BLADES’ BISTRO – Placitas, New Mexico

Blades’ Bistro in Placitas, New Mexico has one of the most beautiful patios around.

Ask three Placitans what they like best about living in Placitas and…
one will say it is being so far from everything, another, being so close to everything–and both will be right
.”
– The Placitas Chamber of Commerce

Chamber of Commerce not withstanding, the distance from Placitas to fabulous gourmet restaurants has spanned both great mileage and the healing passage of time for residents. When hungry, the mileage between Placitas and either Santa Fe or Albuquerque has seemed interminable. When fondly recalling a glorious meal within its doors, time has been the sole comforter for residents still missing their beloved Cafe De Las Placitas, a magnificent shooting star which faded away much too quickly but left an indelible afterglow. Most residents will agree the distance to fine restaurant dining is a small price to pay when you live in an idyllic haven back-dropped by the reddish Sandias and surrounded by panoramic views of hills dotted with dessert flora, weather-worn mesas and verdured mountains. Compared to its bustling, burgeoning, boisterous neighbors, Placitas is a serene harbor of refuge and respite.

Blades’ Bistro, which opened on March 19th, 2009, has greatly narrowed the distance to fine-dining for Placitas residents while rekindling fond memories of fabulous gourmet experiences at the long defunct Cafe De Las Placitas. For diners who frequent the former, comparisons to the latter will be inevitable–and they will be favorable. In fact, Blades’ Bistro has become a standard by which restaurant greatness is measured–not just in Placitas, but throughout northern New Mexico. It’s that good!

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The Bladergroens: Chef Kevin and Anja, the first lady of Placitas

The village of Placitas (in Spanish, literally “small places”) was formed by the San Antonio de las Huertas (Saint Anthony of the Gardens) Spanish land grant in 1745. While many descendants of the original land-grant families still reside in Placitas, it has in recent years blossomed as an affluent bedroom community for residents employed in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Fewer than a dozen non-realty businesses call Placitas home, most of them ensconced in the Homestead Village shopping center, home of Blades’ Bistro.

Within a week after Blades’ opened, an excited Bruce Schor, a long-time friend of this blog, shared the news of its launch with me. “My first impression was I’m not in Placitas any more,” he related. “It has a sophisticated ambiance, very big city feel and the food is terrific.” Bruce’s glowing descriptions of what he ate were the inspired impetus for our first visit. Ive since had the great fortune to have met Bruce and his aptly named better half Grayce at Blades. It remains one of their very favorite restaurants.

Chef Kevin maintains one of the cleanest kitchens anywhere

Had it not been for Bruce, we might have thought the name “Blades” had to do with Rio Rancho’s multiplex arena by that name expanding into Placitas and into the restaurant business. Apparently several people have made that mistaken assumption. Blades’ Bistro is actually named for brothers Michael and Kevin Bladergroen. Their name is Dutch, while their restaurant is a veritable melting pot of European and American culinary influences.

An exhibition kitchen is the domain in which Kevin Bladergroen plies his chef trade as he has now for three and a half decades. After years of opening, working in and managing the kitchens of several restaurants in Europe and America, he has set down roots in Placitas. No stranger to New Mexico, he started his professional career in 1975 at Casa Vieja, a Corrales institution. He has also worked at the Prairie Star and before partnering with his brother and wife Anja to launch Blades’ Bistro, was executive chef at the innovative Standard Diner. Anja runs the front of the house. She is as charming and gracious a hostess as there is in New Mexico, the true first lady of Placitas.

Happy patrons enjoying their dinner on the patio in a mid-August day 2013
Happy patrons enjoying their dinner on the patio in a mid-August day 2013

Chef Bladergroen is classically trained, having attended the prestigious “La Varenne” cooking school in Paris. His curriculum vitae also includes a unique professional odyssey by motor home. To broaden his culinary edification, he and Anja traveled across the country to work in several restaurants with chefs he admired. The journey included stops at a small coastal resort town in Maine; Aspen, Colorado, the glitzy playground for the rich and famous; and Pebble Beach, California, home of the national pro-am, one of golf’s most important events.

