I’m lucky that my work allows me to enjoy tasty meals out almost daily. Having traveled the world and dining out for 50 years, it takes a lot for any dish to wow me. Very occasionally, a full meal dazzles on a level of international finesse and imagination. I had one of those rare epiphanies last week when I dined at the Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi.
If you haven’t been there in a while, Managing Director Lutz Arnhold has been steadily raising the bar in the Anasazi’s food and beverage service. The hotel has a new Champagne Room and a new food and beverage manager, who is expanding the wine list as well as the Tequila Table’s offerings of agave spirits. Lutz also coaxed Andre Sattler, a chef within the Rosewood collection of hotels, to join the team. It was a dinner from Chef Andre’s new mid-winter menu that was such a world-class experience.
Chef Andre grew up near Heidelberg, Germany, eating hearty from-scratch meals prepared by his mother. On a family vacation to balmy Spain, when that heavy German food was still being served, he had his own epiphany about more seasonally appropriate food. The desire to showcase cuisines of the world that fit their setting put in motion his thoughts about a culinary career. He also understood that working as a chef would give him a way to travel the world. His first job offer outside of Germany was from a Rosewood hotel in Saudi Arabia. He jumped at it. After all, Rosewood is among the world’s most respected ultra-luxury hotel brands, each with a strong sense of place.
He landed jobs later with other Rosewoods properties, crossing paths with Lutz when both were at Mayakoba, the Mexican Riviera Maya resort. When Lutz had an opening for executive chef late last year, he sought out Andre, who was by that time working in Miami. Andre jumped at the chance to leave urban Miami behind.
AN EPIC DINNER by Chef Andre
One of Chef Andre’s first priorities was to source more food locally. He brought in Beck & Bulow as the supplier of much of the hotel’s “center of the plate” protein. While Tony Beck and J.P. Bulow made their name initially as purveyors of local bison, they also provide New Mexico Wagyu beef, heritage pork, a variety of charcuterie, and seafood sourced by JP’s brother, an Alaskan fisherman. One of the dishes in my dinner featured pristine bison tartare paired with Siberian caviar, and another used that bison in a crispy fried meatball with a berry crumble.
Chef Andre has found a variety of area produce vendors too. I was initially surprised to see a tomato salad on this January menu, but Growing Opportunities delivers full-flavored heirlooms straight from their greenhouse. It would be a stretch to find a better tomato on a warm August day.
Crispy Kurobuta pork belly came with a charred scallion and a deeply savory sauce of morel mushrooms and Marsala wine. Wagyu beef was served over a bed of hot stones, a striking presentation, and one that kept the velvety meat warm on a chilly night. A thickly sliced single elegant trumpet mushroom accompanied the beef. I’d love to sample the bison New York strip steak on another visit. There was a special that evening of a whole fried red snapper in a sublime tempura batter. The chef had cut the fillets of the fish into cubes so that every bite was wrapped fully in the shatteringly crisp crust. My companion and I dunked each morsel into a chipotle aioli or an Asian fish sauce. The dish was perfect for two. Chef Andre’s also offering a whole chicken and a whole halibut tail for people to share.
That evening, a whiskey-laced bread pudding was on offer, with a crown of cinnamon ice cream. We finished with an ultra-anejo tequila, 818, full of caramel and vanilla aromas.
OTHER DINING OPTIONS
A dinner on this scale will set a diner back a substantial amount of cash. Not only will you be eating an excellent meal, but it will be served by trained friendly staff in a warm and inviting dining room. One can eat here for a more modest investment by ordering just a couple of dinner dishes or coming for breakfast or lunch.
I love this space in the daytime too, with golden light streaming through the windows. In the morning, I often opt for either the tres leches French toast or huevos rancheros. Mid-day, I most often pick from an assortment of tacos or the crunchy chicken sandwich, but there’s a full array of salads and other dishes with Southwestern flair. The more moderately priced Tuesday taco night will return for dinner in warmer months, as will dining on the outdoor terrace overlooking all the action of downtown Santa Fe. The bar offers simple scrumptious dishes like ceviche with its famous Silver Coin margaritas or other beverages.
If you’re looking ahead to Valentine’s Day, Andre and staff will be serving a special dinner on February 11, the Saturday evening before. The meal starts with a Champagne reception featuring raw East Coast oysters and other finger foods. A five-course dinner follows. Check with the restaurant for more details and to reserve your seats. You might think about booking a room for the night, too. What a sumptuous pairing!
Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi
113 Washington Avenue, just off the Santa Fe Plaza
Story by Cheryl Alters Jamison. Photos courtesy Open Kitchen and Chef Nikki Tran.
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.