The Detour Kitchen: Santa Fe’s New Neighborhood Eatery - October 3, 2017

A new neighborhood eatery serving affordable, delectable cuisine

Taking a detour off the beaten path sometimes leads to serendipity, especially if it takes you to The Detour Kitchen, a new neighborhood eatery serving affordable, delectable cuisine. Tucked away in the Railyard, apart from the crowds and pricey parking spots, The Detour Kitchen is a bright, airy, modern venue with high ceilings, tall windows, soft earth tones and a fresh vibe that welcomes you the moment you walk through the door.

If the faces that greet you look familiar, that's because they are. The Detour Kitchen is the newest restaurant from Ziggy Rzig, who owned the Brazilian barbecue grill Omira in the same space before closing it earlier this year in order to open something new. Rzig, who is from Tunisia, also owns Pyramid Cafe, with locations in Santa Fe and Los Alamos.

When chef Miguel Isidro Quintana stops by your table to see how everything tastes, you may recognize him, too. He's been working in some of Santa Fe's top restaurants—Joseph's Culinary Pub, Restaurant Martin–for two decades. Julian Marquez, formerly of the Swiss Bistro and the Legal Tender, is the general manager, and beloved Santa Fe chef and cooking teacher John Vollertsen (Johnny Vee) had a big hand in advising Rzig with the menu and the restaurant's overall concept.

And what a concept it is. This is creative comfort food at its best, and it spans the globe. There's a focus on popular New Mexico dishes with a fresh spin—enchiladas in a cast-iron skillet, trios of tacos with chicken, beef, fish or red chile eggplant, a trio of burgers including green chile cheeseburgers and more. Other specialties include an excellent version of beer-battered Fish & Chips with chipotle tartar sauce, Lamb Shank Osso Buco and Veracruz Cod Fish in a white wine tomato sauce served with celery, onions, Spanish olives, capers, rice and beans. Classic American fare includes Prime Rib with mashed potatoes and veggies and Cornish game hen with lemon-rosemary cream, garlic mashed potatoes and the vegetable of the day. Pasta includes Linguine Garlic Shrimp in a light white wine sauce and Penne Alfredo with a sauce made from scratch and a choice of green chile, shrimp, chicken or pesto. There's even a kid's menu, offering quesadillas, sliders or chicken with fries, rice or veggies.

The front room houses the handsome wooden bar as well as a number of comfortable tables and chairs and abstract paintings on the walls. A softly burning gas fireplace mounted on the wall divides the front room from the larger dining room in back, with plenty of seating for groups of any size. This is place to linger with family and friends over multiple courses of food that will leave you feeling sated and content.

The Detour Kitchen serves lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday and also offers a Happy Hour from 5 to 6, with great food and drink specials. The wine and beer options include a refreshing agave margarita concocted by Marquez, and apps off the regular menu such as a trio of dips with house-made chips—choose from Johnny Vee's famous Chunky Chile con Queso, the perfectly prepped guacamole, grilled tomatillo salsa or salsa roja. The Kicky Chicken Wings Sally are cooked in a lip-smacking sweet secret sauce that comes from Rzikg's Asian wife, Sally. Other starters include the Chicken Quesadilla Tower with green chile and asadero cheese, accompanied by Latin black beans, and an out-of-this-world Shrimp Ceviche served in an avocado with more house-made chips. This is destined to be a popular place to meet after work and unwind from the day with family and friends over good food.

If you haven't yet found your way to The Detour Kitchen, mark your calendars for Monday, October 16, when the restaurant hosts a grand opening party from 5 to 8 pm with complimentary samples of signature dishes and music by the popular Latin band Nosotros. After just one visit, you'll likely feel the way I did—thrilled to have a new restaurant in town that's local yet off that beaten path, serving reliably excellent food priced for locals.