Salt and Board – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Salt and Board in the Brick Light District Across from UNM

Five years ago, everyone was making beer in their bathtubs,
and now everyone’s making charcuterie in their garage!”
~Brian Malarkey, Chef

When my friend Carlos, a punctilious polyglot conversant in four languages, asked what my Kim and I ate over the weekend, my poorly-pronounced beginner’s French response was “une assisette de charcuterie et de fromages.” “Oh, you had cold-cuts and cheese,” he responded. “No, we had charcuterie!” I emphasized, slowly pronouncing each syllable of the term: “char-cu-te-rie.” “Only the French,” he retorted “could convince you a plate of bologna and slices of cheese is a gourmet dish worth thirty dollars.” Carlos was only kidding, of course, but beyond his flippancy was a veiled challenge. He wanted me to figure out what distinguishes “charcuterie” from any other plate of cold-cuts and cheeses thrown together.

It could be argued that charcuterie’s historical roots extend hundreds of years back when early civilizations figured out how to cure and preserve meats. The term “charcuterie,” which is derived from the French words for flesh (chair) and cooked (cuit), finds its genesis in fifteenth-century France. Charcuterie was essentially born out of the necessity for foods to have a long shelf life. Because pork vendors were prohibited from selling uncooked pork, they very quickly, figured out unique (or refined existing) methods for preparing salting, drying and curing pork. The term charcuterie initially defined the shops that sold pork and offal (internal organs) products. Eventually charcuterie also came to mean the actual products themselves.

One of the most beautiful charcuterie boards we’ve ever seen

Charcutiers held an elevated status in the community. They were seen as skilled and valued craftsmen, admired widely for their methods of transforming and presenting meats in delicious manners. With the advent of meatloaves, sausages and different kinds of meats, fish and fowl, French methods began to expand across Europe. This resulted in bologna, salumi and mortadella in Italy, the frankfurter in Germany, kielbasa in Poland and more. Charcuterie-style techniques also made it to the United States where Virginia hams and other regional cured specialties were born. Contemporary American charcuterie commonly regards charcuterie as a delicatessen-style cured meat served with cheese, bread, pickled vegetables and spreads.

As a child, my charcuterie had a first name: O-S-C-A-R. My charcuterie had a second name: M-A-Y-E-R. And if you ask me why, I’ll say “because I didn’t have a clue.” Later on, festive events such as graduation parties often included trays of cold-cuts, most often including the charcuterie of my childhood. Still clueless! It wasn’t until the Air Force sent me to Europe that I discovered the true meaning of charcuterie. It was love at first bite, alas an unrequited love for upon my return to the fruited plain, charcuterie was nowhere to be found. Frequent visits to California where artisanal cheese plates were the rage would have to sustain me until the colonies developed a charcuterie culture of its own.

The Italian, a Delicious Pressed Sandwich

Thankfully in recent years, charcuterie has made its way across the fruited plain—even to the Land of Enchantment. Habitués of this blog have read my raves about the charcuterie plate at M’Tucci’s Market & Pizzeria where genius chefs Cory Gray and Shawn Cronin have made charcuterie an art form. This dynamic duo bakes all the breads for the restaurant, makes all its pastas and sausages, cures many of the meats served on the premises, makes many of the cheeses, leaps tall buildings in a single bound and otherwise creates some of the most inventive and delicious dishes in Albuquerque. Other eateries have proffered versions of a charcuterie board, but none have rivaled M’Tucci’s.

That’s pretty much what we expected when we learned of the launch of Salt and Board in the Bricklight District near the University of New Mexico in a 1,400-square-foot space previously occupied by the Brickyard Dive and next door to Rude Boy Cookies. True to its name, Salt and Board offers a charcuterie board showcasing the chef’s choice of three meats and cheeses, house jams, pickles, mustards and crostini. As at M’Tucci’s, Salt and Board is about much more than charcuterie. The menu includes salads, toasts and pressed sandwiches. Toasts? In recent years, open-faced toast has become a culinary fad with toast serving as the canvas for very creative and delicious toppings. The possibilities are endless.

Chicken Liver Pate Banh Mi Style

There are three elements to a charcuterie board that make them so coveted and so special.  Variety and deliciousness are the first two and most obvious elements.  The third is mystery.  There’s something exciting about not knowing what the chef will choose for you.  It’s even better when you know that the next time you visit, your board will probably contain different meats and cheeses and they’ll all be mouth-watering. Salt and Board does not cure its own meats (the premises is just too small), but it does curate high quality products and presents them beautifully.  The board delivered to our table was one of the most beautiful we’ve ever seen.