Chef Bladergroen’s menu is a culmination of his vast culinary training and experience. His cooking philosophy centers around using high quality ingredients to create a “melting pot of taste” with an innovative yet surprisingly unpretentious and simple menu influenced by the European and American culinary cultures from which he learned. Some facets–moderately priced culinary fare and pleasant service–of Blades’ are true to the Parisian bistro concept, however, it could be debated that the setting is not exactly casual. It’s very well appointed and stylish, certainly more upscale than your typical bistro (albeit without being overweening). It’s a restaurant in which you’ll feel right at home and have fun while being inspired to be on your best behavior.

Most of the diners on a beautiful Sunday morning were enjoying brunch on the patio instead of in the dining room.

Although the bistro doesn’t have a formal “chef’s table” per se, you can still feel like like a VIP by sitting in an area directly adjacent to the exhibition kitchen. Only a plexiglass sneeze guard and an extended countertop separate you from the kitchen. You’ll be close enough to converse with the chef, an amicable gentleman with a quick wit. Chef Bladergroen is very well organized and purposeful in every motion. He is a treat to watch.

As enlightening and inspiring as sitting in close proximity to the kitchen might be, even better are the intoxicating aromas emanating from the panoply of pots and pans perpetually sitting atop high flames. Watching every appetizer and entree in every phase of its preparation, unfortunately doesn’t make it any easier to decide what you want to eat. Everything looks and smells absolutely fabulous. My advice–let the chef pick something for you. Don’t even let him tell you what it is so you can be surprised when it arrives at your table. That’s what I’m happy to have done.

Baked Mushrooms (escargot style) / white wine, garlic herb butter, fresh parmesan
Baked Mushrooms (escargot style) / white wine, garlic herb butter, fresh parmesan

Appetizers

31 March 2009: Blades’ array of appetizers is impressive, but not because of sheer numbers. Including daily specials there are only about a half dozen appetizers available, but if our inaugural choices are any indication, they are of four-star quality. Fans of fleshy and fabulous fungi will fawn over baked mushrooms served escargot style. Blanketed by a light, flaky puff pastry, rich, mellow mushrooms are baked in a light white wine broth with garlic herb butter and parmesan. Mushrooms, it turns out, are the ideal vehicle for soaking up all the buttery goodness (which even Gourmet magazine believes is the best best part of escargot).

It’s not easy to sop up any remaining broth with the hard-crusted crostini which accompanies the mushroom dish, but the crostini is lightly toasted and provides a nice counterpoint to the starring attraction’s richness. As do several of the best fine dining restaurants in the Duke City area, Blades’ Bistro acquires its staff of life offerings from Albuquerque’s Fano Bakery which specializes in artisan-style rustic and specialty breads. Characteristics of baguettes from Fano, a hard-crust complements a soft, airy texture on other breads served during meals at Blades’.

Roasted Fresh Beets

21 August 2016: Beauteous, blood-red beets and gorgeous golden beets roasted so they retain a soft inside and a firm exterior are the center point of a second appetizer, roasted red beets with toasted goat cheese and a Balsamic glaze drizzle on a bed of Arugula and Radicchio. The fresh red beets are moist and tangy, a flavor complement to the smooth, creamy texture and mild flavor of the goat cheese and both are a perfect counterbalance to the savory salt and pepper flavors of the Arugula and Radicchio salad. The golden beets, grown locally, are not quite as earthy as their red siblings, but have a comparatively mellow quality and maybe a tad more sweetness. Beets are unique for their high levels of anti-carcinogens and their very high carotenoid content. It’s also heartening that they’re so delicious especially at the hands of a skilled chef.

