At first contemplation, Dr. Field Goods sounds like a strange name for a restaurant. To the lexicologist in me, it brought to mind the Hippocrates missive “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” To the white-coat-syndrome suffering, borderline iatrophobe in me, the name sent shivers down my spine. To the gastronome in me who finally realized the emphasis is on “field goods” and not on “Doctor,” the name elicited a curiosity that wouldn’t be sated, especially after an effusive recommendation from the Lobo Lair (good luck finding the specific post).
As you’ve probably surmised, Dr. Field Goods is all about using fresh, local ingredients (“field goods”), a farm-to-table approach which delights the locavores among us who prefer consuming foods that are produced locally, not shipped long distances to market. The farm-to-table movement in New Mexico is more than just alive and well. It’s thriving with several exemplars who do it exceedingly well. With expectations high for a restaurant named Dr. Field Goods, it’s got a lot to live up to.
The “Doctor” is Chef Josh Gerwin, an accomplished MD (master of deliciousness) who’s cut a wide swath across Northern New Mexico’s culinary landscape. Chef Gerwin earned his doctorate in deliciousness at the New England Culinary Institute, garnering the Institute’s “Golden Tong Award” for best savory chef in his class. After serving as sous chef at the prestigious Five Diamond Fairmont Princess Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona, he relocated to New Mexico. His first culinary venture in the Land of Enchantment was in operating the Curbside Café, a revolutionary food truck stationed in Santa Fe which made high-end gourmet food affordable.
In May, 2009, Chef Gerwin leased and reopened the historic 300-year-old Casa Vieja in Corrales where he created a menu featuring rustic New Mexican fare showcasing fresh, local produce from the Corrales Growers’ Market and other local purveyors of freshness. By year’s end, he had garnered “Best Chef in Albuquerque” recognition from readers of the Alibi. A year later, Alibi readers accorded Casa Vieja “Best Restaurant in Albuquerque” honors. Alas, in 2011, the Casa Vieja succumbed to the ravages of age and was forced to close after being deemed a public safety hazard.
Undaunted, on June 14th, 2012, the enterprising chef launched Dr. Field Goods, a food truck emblazoned with the slogans “Rockin’ Out Fresh NM Fusion” and “Where the Field Meets the Street.” The food truck more than lived up to those slogans with an innovative New Mexico meets the world cuisine approach belying the expected limits of a mobile kitchen. Its inaugural menu featured such avant-garde delights as green chile chicken and cheese egg rolls with peanut dipping sauce and cornmeal crusted fried frog legs tossed in a habanero apple hot sauce. Chef Gerwin doesn’t own a can opener or microwave and all his sauces are homemade, the way he’s always made them.
On April 6, 2013, Chef Gerwin launched the second instantiation of Dr. Field Goods Kitchen, this time as a more stationary (brick and mortar) operation in an easy-to-miss nondescript strip mall along Cerrillos Road just south of Jackalope. The restaurant’s storefront didn’t face heavily trafficked Cerrillos so if you weren’t paying attention, you just might miss it. That would have been a near tragedy because this is one restaurant you don’t want to miss. Two years after launching the restaurant, Chef Gerwin opened Dr. Field Goods Butcher & Deli in the same small strip mall. Chef Gerwin and his team of butchers work closely with small family farms and ranches with the highest standards for quality. They source whole animals and hand butcher to ensure freshness, quality and variety. The butcher shop is in the process of moving to Dr. Field Goods new location within the DeVargas Mall.
Yes, new location. Dr. Field Goods website closed 2022 out with a November announcement: “We have moved! We purchased the old Santa Fe Bar and Grill location at the end of last year and have moved all of our restaurant operations there. You can find Dr. Field Goods items on our menu, as well as some Santa Fe Bar and Grill Favorites too. We are in the process of moving our butcher shop next door and hope to have all renovations and remodels complete by early summer 2023! During the height of the Cabrona Virus, Dr. Field Goods also launched an a small Albuquerque instantiation of the butcher shop within the Sawmill Market.
