If like me, you came of age in the ‘60s, Dr. Field Goods might sound like one of those hippie health food cafes where everything that wasn’t sprouts tasted like cardboard. No chance of that, though, at Chef Josh Gerwin’s vision of field goods. The name emphasized Josh’s commitment to local produce and meats back before everybody in the restaurant biz rushed to claim that they supported farm-to-table cooking. Many of those folks just talk the talk, and but Josh has uncompromisingly walked the walk.
Josh moved to Santa Fe in high school, by which time he was already enjoying cooking in the family kitchen. He knew he wanted a culinary career and got a couple of years of business college under his belt before heading to the New England Culinary Institute. He credits that schooling with focusing him on the importance of local and sustainable agriculture. The curriculum involved going out to Vermont farms and had farmers among the faculty. A Napa Valley internship was a further influence on buying and working with produce and meats from the area.
It started with a food truck
When he returned to Santa Fe, he started his Field Goods food business in a truck — also long before that was common here. When he had the capital to move into a bricks-and-mortar locale, he chose a spot on Cerrillos Road near the popular Jackalope. Not only did his initial restaurant thrive, but he doubled-down a couple of years later by adding Dr. Field Goods Butcher Shop a few doors down. He pretty much rocks the block now and has also expanded to Albuquerque. The meats and produce still come from within a few hours of Santa Fe. Even the delivery service is the local team, Dashing Delivery.
Dr. Field Goods Kitchen, the original restaurant, has a convivial pub vibe to it. The L-shaped bar, wrapping around a wood-fired oven and prep area, dominates the simple space. I prefer watching the kitchen action from the bar if I’m solo or part of a pair, but you can choose seating at one of a handful of tables and high-tops, too, or outdoors once the weather warms. A trio of TVs means you won’t miss your favorite sports event. The playlist leans toward Billy Idol’s White Wedding and REO Speedwagon’s Time for Me to Fly. I’m known to crank up these tunes to ear-splitting levels in my own car but appreciate that the music here is at a volume that still allows for dinner conversation.
The Food’s Rocking, Too
You can get a nice toss-up of greens at Dr. Field Goods Kitchen, based on romaine or kale or a tangle of mixed mesclun, though I find the heartier fare more in keeping with the atmosphere. Meats are always a good bet. Beef, pork, lamb, goat, and poultry come from small New Mexico or southern Colorado ranches direct to your table. The pork- and potato-laced green chile stew, topped with shreds of sharp Tucumcari Cheddar, makes the list as one of my favorite versions in a town full of similar dishes. Enjoy a meal of a full bowl or get a cup and have room to try other dishes.
Another starter that can make a meal is the cross-cultural egg rolls, overflowing with piquant carne adovada. The wood-burning oven infuses everything from Brussels sprouts to hanger steak to pizza with a charred kiss of fire and smoke. Speaking of pizza, try Josh’s southwest Italy meets Southwest U.S. pico de gallo-topped version, a delectable mash-up of Italian street fair and New Mexican fiesta.
You can get a good glass of wine here, or refreshing house-made soft drinks like ginger ale and orange Creamsicle. However, craft beer really rules. On my most recent visit, I chose the Bear Creek Tres Amigos Pale Ale, a balanced classic of the genre, created at the craft brewery a few miles farther down the road. I found it an especially good match with the sandwich of green chile-rubbed smoked pulled pork and jicama-apple coleslaw. I’m going to try that beer next with one of the green or red enchilada casseroles.
Chunky roast potatoes accompany the sandwiches and burgers, though the spuds can be upgraded into a meal on their own. The various toppings include kimchi as well as ladles of steaming red or green chile, or both. Much as I like those potatoes, I occasionally sub instead the thick-cut, hand-breaded, and fried ‘o’ rings. Ohhhh!
Somehow, you need to save a little space for dessert. The chocolate truffles come imaginatively flavored, but I confess to never having sampled them. My eyes are always on the bread pudding, a world-class indulgence. A serving features two hefty triangles of the baked concoction, jammed with raisins and piñones. The pieces are then toasted in the wood-burning oven to a well-browned crunch, while still maintaining creamy goodness at their hearts. A drizzle of dark caramel and a couple of fluffs of whipped cream finish it off.
The Field Goods Empire
Don’t miss the nearby Dr. Field Goods Butcher Shop, a few doors down. The butcher case sparkles with a full assortment of meat offerings. Josh and crew hand butcher whole animals to offer unique cuts of meat and to eliminate any food waste. They make all of their charcuterie and dry-age their steaks and house-smoked bacon for up to 30 days. There’s always an array of interesting sausages, from more traditional pork bratwurst to specials like a beef sausage studded with green chile and cheese, an ode to the green chile cheeseburger. Several hearty sandwiches make up the brief menu here, which you can take home or eat at the Kitchen. I usually opt for the hefty pastrami Reuben, but there’s a Philly cheesesteak, a classic Italian hoagie, and a green chile cheeseburger, among other good options.
The Albuquerque Dr. Field Goods sits in the midst of the Sawmill Market, a vibrant food hall near Old Town. Josh’s compact spot has a butcher counter and a menu full of creative house-made dogs, and burgers that come in thin and thick versions. The “skinnies” are griddle cooked while the “fatties” are char broiled. Salads full of fresh local greens and vegs, and those fried potatoes so popular at the original Kitchen, can be ordered here too. This Field Goods serves breakfast. Early in the day, you can find morning burgers with fried eggs and a dog heaped with scrambled eggs and melting Colby cheese. Sawmill has lots of seating indoors as well as out in a sun-filled courtyard. Be sure to visit when you’re in the area.
Dr. Field Good Locations
Dr. Field Goods Kitchen and Dr. Field Goods Butcher Shop
2860 Cerrillos Road, butcher shop three doors down from restaurant
Dr. Field Goods Butcher Shop
1910 Bellamah NW
Story and photos by Cheryl Alters Jamison.
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.