Caprese Salad
Caprese Salad

16 August 2013: Before even having a real opportunity to peruse the menu, Anja walked by and whispered two words “Caprese salad.” That was good enough for us. Chef Kevin’s takes some liberties with the traditional Caprese salad. As made in the Isle of Capri, this simple salad is made of sliced fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and basil, seasoned with salt, and olive oil. Blades’ rendition replaces tomatoes with fresh, sliced peaches and adds mint, an edible flower and a drizzle of Balsamic vinegar to the plate. Vive la difference! This is one lively salad with invigorating greens complementing the fresh, sweet-tangy peaches. The creamy mozzarella is the perfect foil, tempering all the bold flavors with its subtle qualities.

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Cajun style fried oysters with Remoulade sauce

16 August 2013: Hearing that one of the specials of the night was Cajun style oysters led to some trepidation. Oysters, after all, have one of nature’s most unique flavors (albeit one that doesn’t appeal to all diners). A heavy hand with Cajun seasoning–or worse, blackening techniques–could bring ruin to those flavors. Thankfully Chef Kevin knows oysters are to be treated with utmost subtlety and delicateness. The oysters are lightly seasoned which allows their natural brininess to shine. The zingy, but certainly not overwhelming, Cajun personality comes from the accompanying Remoulade sauce. During our visit, the oysters shared the plate with a cold, peanuty noodle salad, likely Thai inspired.

Entrees

Veal Sweetbreads: pan-seared with apples and finished with Calvados Brandy Sauce

23 February 2012: There are entrees a plenty for landlubbers, too, including some not attempted by other restaurants in the Duke City area. The seasonal menu for winter 2012 included two such rarities, veal sweetbreads and rabbit (if Anja has her way, these two stick around longer, especially the rabbit, her absolute favorite). Sweetbreads are one of those words which demonstrate English is a crazy language. They’re neither sweet nor bread. They’re in the offal (animal entrails and internal organs) family, though many would spell it “awful.” They’re also an acquired taste and one of the most misunderstood entrees–being mistaken for everything from bull’s testicles to liver–on any restaurant’s menu. Sweetbreads come from two organs–the thymus (sometimes called the throat sweetbread) and the pancreas (sometimes called the stomach sweetbread). Of all offal meat, sweetbreads are the most prized thanks to their mild flavor and color and their velvety, rich texture. Veal sweetbreads are the most popular.

My friend Larry McGoldrick, the professor with the perspicacious palate, is a sweetbread savant, enjoying them so much he once had them every other week for six straight months at Chicago’s La Grenouille. When he compared Blades’ version to the one he enjoyed so much in the Windy City, I knew I had to try them, gout be damned (purine rich sweetbreads top the list of things gout sufferers should avoid). What’s a little joint pain and threat of kidney stones compared to the decadent deliciousness of great sweetbreads. Blades’ sweetbreads are outstanding–pan-seared, fork-tender veal sweetbreads in a rich, creamy Calvados brandy sauce perfumed ever so slightly with sweet, delicate apples. Texturally they’re absolutely perfect and flavor-wise, they’re incomparable. The sweetbreads are served with mashed potatoes and a salad of julienned carrots and red cabbage, a good counterpoint to the richness of the sweetbreads.

Rib Eye Steak with Cremini Mushroom Demiglace

23 February 2012: Another entree any carnivorous landlubber will lust after is a ten- to twelve-ounce rib eye steak which can be prepared with either a green chile or a crimini mushroom demiglace. The steak is prepared to your exacting specifications and arrives at your table surrounded by a rich, glossy pool of pure deliciousness. Unadorned it’s an excellent steak. The crimini mushroom demiglace with its discernible red wine influence elevates it to another level. Served with asparagus spears and one grilled tomato, it’s a terrific entree.