Where to start?  How about the meats, a terrific triumvirate of textural and flavor contrasts?  We started with the mortadella which, contrary to uninformed opinion, is not glorified bologna.  Mortadella, an Italian pork sausage, is made of better ingredients and cured under more exacting and demanding standards.  Next was Saucisson Sec, a French dry-cured pork sausage flavored with garlic and black pepper.  It was superb!  The biggest surprise was a rilette, a seasoned meat spread traditionally made with pork.  It’s often called “poor man’s pate,” since it has the creamy, smooth consistency of pate, but it is far less costly.  Salt and Pepper’s version is served in a steel ramekin.  You have to break through about half an inch of melted bacon fat to get to the meat spread, but the combination of smoked bacon and cured meat flavors is dynamite.

When it comes to charcuterie, you want to have an assortment of mild, medium and bold flavors, preferably with different textures.  The chef sent out fantastic fromage–three gems.  First up was Funkmeister, a double-cream cow’s milk cheese with a washed rind (which is delicious).  Made in Colorado from organic cow’s milk, Funkmeister has a soft texture, but a funky, pungent aroma and pleasant, savory flavor.  It was my favorite.  My Kim’s favorite was the Cana de Cabra, a soft-ripened cheese made from pasteurized goat’s milk, in Spain.  It’s creamy, buttery, mild and delicious with the tart, earthy flavor we love.  We both enjoyed the Alpine Cheddar, a light wedge of mild sharpness.

As delicious as the meats and cheeses are on their own, their flavors are heightened greatly by the house jams, pickles, mustards and crostini (not to mention the incomparable Spanish Marcona olives).  My very favorite was an apricot mostarda, a sweet condiment made by softening the apricots in a sweetening brine tinged with mustard seeds for a terrific kick.  A superb complement to the savory meats and cheeses was the fig jam, as good as we’ve had in the Duke City.  Nearly as good was a sweet and savory onion jam which derives tanginess from some sort of vinegar and sweetness from a type of sugar.  Whether spread on the crostini or enjoyed on their own, the jams, pickles and mustards are integral to the whole charcuterie board package.

Five pressed sandwiches grace the menu, each one an invitation to deliciousness. It’s a challenge to decide which to order. Ultimately you’ve got to figure that you try one now and come back some other time to try the others. Our choice, as it often is when presented with sandwich options, was the Italian (prosciutto, soppressata, ham, Grand Cru (a Wisconsin cheese made from cow’s milk), olive tapenade, house oil and vinegar). Solomon himself could not have made a better choice. Unlike so many pressed sandwiches (typically called panini), this one was not squashed down to within an inch of its life. Nor was the bread crust so abrasive that it scrapes the roof of your mouth like sandpaper. The Italian has a grilled consistency (maybe a light press) and is soft and tender with meats and cheese piled higher than on any pressed sandwich in memory. Moreover, it was a melding of magnificent ingredients.

Contemporaneous with the charcuterie craze is the artisanal toast fad. San Francisco made toast trendy in 2014 and there appears to be no surcease in the popularity of what was once just a breakfast side slathered in butter and (or) jam. Today toast is the canvas for an arsenal of creative options, limited only by the imagination of the chef. Where everyone from Gwyneth Paltrow to four-star chefs once extoled the virtues of avocado toast, today that seems passé. Under the menu heading “Toasts,” Salt and Board offers six different toast options, including the aforementioned avocado toast. Our choice, and perhaps the most imaginative one, was the chicken liver pate (Banh Mi style pickled vegetables, Fresno chili, cilantro aioli). Atop four diagonally cut slices of toast with a light smear of chicken liver pate and the promised jumble of pickled vegetables was a generous toss of microgreens. We could not discern daikon among the Banh Mi style pickled vegetables, but otherwise enjoyed this very creative presentation of an American standard.

Salt and Board is a fun gathering place in one of Albuquerque’s best people-watching neighborhoods. A relaxed, dog-friendly patio and old-world influenced cuisine—what could be better than that?