We drove past Dr. Field Goods DeVargas location because signage still reflects the previous tenant. The new space is several times larger than its Lilliputian location on Cerillos though conspicuous by its absence is a custom-made oven (somewhat resembling a New Mexican horno) in which Chef Gerwin created fanciful and highly regarded pizza. Also conspicuous and sure-to-be-missed is seeing Chef Gerwin in action. At the original location, he held court and interacted in close proximity with his guests. Though the new space has an “open kitchen” it’s not nearly as open as at the original Dr. Field Goods. The expansive dining room is beautiful. Seating is plentiful and no longer in personal space proximity as at the previous location. A capacious Dude-friendly patio accommodates those of us who appreciate al fresco dining during enchanting weather.
In 2019, the Food Network’s most popular program Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives visited Dr. Field Goods. Host Guy Fieri noted that “when the name kind of plays a little homage to one of my favorites, Motley Crue, you know I’ve got to check it out.” Fieri was impressed by Chef Gerwin’s unique twist on the BLT, a burger made entirely of bacon which the chef made from pork belly from the butcher shop. It’s called Bad Ass BLT and it lives up to its name. The burger is a whopping nine ounces (though that does include some lean meat to bind the bacon together). The bacon is ground into a patty and nestled onto potato bread buns made by the chef. After only one bite, Fieri acknowledged “this is what everybody wants a BLT to be like.” “You’re getting the volume of a burger, the flavor of the bacon. The whole top of that patty is all that crisp, crunchy, unctuous flavor then on the inside it’s super tender. It’s just perfectly made. A BLT at another level.”
On a Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives compilation of the 5-most-insane-burgers Fieri has tried on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, the aforementioned BLT ranked third, just behind a peanut butter burger from Logan, Utah. The segment on Dr. Field Goods wasn’t solely about the burger. Chef Gerwin also prepared a carne adovada pizza for the Food Network glitterati. The pizza is made from (of course) hand-tossed dough, hand-pulled mozzarella, heirloom tomatoes and the chef’s take on carne adovada (made from cubed pork shoulder marinated and slow-cooked in chile and spices. Fieri called it “dynamite.”
Dr. Field Goods is no stranger to the spotlight. Its first appearance on the small screen was in 2014 when the Travel Channel’s Chow Master’s program visited New Mexico. The premise of the show was that two best friends, a chef and a Hollywood director, hit the road in search of the best comfort food America has to offer, rewarding their favorite dish with a $10,000 prize and a Golden Skillet prize. An episode entitled “Santa Fe Burritos” pitted three purveyors of burritos in a piquant melee: La Choza and Dr. Field Goods Kitchen in Santa Fe and Hurricane’s Cafe in Albuquerque. Judging was based on creativity and flavor. The ten thousand dollar burrito winner was Dr. Field Goods who wowed the judges with a smoked goat chimichanga in mole.
Though the Cerillos version of Dr. Field Goods may have been small, the menu was ambitious. In a larger space, there’s an even larger menu that includes weekly and daily specials (how’s that for ambitious). It’s not every restaurant that also serves soup of the day and a dessert special. Remember, in 2022, Best Overall Soup jumpers at the Santa Fe Souperbowl went to Dr. Field Goods for chef Josh Gerwin’s creamy truffled cauliflower soup. The “Snacks and Such” section of the menu lists nine starters, including Chef Gerwin’s signature carne adovada eggrolls. Five salads as well as a soup and sandwich combination follow on the menu. All are served with housemade dressings (Balsamic vinaigrette, blue cheese vinaigrette, roasted poblano vinaigrette, citrus vinaigrette, fresh tarragon vinaigrette, Caesar, ranch, Southwestern ranch and 1000 island.)