Green Chile Cheeseburger
Green Chile Cheeseburger

9 August 2013: You’re also well advised to heed any culinary recommendation from Bruce Schor, a bon vivant who rates Blades’ Rustique Bistro green chile cheeseburger as among the very best he’s had in the Land of Enchantment. What distinguishes this burger from so many others is the Angus reserved beef from which it’s made. Angus reserve beef is consistently tender, juicy and rich with flavor. With the Bistro burger, you might swear you’re eating a fine steak nestled between a hardy Brioche bun. The green chile, splayed generously beneath melted Cheddar, is of medium piquancy with a nice roasted flavor. If you top the burger with the red onions, ripe tomatoes and lettuce provided, you’ll have to open wide to bite down. The beef itself is easily eight to ten ounces. It’s a very thick slab of beefy deliciousness, extending slightly beyond the bun. If burgers are truly about beef, this is one burger which emphasizes beef. It’s an outstanding burger, now in my hallowed list of New Mexico’s best burgers.

Steak Frites
Steak Frites

9 August 2013: My Chicago born-and-bred Kim, raised on a typical 1960s Midwest meat-and-potatoes diet, has consistently found much better steak at Blades’ Bistro than at any Duke City steakhouse. She’ll also tell you that Blades’ prepares a better steak frites entry than any French restaurant in Albuquerque. The steak is a grilled New York strip topped with herbed butter and served with French fries which don’t have that all-too-famiiar and insipid out-of-a-bag taste. The steak is prepared to your exacting specifications and is an exemplar of beefy perfection at just under medium. The herbed butter pools with the juices of the steak to form an addictive flavor combination. The fries are crispy on the outside and soft and tender on the inside with just the right amount of salt. This is a classic French meat and potatoes entree no one does better than Chef Kevin.

London Steak: Pan-seared top round filet topped with bleu cheese and port wine demi sauce.
London Steak with scalloped potatoes and roasted vegetables

16 August 2013: Just when my Kim thinks she’s had the very best steak on Blades’ menu, Chef Kevin introduces another, even more delectable slab of perfectly prepared steak. Called a London Steak, it is indeed reminiscent of the steaks we enjoyed so much at The Mermaid in picturesque Burford, England. The London steak is a pan-seared top round filet topped with bleu cheese and a port wine demi sauce. Because top round is one of the most lean cuts of beef you can find and has very little fat, it’s a perfect vehicle for demi sauces or Bourguignon. The Blades’ cut is topped with a port demi sauce as well as a pungent, sharp bleu cheese. The sauce is thick and it is magnificent with sweet and beef stock elements. With nary a hint of fat or sinew, this steak somehow manages to be tender and moist even without the sauce.

Roasted Prime Rib Served with Au Jus and Horseradish sauce
Roasted Prime Rib

24 January 2014: One of the most popular of “cold weather dishes” on the Blades’ menu is roasted prime rib served with au jus and horseradish sauce. The prime rib, as with all meats we’ve enjoyed at Blades’ is outstanding: rosy colored and bursting with copious juices flowing at medium rare, devoid of excess fat though nicely marbled and with a nice concentration of deep fresh-roasted flavors. At about twelve ounces it’s “right-sized” slab of beauteous beef, one of the very best we’ve had in New Mexico. The prime rib is served with garlicky mashed potatoes, sauteed vegetables and a sweet, tart and sour red German cabbage as good as you’ll find at any German restaurant.

Entrees: Seafood

Shrimp Melanaise
Shrimp Melanaise

31 March 2009: The entree chef Bladergroen prepared for me during our inaugural visit is a dish he started preparing while serving as chef in a Fort Pierce, Florida restaurant overlooking an Atlantic waterfront. It’s Shrimp Milanaise, an entree named for the Italian city of Milan. For the most part I’ve equated breaded shrimp with disdained restaurant chains that tend to serve them in all-you-can-choke-down quantities. I had also assumed initially that the breading would be similar to the breading used on steak Milanesa, a Mexican favorite. Blades’ Bistro has forever changed those conceptions.