Salt and Board
115 Harvard SE Suite 9
Albuquerque, New Mexico
(505) 219-2001
Web Site | Facebook Page
LATEST VISIT: 24 March 2018
# OF VISITS: 1
RATING: N/R
COST: $$
BEST BET:  Charcuterie Board, Chicken Liver Pate Banh Mi Style, The Italian
REVIEW #1034

Salt and Board Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Le Troquet Bistro – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Bistro Le Troquet on 3rd and Central

Pope Gregory the Great was a prolific writer canonized as a saint and recognized as a “doctor of the church.” Among musicians, singers, students and teachers, he is revered as a patron saint, a heavenly advocate who intercedes on their behalf. Among gluttons of the Middle Ages, however, the supreme pontiff was reviled. In his treatise Morals on the Book of Job, Pope Gregory essentially condemned them to Hell, a denouncement reflecting the strict austerity of the times. For gluttons, the unpardonable sin was in deriving too much pleasure from eating. Eating, or more precisely the pleasurable overindulgence in food, was viewed as an ungodly preoccupation with temporal and corporeal pleasures at the expense of spirituality.

Church leaders of the Middle Ages didn’t just denounce the derivation of pleasure from eating in a general sense. They listed five specific ways in which gluttony was a sin: eating too soon, eating too expensively, eating too much, eating too eagerly, eating too daintily and eating wildly. By Middle Age standards, many Americans are gluttons and would be condemned to an eternity in Hell for our enjoyment of food. Fortunately the provincial dogma regarding the enjoyment of food has been replaced by more “one dimensional” thinking that focuses on the sin of the inordinate desire to eat too much when there are needy going without food.

Very European Dining Room

In The Science of Sin, Dr. Simon Laham posited that “If Pope Gregory the Great had it right, the French are going straight to Hell.” It’s a declaration that doesn’t sit well with the French who in 2003 petitioned Pope John Paul II to remove gourmandise (gluttony in English) from the list of seven deadly sins. For the proud French, gourmandise reflects shared pleasure and generosity—sharing food as a social activity. Gourmandise respects moderation and portion control and is wholly contrary to the priggish conformity to propriety that describes gourmets. Rather than a cardinal vice, the French argue that gourmandise is a theological virtue.

Alas, it’s not a virtue practiced often or well (or maybe not at all) in America where lunches tend to be hurried gobble-and-go affairs spent more attuned to the latest cat video on YouTube than on what we’re eating or with whom we’re sharing our meal. Contrast that with the gourmandise experience—a leisurely, three course, two-hour lunch spent in conversation with friends. Gourmandise is more akin to a marathon while the American dining experience has devolved into a sprint.

Mushroom Soup

In Albuquerque, no one has been more instrumental in introducing the spirit of gourmandise or in providing fine French alternatives to the ubiquitous chile-laden cuisine that seems to define the city than chef Jean-Pierre Gozard. Chef Gozard started it all in 1975 with the launch of La Crepe Michel, a hugely popular restaurant that’s still going strong nearly four decades later. In 1979 he opened Le Marmiton, one of the four or five restaurants I’ve missed most from among all those which have closed since we returned to Albuquerque. From 1987 through 1995, Chef Gozard plied his talents in Casa Vieja, a Corrales landmark.

After leaving Casa Vieja, it looked for a while as if Albuquerque had seen the last of the über chef, but in 2008 he turned up at La Crepe Pierre, a highly regarded restaurant which eventually evolved into Chez Bob, another excellent French restaurant. By year’s end, Chef Gozard had launched Cafe Jean-Pierre, within easy walking distance of the Century 24 theater. At the close of 2015 and advent of the new year, Chef Gozard closed his eponymous restaurant to focus on Le Troquet Bistro on the intersection of 3rd and Gold in the downtown area.

Frog Legs

Le Troquet occupies the charming space which served as home to P’Tit Louis Bistro for years. Fashioned like a turn-of-the-century Parisian bistro, the art-deco ambiance includes hardwood floors and furnishings with masculine black accents bespeaking of period authenticity and precise craftsmanship which is also apparent in the artisan construction of the hand-crafted art nouveau bar and other decorous touches.  It’s a setting which just may inspire the spirit of gourmandise even among the most rushed diners.

The interior is cozy with fewer than a dozen tiny tables in personal space proximity to one another. The tables are obviously intended for dishes to be delivered in sequence, not for several dishes to be delivered at one time. Each table is adorned with linen tablecloths and napkins. A soundtrack featuring the soothing stylings of Edith Piaf and other French singers of decades past lend to a dining experience in which time seems to have stopped nearly a century ago

Jambon Beurre with Fruit

The menu is more timeless and surprisingly ambitious considering the relatively small and very intimate confines of the restaurant. One side of the two-page menu is dedicated to more informal “lunch-type” items. It lists soups, salads, hors d’oeuvres, sandwiches and quiches, warm plates and desserts. The other page lists nine dinner entrees and two appetizers. Those dinner entrees include several of the magnificent dishes which made Café Jean-Pierre one of Albuquerque’s finest restaurants of any genre. It’s a list of lavish deliciousness, each entrée making it impossible not to derive great pleasure from the indulgence of eating.

