Top image: Courtesy Bishop’s Lodge. Taken by Auberge Resorts Collection
We’re one month out from America’s biggest celebration meal. Many of our local restaurants will switch up their menus for the holiday, to satisfy our desire to eat the classic turkey dinner. Below, you’ll find a sampling of places open for the day. Also listed are some establishments closed on Thursday, that can load you up ahead of time, with all you need to feast at home with minimal effort.
If you aren’t among the turkey-and-trimmings fans, though, there are loads of other choices on restaurant menus this year. I’ve reviewed the planned offerings of a few dozen places. If you prefer, you can dine on filet mignon, sea bass, lobster, or even a roasted head of curried cauliflower. On the turkey-centric menus, the bird gets a few bells or whistles. Many of these establishments are cooking up a certified organic turkey, or at least a sustainably raised one. Turkey roulade, a roll-up of the meat with varied savory fillings, has been mentioned by several restaurateurs. Birds are getting buttermilk-brined, confited, and otherwise coddled.
Accompaniments will include all of the beloved starchy sides. Butternut squash plays a big role in many a menu, especially as soup. Thanksgiving has never been about the green stuff, but everyone offers vegetables or salads, or usually both, since vegetarian options are also now the norm. Even vegan dishes have become much more common. Desserts in most cases are pies, lots of yummy pies. Our list can help you can find something to please everyone in the family.
When you find an appealing option, don’t hesitate in making plans. Reservations are essential for the holiday and going VERY fast. La Fonda on the Plaza, beloved by both locals and visitors for its copious buffet, has already sold out its entire day of seatings. Be prepared to guarantee reservations with a credit card. Cancellation policies vary, but are fairly strict for this big day. Ask in advance, if you have any concerns about a fluctuating number of diners.
Most of the restaurants are serving from early afternoon into early evening. Virtually all of the places require all of the diners to order a prix fixe meal, which includes all courses from starter through dessert. The menus are generally 3 or 4 courses. Pricing starts at about $60 per person, and goes up to double that for the city’s higher-end restaurants. Remember to add tax and tip to that base charge.
RIO CHAMA PRIME STEAKHOUSE
I see the scrumptious fondue is among the starters at Rio Chama, accompanied by bread, apple slices, and a mix of vegetables for dunking. Choose among butternut squash bisque topped with crème fraiche and red chile pumpkin seeds, seared foie gras with apple chutney, and shrimp cocktail with “atomic” horseradish cocktail sauce too. The fall salad sounds especially tasty, with roasted butternut squash, dried cranberries, apples, blue cheese, some almonds for crunch, and sweet-sour balsamic vinaigrette. The turkey comes roasted with pecan stuffing and garlic mashed potatoes.
It’s a steakhouse after all, so the choices include prime rib or filet mignon a poivre with brandy demi-glace and truffled potato gratin. Truffled…potatoes…yum. Braised lamb shanks, sea bass, and salmon round out entrees. The pies here are pumpkin and pecan. There’s chocolate cake too. They also offer take-out meals that can be picked up at either 11 a.m. or 3 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.
LA CASA SEÑA
La Casa Seña’s chef José Rodriguez offers menus for dining in or picking up to dine at home. For dining in, the 5 starters include lobster bisque, grilled octopus, or a beet, Greek, or endive and frisée salad. His turkey is marinated in ancho chile and accompanied by cornbread dressing and classic sides. Chef José’s serving five additional entrees, from grilled beef tenderloin with rosemary feta mashed potatoes, to a Moroccan vegetable tagine. The pumpkin pie comes garnished with pomegranate molasses and candied walnuts. There’s a coconut panna cotta, several sorbets, and a marshmallow and macaron extravaganza too. You get the advantage of walking through one of Santa Fe’s most striking courtyards to enter the warm dining room. The “To-Go” package serves 10 to 14 people, and can be picked up on Thanksgiving Day between 9 a.m. and noon. It includes a whole Chimayó red chile-glazed turkey of at least 20 pounds, all the trimmings, and a choice of a whole pumpkin or pecan pie.