The breading is light and very well seasoned, adhering like a second skin to the perfectly prepared, sweet and succulent shrimp without dominating their native sea born flavors. Appropriately–being this entree is prepared by a chef of Dutch heritage–the shrimp are served with dollops of smooth and creamy Hollandaise sauce which imparts a rich, buttery flavor with a mild tang. Also served with the dish are rice and carrots, green beans and fennel served al dente. There are only two things wrong with the entree: it doesn’t come with a dozen or more of the crusty crustaceans and it’s not on the daily menu.

 Con Frutti de Mar -- (The Fruit of the sea) Shrimp-Scallops-Lobster with white wine garlic cream sauce over linguini
Con Frutti de Mar

31 March 2009: Seafood lovers in land-locked New Mexico have rarely had the quality of succulent shellfish and mollusks available in one dish–Blades’ Bistro’s Con Frutti de Mar, literally fruit of the sea. This entree features shrimp, scallops and lobster with a white wine garlic sauce over linguini. It’s an inspired entree in which the richness of the sauce is a concordant marriage for the sweetness of the seafood. It will not only sate your lust for protein and carbs, it may leaving you swooning in appreciation. In its annual food and wine issue for 2011, Albuquerque The Magazine awarded the Frutti de Mar entree a “Hot Plate Award” as the hot entree Albuquerque diners can’t do without.

Black Cod with a Miso Glaze and Assorted Vegetables
Black Cod with a Miso Glaze and Assorted Vegetables

9 August 2013: When Anja recommends a dish, you’re well advised to heed her advice especially when it’s the special of the night. Special often means spectacular at Blades’ Bistro. Such was the case when the featured special was the black cod with a miso glaze. It’s an amazing dish Chef Kevin was taught to prepare by restaurant impresario and celebrity chef Roy Yamaguchi, founder of Hawaiian fusion cuisine. Black cod, also known as “sablefish” is a delicate, flaky fish with a rich, buttery flavor and silky sweet and rich overtones. The miso glaze lends a savory-sweet element that pairs magnificently with the fish. It’s one of the very best fish entrees I’ve had in New Mexico, a luscious dish which will make grown men swoon in appreciation. Though I wasn’t bright enough to heed Anja’s recommendation, cousin Susie did and she was nice enough to share her bounty.

16 August 2013: Just how good is the black cod with a miso glaze? It’s good enough to inspire a return visit one week later and this time, I had all six ounces of deliciousness all too myself. It was just as wonderful the second time around. This superb entree made my “best of the best for 2013,” a tribute to the very best dishes I had the pleasure of consuming during the year. I also paid much more attention to the sides: scalloped potatoes and roasted vegetables (carrots, asparagus, zucchini, beets and a single tomato. All were prepared to perfection. The scalloped potatoes had the right blend of cheese and creaminess to appeal to diners of all ages.

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Sole Meunière

24 January 2014: The mark of a truly outstanding chef is often the ability to take what outwardly appears to be a simple dish and execute it perfectly. At its bare essence, Sole Meunière is simply sole dredged in flour, prepared in a hot skillet then doused with a pan sauce of butter, lemon and parsley. Though this dish has relatively few ingredients, it’s a daunting dish to prepare because any mistakes or flavor imbalances are glaring. Whether from years of practice or deft skill, Chef Bladergroen prepares this dish perfectly. The pan-fried sole is imbued with a very light golden blond crust. A press of a fork reveals sweet, creamy meat. The sauce is rich: a revelation in nutty butter, fragrant parsley and the tartness of lemon, all in perfect proportion.

Dover Sole En Papillote
Dover Sole En Papillote

24 January 2014: Yet another way in which Blades’ showcases sole, a flat fish member of the extended flounder family, is as Dover Sole En Papillote, a classic marriage of British and French cuisine. “En Papillote” is a method of baking fish within sealed parchment paper which creates a self contained mini “oven” in which the flavors blend and infuse the dish. Because the parchment paper is porous, it allows steam to escape so the fish is baked rather than steamed. The British contribution to this dish is the Dover sole itself. Found in the waters below the Cliffs of Dover, this sole is sometimes considered the “Porterhouse of fish” and is one of the most delicious fish, cherished and beloved by gourmets who love fish. Chef Bladergroen’s rendition of Dover Sole is as good as we remember the Dover Sole we enjoyed in England.