4 March 2016: Quite possibly the best soup on the menu is a soup du jour offering of cream of mushroom. If your benchmark for cream of mushroom comes from a red-labeled can, you’ll curse having wasted your life at your very first bite of Le Troquet’s soul-satisfying rendition. Rich, creamy and steaming hot, it is the essence of French comfort, replete with the flavor of heady, earthy mushrooms tinged with a nuanced hint of white wine. It’s the type of soup which will inspire diners to close their eyes and luxuriate in swoon-worthy deliciousness. Not surprisingly, this version is as good (if not better) than the cream of mushroom soup served at Café Jean-Pierre.

Veal Scallopine Normande

4 March 2016: With centuries of enmity between England and France, it stands to reason that name-calling would ensue as we learned during our three years in England. Whenever English citizens spoke of the French, the term “Frogs” was bandied about, the sobriquet “Frogs” apparently derived from the French propensity for enjoying frog legs. Frog legs are a delicacy not often found in restaurants across the Land of Enchantment, but Le Troquet has them. These mild-flavored gams are coated with a combination of garlic, herbs, fresh tomatoes and white wine…and no, they don’t taste like chicken (though there is a textural resemblance). Frog legs, in fact, don’t have much flavor at all. They’re rather bland and nondescript, hence the tendency for restaurants to sauce them or coat them in other ingredients.

4 March 2016: Though blessed with the wide availability of sandwiches dressed with every conceivable condiment, sometimes only the simplicity of a relatively unadorned sandwich will do. During our time in Europe, we were surprised at how much we enjoyed simple sandwiches constructed with no more than three or four ingredients. Nostalgia filled our hearts with every bite of the Jamon Beurre, a simple sandwich made with ham of Paris and butter on a baguette. That’s it! Three ingredients, no more. The rich creaminess of butter on a soft, moist baguette is the perfect repository for salty, savory, smoky ham. Though Dagwood might not appreciate its sparsity, we loved it.

Chicken Cordon Bleu

4 March 2016: While veal scallopini is a traditional Italian offering, French influences can be added to produce a superb dish you’d be proud to serve and even happier to eat. Le Troquet’s Veal Scallopini Normande will please the most discerning palates. Thin, delicate veal medallions of veal are lightly floured and sautéed then deglazed with apple brandy and served with roasted apples (ostensibly from the apple orchards of Normandy, for centuries producers of Europe’s best apples). The veal is so tender you can cut it with a fork and so good, it may be lust, another of the seven sins, you’ll experience as you consume it with wonton alacrity. The veal is served with sweet, tender carrots and fresh haricot verts. 

6 July 2016: My first experience with chicken cordon bleu was on a flight to London way back in 1979.  The quality of airplane food back then was probably on par with the quality of food at most high school cafeterias.  To say the dish didn’t impress me in the least is an understatement.  While chicken cordon bleu was all the rage in French restaurants across the fruited plain back then, I don’t recall ever ordering it at any restaurant.  That’s more than three decades of denying myself, all courtesy of a poor-performing airplane galley.  Had Chef Jean-Pierre catered for the airplane, I might today count chicken cordon bleu as one of my favorite French foods.  Le Troquet’s version, pulchritudinous poultry stuffed with ham and Gruyere cheese and topped with a sumptuous sauce made with caramelized onions, is easily the best I’ve had.  Considering a small sample size, that’s not saying much about chicken cordon bleu, so let’s qualify the degree of my affinity for the dish by declaring it’s now one of my favorite French dishes.

Beignets with Apricot Marmalade

4 March 2016: There are five desserts on the menu including the patisserie du jour (or pastry of the day). St. Gregory the Great would have frowned had he been presented with the option of beignets as he would certainly have succumbed to temptation. Four warm beignets heavily dusted with confectioners’ sugar and served with an apricot marmalade would have driven even Job to temptation. Surprisingly dense yet remarkably light, each beignet is a puffed-up piece of goodness. The apricot marmalade packs just enough of a fruity tang to serve as a foil for the beignets.

If it’s a sin to eat at Le Troquet Bistro where profound enjoyment is assured with every bite, Albuquerque has plenty of transgressors who prefer to think of themselves as enjoying the Lord’s bounty.

