Casa Chimayo ~ Santa Fe, New Mexico
Food: Casa Chimayo's fare is solidly in the New Mexican camp. Perhaps a bit more upscale than the usual New Mexican breakfast/lunch hybrid house. Casa Chimayo offers complimentary chips and salsa, which isn't always a given in New Mexico. The chips were very thick and crisp, clearly homemade, and taste fantastic on their own. The salsa is a thick and smooth red, with garlic and chiles, and very satisfying. For entrees, we both settled in on the Blue Corn Enchiladas, which they proudly state were featured on Fiori's DDD. We weren't feeling diverse this evening, so we both went with the chicken and Christmas chile and it comes with whole beans and rice. WINNER! Without a doubt, Casa Chimayo holds its own against the formidable local competition. Both the green and the red were excellent, and definitely a bit spicier than the norm in Santa Fe (though not like Horseman's Haven by any stretch). I use the word "velvety" often when describing the red chile, and I struggle to find another adjective, and so once again I'll use it here. The beans and rice came out piping hot and were delicious in their own right. Oh, and they even served us a couple of their famous bizcochitos (cookies) for dessert. They were excellent too.
Drink: Nice selection of beer, wine, and margaritas. We had the latter, which were tasty, though perhaps a bit more tequila would have been nice. I regretted not trying a glass of the New Mexican Chardonnay they had on the menu.
Location: Yet another restaurant in the artsy district on North Guadalupe. And once again, parking is a challenge. There are two pay lots surrounding the restaurant, and metered parking was a breeze on this one mid-week evening. And it would have been free, if we had arrived after 6, but we went earlier per our custom. The restaurant itself is very pleasant, as if eating at someone's spacious villa. Plenty of both outdoor and indoor seating. We were surprised to see the restaurant nearly empty for the course of our dinner. Folks, if you don't feel like standing in line at one of the more established restaurants, can I recommend a quick pop over here? One other point I'd like to make. We don't usually fuss about service, bad or good. That can change with a single visit. But I have to say everyone from the bus boys to the hostess to the servers were incredibly friendly. That points more to quality management. And friendly service is not always a given in Santa Fe, where often times the staff seems more bothered than pleased to see you. So kudos go to Casa Chimayo! Oh, and one other thing. We loved the background music of Spanish guitar as well. How many restaurants fail on this front? Soothing and sophisticated is how you'll feel while dining here.
Notes: The name of the restaurant comes from the name of the small town north of Santa Fe, and halfway to Taos. This is where the family originates from. I believe the restaurant first opened in 2011.
Rating: 4.0 (I expect this to go higher on repeat visits)
Hours: Lunch: Monday, Wednesday - Saturday, 11:00am - 2:00pm, closed Tues.
Dinner: Served Daily: 5:00pm - 9:00pm
Sunday Brunch: 10:00am - 3:00pm