Soups

French Onion Soup

23 February 2012: The only sane reason for which you should forgo an appetizer is if you’re going to luxuriate in one of the chef’s wondrous soups. The French onion soup is among the most aesthetically appealing and delicious of its genre in New Mexico. Served in a traditional two-tone soup crock, it arrives at your table steaming hot with the cheese brown and bubbling over the top of the crock. The aroma of onions is intoxicating and the broth is thicker than most French onion soups. The onions are cut larger, too, imparting the wonderful sweet flavor of perfectly prepared onions. You’ll risk the molten cheese and sacrifice the roof of your mouth to dig into this soup right away.

Clam Chowder

23 February 2012: Ask any New England transplant to New Mexico what soup they miss most and invariably the answer will be clam chowder (chowdah to Bob of the Village People), the thick, hearty, soul-warming favorite of folks from Maine to Connecticut. Expats will also lament the absence of good clam chowder in the Land of Enchantment. Blades’ rendition is the best we’ve had since vacationing in Massachusetts in 2009. It’s creamy and thick, but not overly so. The potatoes are perfectly prepared and the clams are plentiful –a nice ratio of potatoes to clams. Best, they were neither tough nor chewy. It would have been interesting to see Chef Bladergroen attempt oyster crackers.

Borscht, one of several soups on the winter soup rotation

06 February 2011: If the soup du jour gracing the menu is Borscht, contemplate the rest of the starters menu no further (unless it’s to have Borscht and another starter). The Borscht, one of several soups on the chef’s winter soup rotation, is excellent. Deep reddish-purple in color courtesy of beetroot, it is redolent with tomato, potatoes, beef, sour cream, garlic and dill. Borscht, a veritable culinary treasure in Eastern and Central Europe, is one of those dishes for which there is no one universal recipe. Cultural differences (Russian, Jewish, Ukrainian, etc.) account for variations in ingredients and preparation. There are also seasonal variations that include serving it as a cold soup or a hot soup. Blades’ version is served steaming hot and it’s terrific!

Tortilla Soup
Tortilla Soup

24 January 2014: In January, 2014, Blades Bistro debuted the soup it would enter in the Roadrunner Food Bank’s annual Souper Bowl. It’s called a tortilla soup, but it’s much more complex than its simple name would imply. Among its components are red chili (sic), roasted corn, avocado and melted shredded cheese, all seasoned with rosemary, oregano, nutmeg, cinnamon and more. Its diversity of ingredients imbue it with a very interesting and delicious flavor profile. If you enjoy the adventure of ingredient discernment, this is a soup you will love.

Brunch

In 2010, Blades’ Bistro began serving brunch on Sundays from 10AM through 2PM. Brunch is the best of two worlds–not quite breakfast and not quite lunch, but the very best of both. It’s a leisurely weekend repast which makes you feel you’re getting away with something, almost as if you’re defying your mom’s mandate not to have dessert before your main entree. Brunch in Placitas has the additional feel of going out-of-town, away from the maddening traffic and crowds to a more sedate and tranquil paced haven.

21 August 2016: Had Normal Rockwell visited Placitas on a leisurely late summer Sunday morning for brunch at Blades’, he might have been inspired to paint the event. Thematically his portfolio of small-town American scenes for The Saturday Evening Post often depicted happy events shared by friends and neighbors. That’s precisely what brunch at Blades’ is. No sooner had we stepped into the outdoor patio than we ran into our friend Bruce Schor and his affectionate four-legged child Chloe who were finishing a splendid repast. We lost ourselves in conversation for nearly an hour, our visit punctuated occasionally by dog lovers stopping to greet Chloe. Almost everywhere else the waitstaff might rushed us, but Blades’ isn’t like other restaurants. It’s a second home for residents of Placitas and a welcoming milieu from visitors like us.