Lovely Osteria and host Lino Pertusini serves its Italian-influenced meal from noon through 9 p.m. The three-course meal also can be ordered ahead and picked up between noon and 4 p.m. to enjoy at home. Start with creamy acorn and butternut squash soup, dotted with porcini mushrooms, or a salad bejeweled with golden beets, French green beans, pumpkin seeds, and pomegranate vinaigrette. Of course, there will be roasted turkey with sausage and sage stuffing, gravy, and more. Other options are branzino, risotto, bison short ribs, and one of my favorites, 4-cheese ravioli with sage and broccolini. The pie is pecan, and pumpkin appears in mousse form. There’s the aptly named chocolate decadence too.
At Coyote Café, chef Dakota Weiss is seasoning her turkey with rosemary and ancho chile, and serving it with sourdough stuffing fragrant with sherry. I love the green chile corn as well as the truffled roasted potatoes. Fragrant Tellicherry black pepper will coat the elk tenderloin. It will be served with black garlic mashed potatoes. Short ribs, branzino, and ravioli with sweet potato, cranberry, sage, and black walnuts are among other main dish choices. Here, the pies are Mesilla pecan and caramelized banana cream. The pumpkin dessert is paired with chocolate in a tamale, served with cinnamon gelato. Chef Dakota’s making some of the city’s most lively flavored food these days.
Here’s one of the places to get turkey done roulade style. Chef Dale Kester will serve it with garlic mashers, giblet gravy, and wild mushroom stuffing. If you’re in a more carnivorous mood, choose the grilled filet mignon with potato-poblano gratin, sumac-crusted lamb loin with harissa and couscous, or lobster tails done with Vietnamese flair with lemongrass and chile over pasta. Pumpkin and pecan pies and panna cotta are among the finishes. You get to meander through the charming courtyard into one of Santa Fe’s sleekest establishments.
Reservations online only at santacafe.com.
JULIA, LA POSADA DE SANTA FE
As of press time, Julia’s menu wasn’t yet available. It’s a handsome dining room though, in one of Santa Fe’s prettiest hotel settings. Check the website, laposadadesantafe.com, soon for details, or call (505) 986-0000.
ROSEWOOD INN OF THE ANASAZI
Brand new executive chef, Andre Sattler, welcomes guests to one of 4 seatings for a prix fixe dinner. Who doesn’t love baked brie? It’s one of the starters, topped with a cranberry, fig, pear, and pecan salad. I would find it hard to decide between it, and the squash and celery root bisque, which comes garnished with smoked eel. The turkey’s breast will be roasted crisp and the legs and thighs cooked confit style. Accompanying the bird will be brioche and foie gras stuffing, honey-glazed sweet potatoes, green beans, and cranberry sauce. Another option to consider will be roasted sea bass with cabernet-braised greens, a potato-apple cake and American caviar. Complete your dinner with whiskey bread pudding and red wine pears, or an especially interesting sounding peanut-and-tofu pie with winter fruits. The hotel has been upgrading its wine list, including adding a new Champagne room. This is among my favorite dining rooms in Santa Fe, with light streaming through in daylight hours and warm lighting in the evening.
Call the hotel, (505) 988-3030.
LUMINARIA, INN & SPA AT LORETTO
Chef Tony Smith’s turkey will be an herb-roasted breast. Among the other selections, the vegetarian pumpkin risotto sounds great to this meat eater. The butternut squash soup comes with toppings of candied pumpkin seeds and red chile meringue crumble. Desserts include a pumpkin roll with cream cheese frosting, rather than pie, and chef Tony’s mom’s apple crisp. I love that! Book any time between 1 and 7 p.m.
SKYFIRE, BISHOP’S LODGE
Skyfire, the rustically elegant main restaurant at the Tesuque resort will be serving four courses, with optional wine pairings. Executive Chef Pablo Peñalosa Najera will season the turkey with Chimayó chile, and confit the leg and thigh portions in miso, mezcal, and more of the special red chile. A smoked and roasted cauliflower dish offers an alternative to the holiday bird. The chef’s cornbread dressing gets the addition of green chile as well as chorizo. Sides will come family style, for the table. Executive Pastry Chef Erica Vining’s baking up a trio of pies—pumpkin, apple, and pear-Gruyere. The Lodge is also offering a complimentary “gratitude hike” through the hills above from 3 to 4 p.m. What a great way to walk off dinner!
