Once again, I haven’t been to El Meson Restaurant in Santa Fe for years. When I think of tapas, I think of El Farol or La Boca. I had forgotten about El Meson. Going to the Santa Cafe reminded me of El Meson’s existence. I’m glad I was reminded because I would have been missing out on some incredible tapas. This restaurant is on my go-to list now.
We were given some bread with oil to start. The bread was delicious.
What a delicious way to start a meal. We were in the process of deciding what tapas we would choose. As you can see there were many choices for non-meat eaters.
After finally figuring out what we should order, the food appeared in a timely fashion. For our first tapas dish, we had the incomparable cheese plate or the plato de quesos artesanales(20), which had some smoked gouda, sheep cheese, and a portion of blue cheese that made me vow never to become a vegan. The cheeses were served with some apples(maybe HoneyCrisp), walnuts, pistachios, grapes, dates, and quince. I was in heaven. This could have been my entire meal except that we were out with friends from out-of-town, so I had to share.
We had some delicious mushrooms that were perfectly cooked. I always have patatas bravas (spicy potatoes) whenever I go out for tapas. These patatas were exceptional! The dish was called patatas dos salsas(9) on the menu. The two sauces, a spicy red chile for dipping and a roasted garlic alioli. These sauces were incredible! I haven’t tasted sauces that were that nuanced in a long time. Wow! Ok, I didn’t want to share the potatoes either.
The pimentos de padron(sauteed peppers)(13) were the Spanish version of shishito peppers. These peppers were mild and sauteed with toasted garlic and sea salt. How could you go wrong? I fell in love with these peppers so much so that the next day I ordered some seeds to plant for next years garden. Wow! I think I like padron peppers more than shishitos.
We also had the Gambas al Ajillo (shrimp in garlic 10). The shrimp was also sauteed with garlic, penquin chile amd extra vrigin olive oil in a sizzling hot cazuela(a cooking pot). I love garlic as you can probably tell. I had one shrimp just to check it out. My shrimp was perfectly cooked. I don’t eat very much seafood anymore so I can really tell if a shrimp is rubbery. This was wonderful. And of course, how could it not be with Garlic!
We also had the Mejillones el Meson( Black Mussels). So these are fresh Totten Inlet Black Mussels(16). I don’t know anything about mussels but they looked so delicious in a tomato broth with fresh herbs, that I had to try one. These incredible mussels were steamed in a white wine as well. I thought my mussel was delectable. We asked for more bread to soak up the tomato broth. Not me, I had enough with the one mussel.
We talked to Andrea who has been there for 14 years. She told us how these mussels were a house favorite. I could totally understand the popularity of this dish. I thought it was a great value, too. Below are some of the various tapas that I had through out the night.
Everyone was so full that we decided not to get desert.
The service team was well coordinated. Our server was informative and helpful but not intrusive. He gave us some wonderful suggestions. Well Done!
I would highly recommend getting a reservation. It was a Friday night and very, very busy. You can book a reservation on the El Meson website through Resy or if you are into take-out call 505.983.6756 between 4-6pm.
El Meson is open Tuesday-Saturday 5-8pm.