Fettuccini alla Carbonara

06 February 2011: Perhaps the most sinfully rich brunch entree (on a menu which includes a Croque Monsieur made with Gruyere cheese topped with a cheese bechamel sauce) is the Fettuccini alla Carbonara, pasta tossed with cream, eggs, bacon and Parmesan. This version is more cheesy than it is creamy and it’s thicker (though not clumpy and sticky) than some Carbonara dishes. Carbonara, an Italian pasta dish with its genesis in Rome, is best made with al dente pasta and while Blades’ rendition is certainly not al dente, it’s so good and so rich you won’t–you can’t–stop eating it. Besides that, every spoonful includes bacon and you can’t go wrong with that. This dish is so rich, it should be served with a side of angioplasty.

Mongolian Ribs with Sweet Potato Fries and Coleslaw

6 February 2011: During our inaugural brunch visit, we lucked upon a special-of-the-day offering called Mongolian Ribs, a veritable tower of meaty ribs glazed with a ginger-sesame sauce. The plating of the ribs is tower-like, indeed. At least six ribs are stacked atop one another, buttressed by a mound of coleslaw and a phalanx of sweet potato fries. The ginger-sesame sauce is practically shellacked onto the ribs, but if that description leaves you dubious based on similarly described Chinese rib dishes, fear not. Unlike some Chinese ribs, these are not candied meat lollipops. The ginger-sesame sauce complements the beef ribs; it does not overwhelm them. Did I mention these ribs are meaty? Though they’re not quite Flintstonian in size, they will appease any a carnivore. The accompanying coleslaw is tangy and delicious, made with Fuji apples and julienne carrots on a bed of greens.

Tenderloin Sate with Thai Peanut Sauce

21 August 2016: Perhaps stemming from time immemorial when meats were first prepared over a flame, human beings seem genetically predisposed to enjoy meat on a stick. Whether it be shish kabobs from the Middle East, barbecue skewers from Texas or satay from Southeast Asia, we love the primal feeling of gnawing meats right off the stick before slowly, carefully extricating the meat from its host. Some of the Duke City’s best skewers of meat can be found in Thai restaurants where satay, a popular street food meat “Popsicle” is served, typically with a peanut sauce. With apologies to so many Thai restaurants we love, Chef Kevin’s beef sate (skewered and grilled beef tenderloin topped with an Indonesian peanut sauce served with an Asian salad) is better than your satay. The main reason is the superior cut of meat he uses—a perfectly grilled beef tenderloin that tastes like a premium steak. Then there’s the peanut sauce which doesn’t have the cloying, almost peanut-candy-like flavor of peanut sauce at some Thai restaurants. You’d have to beat me with a stick to make me loosen my grip on the three meat stick skewers.

Biscuits

21 August 2016: American poet Carl Sandburg defined poetry as “the synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits,” two of life’s enduring passions. The purplish bloom of the Russian sage encircling Blades’ patio reminded us of hyacinths, so to complete the synthesis we had to order biscuits. Served with high-quality marmalade (orange and strawberry), the biscuits are dense yet delicate, light but not flaky. They’re also as delicious as biscuits can be made, particularly if you slather on the marmalade. With biscuits this good, we’re inspired to try Blades’ version of biscuits and gravy during an upcoming brunch visit.

