Seasonal Santa Fe Plates

Santafe.com - June 6, 2017

Summer is nearly here and with it, a fresh crop of dishes in restaurants around the city

Summer is nearly upon us and with it, a fresh crop of food that makes its way from nearby farms to restaurants across the city, served as ingredients in delectable seasonal plates. Locals have their die-hard favorites—thick and juicy green chile cheeseburgers paired with milkshakes, grilled steaks and fish, stuffed squash blossoms and desserts that feature the flavors of the season. Here's a look at just a few of the tempting dishes worth savoring from restaurant menus right now around Santa Fe, whether you're in the mood for sharing small plates or digging into a veritable feast.

Arroyo Vino is known for its sublime seasonal fare, created by chef Colin Shane, who was a semifinalist for the 2017 James Beard Rising Star Chef of the Year award. Shane's current menu celebrates the season with Strawberry Gazpacho, made with strawberry confit, Chinese celery, bresaola, focaccia, basil, green grapes and garden flowers. Try the Petrale Sole Veronique with green grapes, fennel, morels, Italian parsley, yucca blossoms and verjus blanc. For dessert, the Pistachio & Cherries combo features Luxardo cherries, bruleed bananas and crystalized chocolate and the Bittersweet Chocolate Delice is a decadent dish with charred grapefruit, ancho chile crumble and caramel sauce.

Eloisa at the Drury Plaza Hotel quickly became a favorite with locals and visitors alike when John Sedlar opened it a few years ago, returning to his native Santa Fe after running some of L.A.'s most successful restaurants. His culinary creativity is evidenced in every dish, including small plates such as Cochiti Pueblo Gazpacho, a chilled summer soup that combines honeydew and cantaloupe, and Zuni Summer Tacos with fresh jicama wafer, guacamole, pickled vegetables and ginger. For entrees, try the Campfire Rib-eye, cooked Santa Fe style with red-eye coffee-chile rub and served with tortilla lasagne. Equally delicious is the Pecos River Trout, featuring blue corn cornmeal-crusted pan-fried trout with oregano and warm corn salad. For an artistic evening that pays tribute to New Mexico's most iconic artist, savor The O'Keeffe Table, a five-course menu that features the foods Georgia O'Keeffe grew and cooked at her home in Abiquiu.

I've written about them before and I'm sure I'll write about them again because the Squash Blossom Beignets at 315 Restaurant & Wine Bar are worth mentioning often. They are the very epitome of summer on a plate. Wrapped in a pillow of lightly fried dough, stuffed with goat cheese and served with a Madras apricot chutney, these beignets are a longtime summer staple, and a favorite of . They are very seasonal, so if they're not on the menu when you visit, try the House-Smoked Trout Rillettes with grilled flat bread, pickled red onions and caper berries. For dessert,  Lemon Crepes with Cointreau-Macerated Strawberries and warm orange caramel sauce  are perfect for the season, as is Classic French Mille-Feuille with pastry cream and wild berry purée.

The menu at Bouche Bistro changes seasonally, and in summer includes dishes featuring ingredients grown in chef/owner Charles Dales' home garden. Try the seasonal salad, a flavorful combo of arugula and frisée , pine nut-crusted goat cheese and crispy pncetta, followed by a signature dish that's perfect for summer, or anytime of year—Black Mussels in White Wine and Red Chile. And because chocolate is always in style, no matter the season, indulge in Nutella Chocolate Mousse.

For a California beach shack experience, head over to Shake Foundation and grab a seat at the outdoor picnic tables, where vintage tunes play all day long. Order the fried oyster sandwich, piled on a roll and slathered with red chile mayo, which has a nice kick. Or try a classic green chile cheeseburger and hand-cut shoestring fries. If you're hungry, order the double—or even the triple(!)—burger and you'll soon be stuffed. No matter what you choose, be sure to pair it with an Adobe Mud Shake or root beer float and you'll feel like summer is here.

Vinaigrette's salads are always in season, featuring fresh ingredients in innovative salad combos. The Cherry Tart salad is a hit, made with dried cherries, mild feta cheese, Swiss chard, baby arugula and toasted pecans tossed with champagne vinaigrette. The Garden Salad is loaded with baby greens, shaved carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes and pickled fennel with a bright Romesco dressing. For something more hearty, try the Arugula Duck salad, with duck confit t, baby arugula, creamy goat cheese, balsamic roasted pears and hibiscus vinaigrette. The Salacho is a flavorful combo of chopped red cabbage and romaine, tomato and corn, green and red onion, seasoned beef and chorizo, cheddar and jack cheese with a cumin honey-lime vinaigrette.