Le Troquet Bistro
228 Gold Avenue, S.W.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
(505) 508-1166
Facebook Page
LATEST VISIT: 6 July 2016
1st VISIT: 4 March 2016
# OF VISITS: 2
RATING: 23
COST: $$ – $$$
BEST BET: Mushroom Soup, Veal Scallopini Normande, Jambon Beurre, Beignets, Frog Legs

Le Troquet Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Chez Mamou – Santa Fe, New Mexico

Chez Mamou on Palace Avenue in Santa Fe

When she asked me to repeat the name of the French restaurant where we were dining one slightly breezy Sunday morning, I knew my clever bride had something in mind.  Relaying that we were dining at Chez (pronounced “shay”) Mamou, she retorted “are you sure it’s not called “Shame on you.”  That was her reaction to a server having deposited a stale, probably older than day-old baguette on our table.  She followed up with “no self-respecting French restaurant, especially one claiming to be a bakery would serve bread baked by Napoleon’s baker.”  Whether or not the fossilized (her term) bread was indicative of Chez Mamou’s daily performance, it was enough to rile my usually saintly patient wife.

By this point, she had already dissed the coffee, an Allegro Coffee blend, which she found entirely too strong and “more bitter than supporters of England wanting to remain in the European Union.”   (In the interest of full-disclosure, she finds coffee too strong if it can’t be “cured” by five or six packets of Splenda.”)  She would later repeat her “what’s the name of this restaurant” comment while eating some of the restaurant’s highly-touted pastries and croissants, reputedly baked by a master baker (and I won’t repeat how she twisted that term). That, my friends, is why she leaves the reviewing to me…and lest you think she’s nit-picky, the only time she’s ever compromised on her exceedingly high standards is when she said “yes” to me.

Dining Room at Chez Mamou

You should certainly set your expectations high when visiting a restaurant as highly touted as Chez Mamou.  Never mind that it earned rave reviews from both the Albuquerque Journal and Santa Fe Reporter, where it really earned its creds with me is from a Facebook post by Daniela Bouneou, erstwhile owner of the fabulous  Torinos @ Home.  When Daniela posts about a restaurant, you’re well advised to heed her recommendation.  Chez Mamou also earned a 3.5 rating (out of 4) from Yelp, 4.5 (out of 5) from Trip Advisor  and 3.9 (out of 5) from Zomato. Interspersed among mostly glowing comments in these three crowd-sourced review forums are a few opinions which would make excellent roast material.  At least our experience wasn’t an outlier.

Chez Mamou is one of several French restaurants serving the City Different, not really a surprise considering the long and storied history of French people in New Mexico.  Launched in 2012, its East Palace Avenue location is scant blocks away from the Santa Fe Plaza, but in ways it seems almost an ocean away…as far away as a Paris sidewalk cafe.  That’s especially true on a Santa Fe summer morning if you’re trying to escape the sweltering heat of Albuquerque as was the case during our inaugural visit.  A light, cool breeze and the courtyard’s sun-shielding shade transported us to a better time and place.  Had we known Chez Mamou was so pet-friendly, we might have brought our four-legged children Tim and The Dude.

Al Fresco Dining at its Finest

Weather-permitted, the courtyard is definitely preferred seating.  If the courtyard is full, there are a few tables preceding the front entrance that’ll give you a great view of the street activity.  The space which houses Chez Mamou is bisected into two halves, one occupied by Noëlla Jewelry Couture.  Decor is tasteful and homey.  Step up into the cafe and your eyes will immediately gravitate toward the pastry case with its colorful display of pastries, breads, croissant and other French baked delicacies.  Few display cases in New Mexico are as lovely.  You’ll want to order the chocolate croissants the minute you walk in or you risk the cafe running out entirely.

From among the baked goods we shared, the chocolate croissants stand out.  While no croissant will ever have enough chocolate to sate this chocoholic, the chocolate chunks on these beauties are strategically placed so that you’ll experience sweet and savory tastes in virtually every bite.  The croissants are buttery, light and flaky, but they’re served with a hard butter which is a challenge to spread.  Fortunately a housemade strawberry jam accompanied our croissants.  The jam, nearly pureed in texture, was very reminiscent of fresh strawberries plucked at their optimum ripeness, neither too sweet nor too tart.

