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“One of the best meals you've ever had in a restaurant? YES!”
Review of Epazote Restaurant - CLOSED

Epazote Restaurant
Cuisines: Mexican
Dining options: Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Reviewed 19 July 2014

I just had one of the greatest meals I can recall today at Epazote. It was flawless from start to finish. I've been to Chef Fernando Olea's Restaurants in the past (great taco joint on St. Michaels years ago). Didn't know about this one nor the newer location but read a review last week so I had to try it, knowing the talents of this amazing chef. We arrived at 11am when they open, only one other couple there. We were greated and seated by Chef Fernando who is simply charming. A small two bite appetizers arrived immediately, squash blossoms on some small tortillas which setup the meal right away; delicious! My wife and I split the de la casa (spinach salad) which was fantastic to look at and eat. Chef Fernando has a flair with infused oil's like the one that lined the plate along with a perfect vinaigrette. The quality of the produce was about as good as you could expect anywhere. The special was duck taco's served with three of Chef Fernando's homemade sauces: Asian, honey mustard and the best, a jalapeño infused beauty with perfect heat. The duck was slightly smoky, prefectly cooked again served with what has to be homemade tortillas. Just amazing! We love Mole and Chef Fernando is known for being one of the great masters of this sauce. On the menu it just says Mole (Chef Olea's signature dish). Whatever you do, order this! Chef Fernando began by sending over 5 small tasting dishes with each of his mole's for us to sample so we could pick one. The classic mole I know and love with Chocolate was spectacular but the "New Mexico" mole he invented was a knock out! There's a third made with peanuts which kind of reminded me of a prefect mix between a Thai peanut sauce and a classic mole. There was a Verde which was quite acidic and Chef suggested we try that last as not to pollute the palette for the others. This man has an amazing sense of understanding of the palette utilizing very complext flavors and spice that provide a tremendous 'finish' whereby various parts of your mouth savor different tastes and spices that move from front to back. He describes what he's attempting to achieve with his sauces, let's you sample and indeed, he has a huge talent for this as well as being a great educator in the foods he serves. We told him we loved the classic and NM mole and told him to pick what meat to serve us based on those two choices. We received perfectly cooked lamb chops which were probably the best I've ever eaten in my life. There was also an amazing raspberry like sauce, I'm not doing it justice by calling it that but it's another brilliant example of a chef who's master sauces like few others. The lamb was served on a bed of sweet potatoes, some crispy noodles (?) and most amazing to me, some sweet, pickled shaved beets. I HATE BEETS. At least I used to hate them. In Chef Fernando's hands, they are absolutely amazing. We were comped a desert of home made Avocado ice cream with a topping of what appeared to be beet "fluff" served in crisply super thin flaky shell Hints if ginger and jalapeño from what I believe was a sauce at the bottom produced another amazingly complex flavor experience.

There are great restaurants in Santa Fe, I've lived here 20 years. If you come here to visit, you must not miss this experience. Currently Epazote is only open for lunch 11-2:30. Doesn't matter. Don't eat breakfast. Consider Lunch your dinner. Do whatever you have to do to get to this amazing restaurant and enjoy the work of a true culinary artist. Take more people so you can share more dishes, I know I'll go back with friends to try as many of the Botanas (differing meats or seafood you cook yourself on hot rocks with infused oil's). There's also the option of a chef tasting menu which I'm going to try next. If you live in Santa Fe, like myself, consider yourself so fortunate to have such an amazing restaurant and go there. Plus the prices are very affordable especially for the quality of the food. Further, the restaurant, housed in a huge gallery is lovely but small so make reservations or arrive early. But do not miss this astounding and talented chef!

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1  Thank AndrewRodney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviews (27)
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16 - 20 of 27 reviews

Reviewed 11 July 2014

If more people would review this restaurant and know their culinary arts, this would be the #1 restaurant in all of Santa Fe! DW and I and another couple were visiting NM for the first time ever, and happened onto this restaurant which apparently just re-opened in a new location with the same great chef that previously ran the restaurant by the same name "in town."

One of the most beautiful settings ever... with tons of plants and art-work around in a big greenhouse building (with air conditioning!) re-apportioned to be this restaurant.

