Rio Chama Steakhouse Keeps Things Simple Yet Delicious
Rio Chama Steakhouse is located on Old Santa Fe Trail just minutes from the New Mexico state capital. Once entering through the modest pathway to the restaurant, you are immediately welcomed by the elegant foyer which opens to a warm, quaint dining area. The rich wood beams overhead, wood floors and earth toned adobe walls, make you feel cozy and right at home.
We were a party of four tonight. Once seated, our waiter immediately started telling us about the impressive selection of wines available. In fact, one of the four private dining rooms, the Abiquiu Room named after the area where Georgia O’Keefe had her country home, views the restaurant’s 10,000 bottle cellar. A handful of these wines can be purchased by the glass.
The restaurant also has a good size bar where you can sip a signature cocktail while visiting with friends, or watch the latest games with a local draught beer or top shelf spirit. While the dining room is on the elegant side, the bar is more casual. This is a pretty popular bar because of its location, so if you are stopping in for happy hour, you might want to come a little early.
At Rio Chama, it seems that beef reigns supreme. And the big dry-aged steaks seem to dominate the menu. I was told that if you like a good steak, this is the place. Chef Blankenship also likes to add New Mexico influence whenever possible giving this steakhouse a New Mexican flair. Coming from Texas, we are steak eaters, so we needed to see how steak stacked up on this side of the border.
We started with salad; the half Wedge and the half Caesar. The wedge with its cucumber, marinated olives and strip of applewood smoked bacon was fresh and lively. The Caesar with ample anchovies, Parmesan cheese and fresh baked croutons was just the way I like it.
Two persons in our party ordered the New York Strip steak, a favorite cut back in Texas. Luckily there were two ordered at our table because one person got a perfectly cooked, flavorful and juicy cut of meat. The other person, on the other hand, got a horribly tough cut with no flavor. After telling our waiter about the steak he didn’t seem to know how to handle the problem. So we asked for the Chef, who came to talk with us right away. After a couple of rounds of him telling us that sometimes this cut is tough and us telling him it should never be so tough you can’t even chew it, he decided to send out another steak. This time we asked for the filet which I had also ordered. The filets were very good. Both were so tender you could cut them with a fork and they were juicy with lots of flavor. Exactly like I would expect with this cut.
The filet came with a corn, bacon and goat cheese risotto which was wonderful. This steak was served over steamed asparagus and all was topped with a patilla demi-glace. A nicely put together dish!
The Strip steak came with a side of summer potato salad along with grilled onion, bacon and fresh corn. The steak was topped off with a chipotle barbecue vinaigrette.
The fourth person at the table decided on the Potato chip and Almond crusted Ruby Trout. These trout are in season at the moment so the fish had a nice mild flavor and was as fresh as the mountain stream it came out of. It was served with a quinoa pilaf, fresh green bean almondine and Italian salsa verde.
We were very pleasantly full after our meal but the chef insisted we have desserts to make up for the steak incident. Of course we didn’t want to turn him down, so dessert and coffee it was. The four of us split the Vanilla Creme Brulee with a caramel crust and fresh seasonal berries and the Lemon Cheesecake with a graham cracker crust, berry coulis, whipped cream and freah strawberries. Both were excellent in flavor, freshness and presentation.
You should consider making a reservation if you want to eat here as the main dining room fills up pretty quickly when the legislature is in session considering it’s proximity to the capital. The inviting patio with it’s kava fireplace is a popular dining area as well during nice weather.
Location: 414 Old Santa Fe Trail, Santa Fe, NM 87501
Phone: (505) 955-0765
Rio Chama Steakhouse is open Monday – Sunday, 11:00 AM until Close. They serve both lunch and dinner as well as weekend brunch.
For information on other places to eat, local attractions and places to stay go to: Santa Fe Tourism.