La Boca Fuses Together Tapas, Spanish Sherry & Cavas to Imurse Diners in a Quaint European Wine Bar
Tapas are all the rage in cities everywhere you go these days, and Santa Fe is no exception. In fact Chef James Campbell Caruso is leading a Tapas Revolution in New Mexico right now. His restaurant La Boca in Santa Fe is so popular that you may be hard pressed to get a table most nights without a reservation. This quaint hot spot is only a block away from the historic Santa Fe Plaza, but it is worlds away from the traditional New Mexico cuisine.
Chef Caruso is an eight-time James Beard Award Nominee who likes using authentic Spanish influences to create modern dishes born out of tradition. Besides his regular menu, chef conjures up nightly specials from fresh local ingredients that you will definitely be tempted to try as soon as you read their descriptions on the blackboard above the bar.
Take the small plate of petite green peppers, known as Pimientos or pepitos, simply grilled with slivers of garlic and sea salt. Since these peppers are available only at this time of year and only for a short time, I felt lucky they were offered as a special dish this evening because they were exquisite. Simply prepared with just a hint of seasoning from the salt and garlic, you could taste the richness of the peppers with just a kick of heat at the end, This is how fresh ingredients should be prepared.
The red and white grilled pear salad with fresh spinach and red cabbage was also one of the daily specials. It was equally appealing both to the eye and the palate. Topped with a licking good sherry vinaigrette, those wonderfully flavorful Marcona almonds and gorgonzola cheese I would hope Chef Caruso keeps bringing this dish back. The pears were so yummy and sweet, almost like eating candy, but more flavorful.
My main course was an “on the menu” item and I can see why it holds a permanent place on the menu. Costilllas, the tempranillo braised beef short ribs were so tender and flavorful topped a tempranillo reduction. And the vanilla carrot mash on the side was outstanding. If I made carrots this way, I would want them every day. This dish also came with a side of sauteed, lightly salted fresh Brussels sprouts.
La Boca also prides itself on being an ambassador of Spanish sherry culture, transporting its guests to Cadiz in the crisp cool flavors of Fino, or the deep fig-essence of a Pedro Ximenez. Hence, they have a nice selection of Spanish sherry on the menu. They also have an equally impressive selection of Spanish & South American wines. All the sherry and the wines pair nicely with their menu and the waitstaff are very helpful and knowledgeable with pairing suggestions.
La Boca also has a nice selection of sweets and dessert drinks to pair with them as well.
**Full Disclosure: This is a post for La Boca. I received no product or compensation in exchange for this post.
LA BOCA IS OPEN FOR LUNCH AND DINNER SEVEN DAYS A WEEK
LUNCH 11:30 TO 3:00 PM
TAPAS DE LA TARDE – HALF PRICE TAPAS FROM 3 PM TO 5 PM DAILY
DINNER FROM 5 PM TO 10 PM
72 W Marcy Street
Santa Fe, NM 87501
Call 505-982-3433 for reservations or make your reservation online.
Chef Caruso is also owner of Taberna a Spanish-style tavern which is a great place to meet friends after work or in the evenings on its outdoor patio. Taberna is open open 5pm to Close – daily with happy hour 5pm to 6pm. However the restaurant is NOT open during winter months.