June 26, 2013 at 12:28 PM

Santa Fe’s Cuisine Scene: Restaurant Report and Midtown Bistro Review

New Terra Cotta Wine Bistro, Omira Grill, the rise of the Legal Tender & more...

By Lynn Cline

Gourmet Girl

Lynn Cline is a former food editor and the author of two books – Romantic Days and Nights in Santa Fe and Literary Pilgrims: The Santa Fe and Taos Writers' Colonies, 1915-1950. She also loves to cook, when not dining out.

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Restaurant Report

Santa Fe's restaurant scene just underwent a whirlwind of changes with the sale of established eateries including The Pink Adobe, Maria's and Vivre, but more changes are afoot. Some new faces are on the scene, while others have reopened…for the time being, at least.

First up is the brand spanking new Terra Cotta Wine Bistro, which is moving into the space just vacated by Vivre on Johnson Street. Owners Glenda Griswold and Catherine O'Brien, the brilliant pair behind the wildly successful Peas'n'Pod Catering Inc., are hoping to open officially in the third week of July.

"Terra Cotta Wine Bistro has a casual, eclectic fun menu leaning towards the Mediterranean but there's all kinds of other things in there," Griswold says. "Some of Catherine's Southern background pops up so we will, from time to time, have barbecue. There will be brisket on there, because we can't help ourselves and we'll have Catherine's crab cakes, which are the best you're gonna find. And for Sunday brunch, we'll have fried chicken and green chile waffles."

Terra Cotta will have a fluid menu that changes with the seasons. Look for items that include bruschetta, flatbreads, salads and soups and entrees served in a smaller size and a larger size. There will also charcuterie platters, cheese platters and other items that can be shared. The bistro will also feature a selection of boutique wines for $6 a glass before 6 p.m. Terra Cotta will serve lunch and dinner seven days a week, along with a Sunday brunch.

In other good news, you can once again dine at the New Mexico Museum of History. Dulce, the sweet little shop that serves cupcakes, scones, quiche and other baked delights in their popular Don Diego spot, has opened up in the museum's dining space, which has not done so well under previous food vendors in this spot.

And the dining scene just got a little more international with the opening of Omira Grill, which serves a churrasco-based menu with a buffet of hot and cold dishes and tableside service of skewered meats. The man behind Omari is Ziggy (Mohammed Rzig), who owned Ziggy's International Market but decided to convert the store to a restaurant when Talin International Market recently came to town. Omira, which is named after Ziggy's son and daughter, serves lunch, Happy Hour and dinner daily.

And finally (I've been holding off on reporting this news until it became official) the Legal Tender in Lamy is back in business after a judge ruled in its favor over a dispute about whether the restaurant fit with the mission of the museum that owns the building. Museum officials reportedly plan to appeal. Check here for updates.

Lunching at Midtown Bistro

I recently had lunch with a fellow food writer at the new Midtown Bistro, located just off San Mateo in a lovely garden setting with a musical fountain that greets you near the front door. The spacious room manages to combine white linen tablecloth elegance with industrial spaciousness, and the room was filled the day we visited.

Executive Chef Angel Estrada cooks up some delicious dishes that represent gourmet dining with a Southwest flair. I had the roasted tomato soup and sandwich combo, a roasted tomato basil soup served hot that was hands-down delicious and a Reuben sandwich, piled high with corned beef, sauerkraut and Gruyere cheese. Yum! 

The dinner menu was enticing, featuring Pan Seared Diver Scallops with Caramelized Leek Risotto, Spinach and Kalamata Olive Beurre Blanc; Spanish Goat Cheese Stuffed Grilled Free Range Chicken Breast with Two Cheese Polenta Cake, Sauteed Brussels Sprouts and Balsamic Butter; and Pan, Grilled New Zealand Rack of Lamb with Minted Couscous, Red Bell Peppers, Rainbow Chard and Tamarind Glaze.

They also have a brunch menu that includes Waffles with Pear-Cherry Compote, Smoked Bacon, Vermont Maple Syrup and Creamy Cottage Cheese; Poached Eggs on English Muffins with Avocado, Tomatoes, New Potato Hash and Spicy Hollandaise Sauce; and Grilled Hanger Steak and Eggs with New Potato Hash and Toast. I'll definitely be back to try a few of these dishes…of not all!

For more info, click here.

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