Next on the menu are soups and stews, one of which is a highly regarded green chile stew. “Between Bread” may be a clever alternative to “Sandwiches and Burgers,” but some diners probably won’t go any further. The sandwiches and burgers are a “most wanted list” of deliciousness. Sandwiches and burgers are served with your choice of fries, coleslaw or apple jicama slaw though you can upgrade to a side salad for a pittance more. You can also ask for Uzi’s gluten-free bread. “Enchiladas y tacos” showcase how well the chef has embraced New Mexico’s sacrosanct chiles. Six entrees are listed last on the menu, but will be first in the heart of hungry diners. Take a gander at the Santa Fe Meatloaf and you’ll understand why.
13 October 2023: You could make a meal out of two or three starters and probably still have some to take home. Dr. Field Goods handmade onion rings won’t make it home with you. They’re too good not to devour at the table. Large onion rings sheathed in a thick, but light batter are perfectly prepared. They’re crisp on the outside and moist on the inside. Order them smothered in cheese with red and green chile on the side. Chef Gerwin may not have been born and bred in New Mexico, but his chile was. Both red and green are delicious and neither shy away from piquancy.
27 May 2023: While chips and salsa are practically de rigueur in New Mexico, too many are forgettable. At Dr. Field Goods, the Chips with Three Dips; chili (sic) con queso, fire-roasted salsa, dry fire salsa and fried-to-order corn tortilla chips are memorable. All three, including the con queso, don’t necessarily bit back, but they’re flavorful and fresh. The queso, an amalgam of cheeses, is wholly unlike the gloppy nacho cheese served by “less conscientious” restaurants. It’s perfectly salty, piquant and irresistibly delicious. The corn tortilla chips are still hot when then they arrive at your table so there’s no questioning their freshness. The chips are low-in-salt and formidable enough for Gil-sized scoops of salsa. Among the salsas, the fire-roasted salsa stands out.
13 October 2013: One starter not to be missed at Dr. Field Goods is the roasted vegetable arancini featuring deep-fried risotto balls stuffed with roasted veggies and served with a housemade marinara sauce and torched, housemade mozzarella. Arancini, a versatile dish usually found only in high-end Italian restaurants, is not always made well. Chef Gerwin’s version is terrific. You’d be ecstatic to find spaghetti topped with the spirited marinara sauce while the torched mozzarella is chewy, rich and lightly salted. If all vegetable dishes were as good as this starter, kids of all ages would enjoy vegetables more.
13 October 2013: Among the sandwiches and main dishes, one quickly approaching legendary status is the goat torta sandwich. Save for at Mexican restaurants, goat (cabrito) just isn’t very common in New Mexico. That’s a shame because goat has a unique flavor profile all its own, something akin to lamb with notes of beef. It’s neither too gamey nor too mild. Chef Gerwin butchers the goat he uses at his restaurant. He also makes the bread on which sandwiches are served. It’s the perfect canvas for the goat barbacoa, refried beans, fresh apple slices and habanero hot sauce with the housemade habanero goat cheese spread. Bite into the hard-crusted, crunchy bread and your taste buds are in for an adventure as complementary flavors coalesce into sumptuous sandwich deliciousness. The habanero hot sauce, by the way, is incendiary in an endorphin rush inducing way that makes you want to keep eating.
13 October 2013: If it isn’t the official New Mexico state breakfast, the breakfast burrito should be. Still, you can almost always count on breakfast burritos to have a consistent “sameness” in flavor, texture and boldness. Enter Dr. Field Goods whose breakfast burrito is on steroids compared to some of its brethren, a collection of 98-pound weaklings. Not only is this behemoth burrito significantly larger and more overstuffed, it’s more eye-opening with a red chile you can respect. It’s got a Chile Caribe look and feel with a dark, rich red color that prefaces an earthy flavor with real piquancy. Shame on all the restaurants who don’t allow chile’s inherent heat to shine. Kudos to Chef Gerwin for not fearing the heat.
