fine dining. The prime rib, a signature dish, is brined for 48 hours with herbs and spices then grilled over an open flame and slow-roasted to perfection. It's served with whipped horseradish cream and natural jus, with a side of garlic mashed potatoes and green beans. Be bold and order yours blackened, for extra flavor. The Black Angus Ribeye is equally tender and delicious, served with sauteed mushrooms and onions, house-made steak sauce and truffle fries.

The Buttermilk Fried Chicken is an ultimate comfort food, accompanied by bacon cream gravy, garlic mashed potatoes and garlic spinach. Seafood lovers have plenty of options, from Wild King Salmon with sun-dried tomato-spinach orzo, Kalamata olive tapenade and tomato beurre blanc to Canadian Salmon Fish'n'Chips with green chile tartar sauce, dill fries and creamy coleslaw.

The menu includes a rare dish in Santa Fe's dining scene—fondue made with six cheeses melded with white wine and amber ale and served with bread cubes, cauliflower, broccoli and Granny Smith apples. It's the perfect start to your meal here, and a great dish to share. The Hoisin BBQ Ribs are another signature dish, served with Asian slaw.

Vegetarians have plenty of options, including an impressive array of salads—Wedge, Caesar, Chama Chop, Avocado and Grapefruit and Spinach and Red Wine-Poached Pear—and you can custom-tailor yours by adding steak, chicken, salmon, shrimp and even calamari to any of them. Entrees include

Pasta Primavera—with asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, squash, grape tomatoes and a roasted garlic butter sauce (you can add chicken or shrimp)— and a Quinoa Relleno, stuffed with quinoa, zucchini, squash and corn and served with melted asadero cheese, charred jalapeno-corn sauce, mushroom mole and black beans.

Gourmet sides enhance any of the dishes, from mushroom mole enchiladas (one of my faves here) to truffle risotto, green chile mac'n'cheese (another fave) and green bean almondine. And the desserts include Rio Chama's longtime hit, a Chocolate Pot with vanilla crème Anglaise, as well as a pear almond tart with a pecan maple crust and vanilla crème Anglaise, and lemon cheesecake with a graham cracker crust, berry coulis, vanilla whipped cream and berries. Rio Chama also has a robust wine selection, with some 900 different bottles and nearly 30 wines by the glass, and holds a Wine Spectator Best of Award.

Lunch at Rio Chama includes many of the dinner menu items as well as a few dishes only offered for lunch. The Tuna Melt is one such lunch option, made with seared yellowfin tuna steak with grilled onions, Gruyere and grilled onion mayo on marble rye. The Griddled Country Club is layered with roast turkey Black Forest ham, green chile applewood bacon and cheddar and asadero cheese on nine-grain bread with a side of grilled onion mayo. Pair your sandwich with sweet potato or truffle fries, green chile mac'n'cheese or another of those gourmet sides

Rio Chama also serves a popular weekend brunch, where steak stars in many of the dishes, including Country Fried Prime Rib & Eggs, with battered and deep-fried prime rib, two eggs, hash browns and bacon cream gravy. The Red Chile-Blackened Prime Rib Sandwich is served open face on garlic sourdough with sauteed mushrooms and melted asadero cheese. The house made Corned Beef Hash with two eggs any style will appeal to meat-lovers, too.

You'll also find an array of brunch classics—Eggs Benedict on an English muffin with Canadian bacon, hollandaise sauce and hash browns; and blueberry flapjacks with warm maple syrup, whipped butter, hash browns and eggs any style. Don't forget the house-infused Bloody Marys with chipotle horseradish, and Mimosas with Gruet sparkling wine and fresh orange juice, a perfect accompaniment to every dish on the brunch menu.

So the next time you're in the mood for a good old-fashioned steak with all the trimmings, Rio Chama will fulfill your craving with plenty of options, and introduce you to a few new dishes as well.