With over 300 restaurants, Santa Fe has plenty of options for every occasion, time of day and taste. But there is a special restaurant in a very interesting space that touches the hearts of many. Founded in 2013 and listed in his Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” in 2019, this restaurant is neither a diner nor a drive-in nor a dive.
Joseph’s Culinary Pub is homely but not kitsch, impressive but not fine dining, with a pre-determined pub slant inside a cozy farmhouse with sumptuous cobbled floors. It’s quite unique in that respect. With so many accolades, don’t expect the team at Joseph’s Culinary Pub to sit back and enjoy constant praise without constantly evaluating and re-evaluating their approach to cooking. Every day, this cohesive team continues to push the envelope, creating dishes that are not only fun and original, but absolutely amazing, worthy of attention and repeat.
When Joseph Wrede moved the restaurant from Taos to Santa Fe for its third iteration, the mother of his children turned the space at 428 Agua Fria into a work of art. Literally everything in the restaurant is hand-painted, handmade and inspired by artist and interior designer Christine Bortles. From the curtains painted on the windows along Agua His Furia, to the coffee and tea stained duck egg shell chandeliers, table tops and wall decorations, everything was made by Christine. Even the stunning plates have artistic elements throughout the restaurant and interior décor. Each plate is handcrafted at Arroyo Seco by a potter named Logan Wannamaker. While Christine fooled around with the interior, Joseph created a menu that was suggestive, playful, and absolutely delicious, with creative titles that incorporated duck and duck fat in every imaginable way.
General Manager Starr Bowers says, “Joe loves the flavor duck fat brings to his food and is always looking for alternative ingredients.” She adds: Joe’s use of duck fat rivals his use of lamb, a New Mexico staple, or Joe’s focus on providing vegetarian and gluten-free diners with sensational options, and dessert he The menu is completely gluten-free. “
On the night of our visit, we were two female diners on the sea in a cozy couple and a larger group. Located in , we had the privacy and all the attention we needed from the efficient staff. The global wine list focuses on small producers and natural winemakers, but also offers craft beers and local spirits from Railyard neighbors Altar Spirits.
We started with the New Mexico Lamb Tartare ($24) and Polenta Fries ($18) to whet your appetite on a busy Saturday night. My dining companion, who is from Lebanon, was delighted with the scrumptious lamb tartare scooped over homemade tortilla chips and garnished with a dash of fresh arugula. Her smile said all I needed to know about where this dish had taken her.
Everyone loves polenta fries and I can see why. Fatty polenta sticks are deep-fried in duck fat until golden brown and served with a quarter of grilled radicchio him and served with an exquisite Gorgonzola Dolce his sauce. Crispy, smoky, earthy and bitter, this is a well-made dish that will swoon vegetarians.
To cleanse our palates, we shared the Grilled Peach and Arugula Salad ($16). Thoughtfully, the kitchen split the salad for us. Not-too-spicy arugula, grilled peach slices, spiced walnuts, and feta are mixed with champagne vinaigrette and balsamic sauce. Simple and good, this was the perfect green prelude to our wonderful appetizer.
The fish du jour is mahi mahi ($40) and was one of my favorite fish I used to eat when I lived in Zihuatanejo, Mexico. The mahi was crunchy on the outside, moist and tender on the inside and was a great star in support of the creamed corn with green chillies and rice pilaf. The creamed corn had just enough juice and the rice soaked it up and gave it a lovely flavor. will be
My dining companion had the Sweet & Spicy Glazed Half Duck ($38) and couldn’t stop raving about it. It felt like we were sitting together. As we ate the duck, she said, “It’s tender, meaty, juicy and amazing. The meat is falling off the bone. Man, that’s good!” Serve with fresh cabbage. A yogurt sauce with basil, blackberries and a dash of honey brings a bit of coolness and sweetness to offset the spicy duck. .
As Santa Fiend’s life began, someone he met at a bar sent him a drink. And my dining companion, who knew we were dining at Joseph’s, called and ordered his favorite dessert, Cloud Cake ($14). He wanted to make sure we experienced this incredibly light and gorgeous dessert, and at least he’s five inches tall Italian he’s meringue he doesn’t like cake Are you there?
When I thanked him in an email, he replied, “You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy dessert. It’s the same thing.” We all have the same opinion. Cloud cake is a phenomenal dessert that takes up very little space in your stomach, yet feels indulgent. Floating island Italian meringue cake is light and airy and melts on your tongue like cotton candy. A crème anglaise and caramel dip and fried her tarragon drizzled over the cake add a touch of anise to this legendary dessert.
In a city sprinkled with so many dining experiences, Joseph’s holds the title of fun and inventive cuisine. Commenting on the environment Joseph and his team have created, General Manager Starr Bowers is proud to say: We like to stimulate our senses and enjoy tastes and textures. ’ And they do with a bang.