Food is what I go there for... Amazing moles created by the Chef, along with also amazing soups, appetizers and entrees and desserts... all different and perfectly crafted and seasoned.

They are only open for Lunch until they get their liquor license... but OH... what a Lunch!

Started with a green chile, beef soup... clear, bright broth with fresh bold flavors reminiscent of lemon-grass and stocked with small pieces of delicious beef ( must have been marinated in some great spices/herbs before cooking the beef) and green chile chunks. Made you smile.

They brought four free samples of the "mole of the day" to sample. One was traditional, one was a green, sort of limey, tangy mole (great on fish or beef, I thought) mole, the third was a "Southwest Mole" that tasted a little sweeter than the traditional mole, as if some sweet potato or yam had been added, and the fourth mole was a light brown "sort of mushroomy tasting" mole. All were amazing, made from scratch. It was difficult deciding which one to have with my chicken breast, but I chose the Southwest Mole because I'm partial to sweeter stuff. Entrée of Chicken breast and the mole came with a red-beet "raw strings" lightly pickled, I'm guessing, and some yam puree with it. Yum, as they say...

DW had the salmon appetizer ($7) that you cook on a 600 degree F hot black oiled rock, so you can cook it just the way you like it. Same for Shrimp and a number of other meats/fishes you can "cook on a rock" at your table by yourself. Each one of these is about $7 and is a real bargain considering the quality of this cuisine!

For dessert, we had avocado ice cream with a raspberry sherbert, some sage flavor in it, all in an unsweet "basket" cone. Quite unique and quite good!

They also had the best iced tea I've had in NM.

The menu is written to be a little daunting... no mention is made of the chicken breast you can have with the mole sauce... So if you go there TALK to the server about the possibilities, some of which do not show up on the menu! You need to be guided a little bit to get the maximum pleasure out of this place. But it is indeed a real find for the culinary aficionados. The Chef is what you would really call a "genius" without exaggerating at all. So if you are in Santa Fe.. GO THERE. I suspect their prices will rise when they get their liquor license and start serving dinners.

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1  Thank BaybearLancaster_PA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 July 2014 via mobile

We've waited two years for Epazote to reopen and it was worth the wait! Although we loved the old downtown location, this was just as beautiful! This is one of many restaurants that we keep on our must visit list for Santa Fe and I am glad to say it will remain that way! The food is to die for!!!! Neither of us are fans of mole however that is the chefs specialty, and rightfully so. We both ordered mole entrees. I think the picture says it all, however your taste buds will disagree. They will be left wanting more! Cheers to the Chef and many more years of service!

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2  Thank Meghanne F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 July 2014

We had an extraordinary lunch at Epazote when we were visiting Santa Fe last week. A friend had recommended it with wild enthusiasm, and we weren’t disappointed...it was one of the most remarkable lunches I’ve ever had. The botanas–small pieces of meat, fish and vegetables cooked on hot stones at the table–were wonderful, and the infused oils and aiolis that accompanied the botanas and the small corn tortillas to wrap them in were just delicious. Even the house salad was great, with a perfect cilantro vinaigrette. But the mole was just astounding! I had lamb and my husband had duck, and we wiped the plates clean. It was fun to choose our mole from the tasting selection brought to the table in little dishes, and the server just couldn’t have been more helpful. She was very knowledgeable about the food, and her suggestions were right on the button. The presentation of the dishes was absolutely lovely, too...a visual delight without being gimmicky. The gallery which surrounds the restaurant is a lot of fun, with an interesting selection of pieces from local artists. I was sorry that we didn’t try Epazote earlier in our week’s visit, since I’d have definitely returned several times. Really a great place.

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1  Thank Chris C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 June 2014

What a dining pleasure as we enjoyed our Sunday lunch at Epazote on the Hillside in Santa Fe. Long time fans of Chief Fernando Olea, he had not missed a beat since moving his restaurant out of the downtown area in Santa Fe.
We shared several Botanas which you cook over hot rocks at your table. Next was the sampling of the four moles of the day - all of which merited a full serving. The salads were fresh and delicious. The special dessert of the day - avocado ice cream - was fantastic and a tasting delight.
Be sure to ask if chief's signature soup is available to start your meal - you won't regret it.

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Thank phh26541
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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