Mussels Mamou

Where Chez Mamou really stands out is in the large variety of its menu, particularly its brunch offerings.  While many restaurants feature an abbreviated brunch menu usually short on lunch-type offerings, Chez Mamou’s brunch menu is staggering in its variety.  Like me, the cafe doesn’t believe 7:30 in the morning is too early for Frog Legs, Escargots, Fettuccini Carbonara or any number of sandwiches on a canvas of freshly baked bread.  If you’re more of a traditionalist, the menu also includes a number of omelets (made with eggs produced by local, happy, free-range, Nambe hens) as well as sweet and savory crepes and even a Croque Madame…all because sometimes you feel like breakfast and sometimes you feel like lunch.

In England, as in much of Northern Europe, mussels are so readily available and relatively inexpensive that they’re often dismissed as a poor man’s shellfish.  During our years in England, we enjoyed mussels by the bushel, but we never contemplated the possibility of incorporating New Mexico flavors (not that we had red or green chile readily available) into either the wine- or cream-based broths we regularly prepared.  Thankfully restaurants in New Mexico, regardless of genre, know their patrons practically expect a little red or green in virtually every menu, even on dessert items…and as we all know, chile improves the overall flavor of everything it touches.

Steak Frites

In an inspired example of France meets New Mexico, Chez Mamou offers an eponymous appetizer called Mussels Mamou which showcases the lively flavor of red chile paired with the incomparable flavor of applewood smoked bacon in a light wine sauce punctuated by shallots and parsley.  Although comprised of only a paltry six mussels, everyone knows that more than half of the enjoyment of mussels is in sopping up the broth with a good bread.  Because the bread we were provided lacked the dredging qualities of great broth sopping bread (hence my Kim’s dissatisfaction described above), we had to spoon up the broth instead.  While still good, the sensory–tactile, olfactory and taste–experiences were diminished somewhat.

Because she missed the French fries often served with mussels (who doesn’t love moules frites?), my Kim’s choice of entree was the Steak Frites, a flank steak served with a pile of French fries and assorted vegetables.  After recent encounters with sinewy, tough ribeye steaks, we were delighted to find the flank steak tender and absolutely delicious (in Kim’s estimation, better than a much more expensive steak at Ruth’s Chris).  Prepared and seasoned to her exacting specifications, it didn’t even need the delectable mushrooms in gravy (not quite duxelles style) though they, too, were mouth-watering.  So were the vegetables (carrots, broccoli, zucchini, cauliflower) which were so good even avowed vegetable-haters of all ages would enjoy them.  Alas, the frites were strictly out-of-a-bag quality, a far cry from the twice-fried frites we enjoyed in Europe and now in La Quiche Parisienne in Albuquerque.

Duck Confit

One of the more challenging decisions we faced during our inaugural visit was how to enjoy the duck which is prepared three different ways: duck confit, duck confit pasta and duck confit salad.  The duck confit (red wine demi glace over slowly cooked duck) served with fresh roasted tomato, seasonal vegetables and potatoes au gratin had me at au gratin, a potato dish served often at French restaurants bur almost nowhere else.  A layer of Gruyere blanketed the perfectly prepared potatoes, imparting a creamy texture, richness and saltiness.  As with the aforementioned mussels, the superb red wine demi glace beckoned for bread so as not to leave a single drop on the plate.  It was one of the best demi glace preparations we’ve had at any French restaurant in New Mexico.  The duck, too, was well prepared and nicely seasoned with dark meat qualities showcased in every bite.

As beautiful as the pastries under glass appeared to be, we must have ordered the wrong ones because their appearance was certainly deceiving.  Kim opted for the cherry tart, the most redeeming quality of which was that real, whole cherries were used, not some gloppy gelatinous mix.  Alas, the thickness and plenitude of the breading was off-putting.  Such was the case as well with the almond tart of my choosing.  Topped with almond slivers and walnut pieces, it would have been far more enjoyable had there not been so much breading.

Pastry Tray

As with virtually all restaurants we visit, our experience was a mix of good and not-so-good.  That’s not surprising.  What is surprising is the delta between the good and not-so-good.  Our entrees were outstanding, as good as prepared at any French restaurant in the Land of Enchantment, but the baked goods (save for croissants) were lacking.  It’s quite possible this was an anomaly, but it’ll take additional visits to know for sure.  That’s something this gastronome and his oft-fussy better-half are happy to do.

Chez Mamou
217 East Palace Avenue
Santa Fe, New Mexico
(505) 216-1845
Web Site | Facebook Page
LATEST VISIT: 26 June 2016
# OF VISITS: 1
RATING: N/R
COST: $$
BEST BET: Duck Confit, Steak Frites, Mussels Mamou

Chez Mamou French Cafe & Bakery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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