As part of its Thanksgiving celebration weekend, on Saturday evening, November 26, Chef Pablo will collaborate on a special dinner with New York chef T.J. Steele from the Michelin-starred Claro. It will feature the foods of Oaxaca. I got a preview of the menu just before press time, and it’s five wondrous courses. It kicks off with roasted cauliflower tatemada salsa. A tuna tostada comes next, with avocado, chicharron, and cara cara orange. The masa cakes known as garnachas will feature elk and aged sheep’s milk cheese. Enmoladas negro with lamb shank star in the main event. Enmoladas are similar to enchiladas except that tortillas are dipped in mole instead of chile. Oaxaca’s insect delicacies, ants or chicatanas, and grasshoppers, known as chapulines, play a unique role in garnishes for a couple of the courses. The meal wraps with arroz con leche accompanied by mezcal poached fruit.
Ten-time James Beard award nominee Martín Rios will be basting his roasted turkeys with luscious maple glaze. He’ll serve the birds with chicken sausage-cornbread stuffing, and other classic sides. All will feature Martín’s creative twists. Other entrees include seared salmon, blue nose bass, prime beef tenderloin with braised beef cheek, or the city’s most sophisticated vegetarian tasting plate. You can start the meal with a choice of four starters. They include one of Martín’s most requested recipes, the butternut squash bisque. He’s known for dressing it in all kinds of ways, a still life in a bowl. For this occasion, expect shrimp, orange sections, date puree, parmesan flan, and pumpkin seeds. Wife Jennifer Rios offers a warm welcome at the door.
The turkey is getting a buttermilk brine before roasting and comes with Spanish chorizo in the stuffing. I adore the classic “Oskar” preparation for the grilled beef tenderloin—crabmeat, asparagus, and a blanket of silky hollandaise sauce. Porchetta, osso bucco, herb-crusted salmon, and wild mushroom polenta with black truffle relish are among other main dishes from James Beard award-winning chef-owner Mark Kiffin and his new executive chef Weston Ludeke. Starters for the three-course meal include a pear and bacon tart, fried oysters with remoulade sauce, butternut squash velouté with spiced granola and fried sage leaves, among a half-dozen possibilities. Pumpkin is in the cheesecake here, and the pie is classic pecan. All can be enjoyed in the striking Alexander Girard-designed dining rooms.
TERRA, FOUR SEASONS RANCHO ENCANTADO
Hurry! Almost sold out. Chef de Cuisine Alejandro Di Bello’s herb-roasted bird comes with gravy, red chile cranberries, and green chile mashed potatoes, among other delectable sounding sides. If you eat in, the handsome dining room looks out over the entire Tesuque valley, including the sunset. Dinner and a show! Eat in between noon to 8 p.m., or pick up to-go between 12:30 and 4 p.m.
I see several of my favorite Chef Cristian Pontiggia dishes among his prix fixe four-course menu of sophisticated Italian character. The meal leads off with silky butternut squash soup with a garnish of crème fraiche and amaretti cookies, or pear carpaccio with sheep and goat cheese, caramel bits, fruit pearls, mint, and more. I’m sure the soup will be delicious, but that pear salad is one of the best dishes I’ve eaten anywhere on earth this year. It’s a toss-up to me between the next course possibilities— mushroom and pancetta enriched risotto or ravioli stuffed with butternut squash and ricotta with brown butter and fried sage.
The turkey is in roulade form, filled with spinach and sausage, with black truffle gravy and mashed potatoes, and more. Grilled branzino and eggplant parmigiana are other entrees. Conclude the meal with semifreddo or profiteroles. Sommelier Bella Conforti’s optional wine pairings will match the food in elegance. Seatings at 1, 3:30 and 6 p.m.
MARKET STEER STEAKHOUSE
Within the St. Francis Hotel, Market Steer also will serve a turkey roulade and all the trimmings. Chef Kathleen Goode-Crook says that most people who book Thanksgiving there do so to skip poultry and eat steak, or maybe lobster, or both.
Rather than eating out, you might consider ordering restaurant dishes to bring in. Many places choose to close on Thanksgiving, but make a big effort to supply holiday food to-go, usually on the Wednesday before. Most offer the option of individual dishes or the whole shebang. It’s a nice way to give your cook a break, but still have a more intimate meal with family and friends. Football fans will find it easier to keep up with the day’s games too.
As with eating out, you’ll want to reserve your order soon. Since you’ll need to pick up the fixings ahead, make sure you have fridge space for everything you want to order.
