EPAZOTE ON THE HILLSIDE - An Elegant Restaurant Experience

T H E  A R T  O F  O L D / N E W  W O R L D  C U I S I N E 

CHEF FERNANDO OLEA invited me to lunch in his delightful restaurant EPAZOTE ON THE HILLSIDE - tucked into the greenhouse/atrium of the Hillside - ART COOPERATIVE - Market -  the former nursery on Old Las Vegas Highway. 

Chef Fernando Olea left - Sous Chef Leroy Alvarado

I had met Chef Olea at various fundraisers and had tasted tidbits of his food, but nothing prepared me for the beautiful culinary surprises that made there way from  kitchen to table.

Raised in Mexico City, Olea - who has been in Santa Fe for more than two decades -  admits to two culinary passions that inspire and inform his menus -   ancient Aztec and New World cuisine . He takes the best of both and transports them  into a perfect poem of taste, texture and color. 
"We are trying to entice all the senses."

His signature moles, infused oils and aioli perfume and mingle beautifully with menu offerings, adding a  luscious  note of their own and a perfect alchemy of flavors. And each appetizer, salad, entrée,  and dessert arrives at table exquisitely plated. 

The perfectly-cooked rack of lamb, sitting on a bed of Poblano mole and silken sweet potato puree, was amazing - each bite a pleasure for the palate.

The soups are poured tableside by Chef Olea in a bit of culinary theater.

And when the generous dollop of Chantilly cream and queso fresco - studded with bacon and pea shoots - melts into the silken Black Bean Soup, it's like sipping velvet.

The Botanas/appetizers are both fun and delicious. Your choice of meat or seafood arrives raw with a beautiful black river rock heated to 500 degrees in the  kitchen's traditional horno oven. You place the tidbit onto the rock and in minutes it's ready to dip into one of four aioli sauces and wrap  into a tiny corn tortilla.

You can also order a sampler of Chef's moles.

And if you are daring or have acquired a taste for  tiny delicately-sautéed  CHAPULINES - GRASSHOPPERS - you're in luck, these Mexican delicacies - marinated in olive oil and citrus - are on the menu. And I have to say, when dabbed with mole verde and wrapped in a freshly-made corn tortilla, they are delightfully crisp and tasty....REALLY!

DESSERT  was a lovely Chocolate Flan...

EPAZOTE is a beautiful destination restaurant. I can't wait to go back and bring friends!  Thank you Chef!

And, be sure to arrive early so that you can meander into the six lovely galleries showcasing fine arts and crafts by local Santa Fe artists. A visual treat before
 or after your lunch.  

86 Old Las Vegas Highway - Santa Fe


LUNCH only - 11am - 2:30 Closed on Wed.

1 comment:

  1. Incredible experience. Sat near the bar at Chicago restaurants and was served by a great lady. She provided guidance on food selection and her recommendations were stellar. One of them may have been the best oyster I have ever had.