27 May 2023: Have you ever read a quote about a specific topic and known for sure it was actually a descriptor for something else? Author-screenwriter Ray Bradbury wrote something about the works of artist Peter Paul Rubens that I thought for sure described one of my very favorite sandwiches. See for yourself: “Rubens! All bosom and bum, big cumulus clouds of pink flesh, eh? Okay, so he was writing about the voluptuous and curvy women made famous in Rubens’ paintings, but read that quote again and tell me it doesn’t describe a Rueben sandwich as well, especially one from Dr. Field Goods.
Chef Gerwin creates and serves a Rueben’s Rueben (your choice of housemade pastrami or corned beef, sauerkraut, 1000 Island dressing, Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard on rye bread). Eat too many of them and the adjectives voluptuous and curvy might just apply to you. This is a very good Rueben, one of the very best in a state where good Ruebens are as scarce as integrity in politics. Among the qualities that make for a good Rueben is balance between flavors. This Rueben accomplishes just that. The tart, crispy sauerkraut is perfect foils for the creamy Swiss cheese and sweet 1000 Island dressing. Pink fleshed pastrami is plentiful and it’s superb. Now, tell me Ray Bradbury wasn’t talking about this sandwich.
27 May 2023: One of the most popular items on the menu is the DFG (Dr. Field Goods) Cubano (housemade pulled pork, housemade ham, pickles, Swiss cheese, mayo, cabbage, oregano, lime). If you think finding a great Rueben in New Mexico is a challenge, try finding a superb Cubano. There just aren’t many. At first glance, it may appear the Cubano is made using the de rigueur panini bread which is sometimes rather abrasive and can cut into the roof of your mouth. Instead, the staff of life used by Chef Gerwin is a DFG potato torta roll which is softer than panini bread while retaining its integrity in the face of moist ingredients. Tendrils of moist, tender roast beef and a sweet-salty ham are generously portioned. The tangy xanthic mustard and its crispy, tart pickles balance the creaminess of the mayo and Swiss cheese.
27 May 2023: At the original Dr. Field Goods, there were only two desserts on the menu. Because you were likely to be full, you might not have had have room anyway. If that was your experience, you probably felt like Robert Frost’s “road not taken.” Having a dessert will make all the difference beyond waddling away from the restaurant. Among the temptations are a Dutch apple pie a la mode which is actually sourced from legendary Santa Fe restaurant-bakery Chocolate Maven. It’s a fantastic apple pie because the apples are allowed to be themselves. That means they’re a bit sour, not overly sweet.
27 May 2023: Perhaps even better is Dr. Field Goods Cajeta Caramel Sundae. Cajeta is a thick caramel sauce made with goat’s milk. It is similar in color and thickness to dulce de leche, but better. Cajeta has a deeply rich caramelized sweetness and a clear dairy flavor. From the goat’s milk, it has a very slight tang and a hint of grassy/earthiness. Don’t dare let that turn you off. Order the cajeta caramel sundae and you might never again order a chocolate sundae. It’s simply outstanding.
Dr. Field Goods was one of four Santa Fe finalists for the 2013 Nature’s Plate Award presented by The Nature Conservancy. That’s quite a testament to a restaurant which scant months earlier existed only as a food truck. With Chef Gerwin at the helm, expect big things from this fantastic and fun restaurant with seriously good food.
Dr. Field Goods Kitchen
2860 Cerrillos Road, Suite A1
Santa Fe, New Mexico
LATEST VISIT: 27 May 2023
1st VISIT: 13 October 2013
# OF VISITS: 2
BEST BET: Bread Pudding, Handmade Onion Rings, Chips with Three Dips, Goat Torta Sandwich, Breakfast Burrito, Roasted Vegetable Arancini, Cub, Cajeta Caramel Sundae, Dutch Apple Pie A La Mode, Rueben, Cubano,