The first thing that comes to mind when it comes to a Thanksgiving meal is elevated home-style cooking. The first place that leaps into my mind for this is Joe’s. Owner Roland Richter has this meal down! He’s thought of everything. You can get a whole meal, or one of just about anything. You can get the turkey already roasted, or ready to cook, brined and placed in a roasting bag. It comes with all the instructions for cooking or reheating. Roland even gives you a link to an online turkey carving video, to learn proper slicing techniques. Other main dishes include maple-glazed ham, roasted deboned duck a l’orange. Among the many vegetables—most from farmers’ market vendors—are braised red cabbage, Yukon Gold sour cream mashed potatoes, maple-glazed baby carrots, sweet potatoes au gratin, roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon, and French green beans with slivered almonds. Pies galore! By the slice or whole.
Pick up after 2 p.m. on Wednesday, November 23. This is one of the best-priced deals in town, coming in at just under $60 for each diner’s whole meal. If you pay by cash or check, Roland donates 3% of the cost to the Food Depot. Any food not picked up goes to this worthy nonprofit too.
Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantad0
Chef de Cuisine Alejandro Di Bello at Terra, the signature restaurant at Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe, is offering a variety of special dining options and holiday menus, including Thanksgiving To-Go ($230): Enjoy a Four Seasons family-style meal with winter squash soup, artisanal mix green salad, whole slow herb roasted turkey and pumpkin pie for 6-8 guests. Orders are accepted up to one week in advance.
One of the most renowned and versatile dishes in Santa Fe is simply made for the Thanksgiving table. I’m talking about Cowgirl’s “world-famous butternut squash casserole.” Oh, those layers of squash, caramelized onion, melting Jack cheese, and more. The casserole travels well, reheats even better, and can serve as a side or a vegetarian main dish. You can order pans of scalloped potatoes and other dishes too, but nothing compares to the quantity of squash heading out the door. During the week before Thanksgiving, chef/owner Patrick Lambert plans to offer a smoked turkey lunch and dinner special, if you can’t wait until the big day.
Oh, in this package deal, everyone gets their own little hen instead of just some turkey slices! Well, unless you opt for shoyu-cider glazed braised Kurobuta pork leg or roasted whole cauliflower with curry and shiso tzatziki yogurt sauce. The whole meal deal starts with curried butternut squash soup, and a salad of roasted beets with arugula, burrata cheese, and black garlic vinaigrette, both with vegetables from Dixon’s Romero Farms.
Meals come with a quartet of sides. Miso glazes the sweet potatoes, and yuzu (a tangy orange-like citrus), the Brussels sprouts. Ginger flavors the cranberries, and the mashed potatoes get extra oomph from roasted garlic. You can choose between bourbon pecan pie and ginger apple pie to wrap up the feast. Pick-up is on Thanksgiving Day.
This relative newcomer in Santa Fe Village downtown is especially notable for its creative takes on vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free meals that leave no one feeling deprived. Of course, there’s turkey too! All from a talented team headed by owner Hue-Chan Karels.
NEW YORK DELI
They aren’t offering a turkey dinner, but I love kicking off this celebration meal at home with a platter of smoked fish and trimmings. At my house, we start nibbling on this mid-morning, as sustenance while we put final preparations together on the meal. The deli offers a big plate of Nova Scotia Smoked Salmon. If you order well ahead, they can supply you with a whole whitefish, sable, or a baked salmon. You can order from either the southside location at nydeli-sf-southside.com or (505) 424-1200, or from downtown, newyorkoncatron.com or (505) 982-8900.
SUSAN’S FINE WINE & SPIRITS
If you’re dining at home, you likely need some fine libations to accompany that meal. The knowledgeable staff at Susan’s can recommend wines in all price ranges to go with your holiday spread. They have a full range of craft beers and the makings for cocktails too. If you missed the store’s move, it’s now at 632 Agua Fria.
COOKING FOR YOURSELF
If you decide that you really want to cook for your gang, check out the turkeys and pasture-grazed meats offered by our two local butcher shops, Beck & Bulow, and Dr. Field Goods, both out on Cerrillos Road.
While we’re talking about giving thanks, we appreciate all you readers out there, as well as our advertisers. Wishing a wonderful kick-off to the holiday season for one and all.
Story 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.
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