Cold Red Raspberry Soup
The Shed, Santa Fe
The Shed is often cited as the place to go for New Mexican food in Santa Fe.
Lately, however, just as much praise (if not more) from the locals has been directed towards its sister restaurant, La Choza, in the Santa Fe rail yard. Still, many favor The Shed.
This oft-cited restaurant is tucked away in a tiny courtyard just off a main pedestrian walkway in “downtown” Santa Fe. The place is popular.
The patio was full by the time we arrived shortly after they opened for lunch. By the time we left, the whole restaurant – inside and out – was packed.
Eating light, we three shared a few soups, a salad, and a main course.
From the limited subset of dishes we sampled, the green chile stew is really the only reason to eat at The Shed.
The seasonally offered “Cold Raspberry Soup,” a thick, bright pink smoothie of red raspberries, rosé wine, and sour cream, was refreshing (cup $4.50). And the “Carne Adovado” – a house specialty – was decent. The pieces of pork, slow-roasted in a marinade of red chile, garlic, and oregano were tender, and the accompanying blue corn enchilada filled with cheddar cheese, onion, and covered with red chile was sloppy and good.
But the “Green Chile Stew” really is the reason to eat here (bowl $7.50). Thankfully, I had enough foresight to order a bowl. It was sufficient for one person’s lunch.
The stew was thick, velvety, spicy, a touch tangy, and rich with porcine flavor. The Shed should definitely be known for this stew. It was excellent. The pork meat was soft and tender, and the potatoes were cooked equally as well.
By comparison, the “Posole” – a Pueblo stew of Nixtamal corn, pork, red chile, garlic & oregano (cup $3.25) – was wan. The clear broth was watery, and it was not spicy at all, which, we were told it would be (asterisk on the menu listing noted it was spicy). All the same, the pork was tender and soft, and the bloated corn was good.
Described as a restaurant relic, the “Italian Green Bean Salad #13” tasted like one too. The beans were over-mature; all of them were tough and tasted like reheated frozen beans. The vinaigrette dressing that the beans were tossed in saved the salad.
I have no idea how they imagined one might eat the heap of uncut beans, which were served in a bowl. The best part were the wedges of fresh, heirloom tomatoes that garnished the salad.
We should have stopped there. But the sight of a tall and proud souffle being taken to another table got the better of us.
I knew that something was too good to be true when our server said that he could have one out to us in a matter of minutes.
As I suspected and feared, the restaurant bakes its “Lemon Souffles” in batches. The one we got had clearly been baked a while back. It had completely deflated, and the interior was warm, not hot. Though it did have a lemon fragrance, the overriding flavor was egg. This was not good at all. ($4.25)
Service was stretched – there was one server working in our section of about eight tables. Thankfully, we were one of the earlier parties seated, and so we got our meal under way before the kitchen and staff hit the weeds. The parties that arrived after us were clearly frustrated with service, as they should have been.
Overall, this was a decent meal, but not one I would be eager to repeat. Save the green chile stew, none of the food we had impressed me. Next time, I’m much more likely to check out La Choza, which the regulars tout as having much more traditional New Mexican cuisine.
To see all of the photos from this meal, CLICK HERE.
113 1/2 Palace Avenue
Santa Fe, New Mexico