The Bourbon Grill is Santa Fe needs some “seasoning”

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A friend of mine who’s been in the restaurant business as long as I’ve been walking once said that it’s not a good idea to visit a new restaurant for at least 6 months, as it takes that long to work out the kinks. After a recent visit with my wife to The Bourbon Grill in Santa Fe, I understand what he meant. It opened October 16th, and I probably should have waited until May to try it. I can’t say that it was a bad experience, but I can’t say it was a good experience, either. Let’s just say that the whole experience needed salt; the food needed it and the joint needed experience.

Our visit got off to an auspicious start; my salad arrived before our appetizer, Spinach Cheeseballs. Because I grew up working in restaurants, timing of courses has always been a big deal to me. Getting my salad about 10 minutes before the appetizer threw me for a bit of a loop. The cheeseballs, themselves, were fine; they were crispy and had plenty of spinach and the red-chile hollandaise was a nice sauce. Though they came after my salad, I did enjoy them, otherwise.

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While our server was friendly and attentive, she misled my wife about the Alaskan King Crab Cocktail. She explained it as king crab meat, served alone, with enough crab to get a feel for the much pricier Alaskan King Crab ($59.95). What my wife got was crab salad served with avocado and saltines. My wife was disappointed; she felt that the salad was “just ok,” which means that my wife probably could have made it better herself. Not a good thought to have after an expensive restaurant.

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My prime rib was a good cut of meat, with enough fat to keep it juicy, although it wasn’t Medium well, it was more well-done. The Bourbon Grill claims to age its meat for 30 days, but I didn’t get the sense of the full beef flavor that it should have had. What was worse, I actually salted the meat. I don’t ever salt my meat, especially at high-end joints. I believe that the kitchen should season the meat strongly enough that I shouldn’t have to add anything. But even the au jus was on the bland side; I doused my meal with horseradish to break up the monotony of the meat.

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Our bill came in at $59.17 before tip.   My wife and I may go back at some point; it depends upon whether or not the place gets its “legs.” Word of mouth should do the trick, as the place plans to add a brunch menu come January. I have high hopes for The Bourbon Grill, but for a high-end steak, I have to stick with other places in town.

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