Cajun Grits

21 August 2016: In the late 1970s, a television sitcom named Alice introduced the catchphrase “kiss my grits” into the American vernacular. From the moment the catchphrase was first uttered by Flo, a man-hungry Southern belle who worked at a roadside diner in a Phoenix diner, it garnered widespread popularity. We weren’t at all happy to kiss grits good bye when we left Mississippi in 1995, figuring we’d never again enjoy a transformative version of this Deep South staple. Two decades later, it seems almost heretical to declare that the three best grits dishes we’ve ever enjoyed have been in New Mexico, served in chronological order–from earliest to most recent–at The Hollar in Madrid, The Point Grill in Rio Rancho and Blades’ Bistro in Placitas. The Cajun Style Shrimp and Grits (sautéed shrimp with a zesty Cajun sauce, green onions, red pepper and bacon served over creamy cheese grits) are the best of the best. It’s the version you’d serve to someone who’s never had grits or even better, to someone who’s never had good grits. These are great grits, a mélange of flavors and textures that play off one another like a well-tuned orchestra.

Bacon, Green Chile and Cheddar Quiche

21 August 2016: If real men don’t eat quiche (a best-selling book published in 1982 satirizing masculine stereotypes), it’s a sad indictment of my gender. Quiche, after all, is made from ingredients men love—things such as cheese, meat and seafood. Those manly ingredients are added to a custard made from eggs and milk then poured into a pie crust (something else we love). Blades’ brunch menu features a quiche of the day, but if you’re not careful the quiche du jour may have sold out. Such was the case during our August, 2016 visit. Because the salmon and goat cheese quiche had sold out quickly, we “settled” (a poor word choice) for a quiche filled with Cheddar, green chile and bacon, a tasty (and manly) triumvirate if ever there was one. We made quick work of the quiche, relishing every bite. The quiche is served with fruit and some of the best roasted potatoes you’ll find anywhere. If you’re of the XY-chromosome persuasion and refuse to order quiche because of some tongue-in-cheek 1980s book, ask your wife to order it, but by any means just make sure Blades’ fabulous quiche graces your table.

Desserts

31 March 2009: What many will love most is dessert and Blades’ Bistro doesn’t disappoint here either. An outstanding option sure to please one and all is the tiramisu. Blades’ rendition is served in a large goblet but the cake’s component parts are certainly present: ladyfinger biscuits dipped in espresso layered in a whipped mixture of mascarpone, sugar, egg yolks topped with cocoa. The distinct addition of a liqueur is also discernible. It is a phenomenal dessert and that’s selling it short. Along with the incomparable offering at Torinos @ Home, this rendition is at the top of my list of my very favorite tiramisu desserts in New Mexico, a Tuscan treat so good I’d eschew my other favorite (if it was on the menu) dessert–bread pudding.

Tiramisu
Tiramisu

17 December 2011: In the June, 2010 edition of New Mexico Magazine celebrating “New Mexico’s Best Eats,” a three person panel of culinary experts of which I was a part, selected as the Land of Enchantment’s best uptown dessert, the red chile soup at La Casa Sena. Studded with Chimayo chile that enlivens the chocolate, it is one of my favorite desserts. In the Chocolate Chili Pot, Blades’ Bistro may have one-upped La Casa Sena. The chocolate chili (sic) pot is a ramekin brimming with dark chocolate pots du creme with toasted Chimayo chili. Its consistency is reminiscent of a very thick frosting served cold, but it certainly doesn’t taste like the topping for a cake. The adult chocolate is made even more flavorful with the infusion of Chimayo chile (better, by the way, than Hatch chile). It’s topped with whipped cream studded with blueberries.

Chocolate Chili Pot: Dark chocolate Pots du Creme with toasted Chimayo chili

23 February 2012: Even in winter, savvy restaurateurs will serve cold dishes, perhaps figuring that frozen desserts are good any time of year. That’s certainly the case with Blades’ trio of sorbets, a refreshing, teeth-chattering bowl of flavor explosions. This housemade triumvirate is as good a chilly dessert as there is in the Land of Enchantment. As with all excellent sorbets, each truly captures the essence of the flavors they represent. The pear sorbet tastes like fresh-picked pears (only served ice cold). The pineapple-mint sorbet blends two distinctive flavors into a composite of what’s good about both. The blackberry-cantaloupe sorbet is similarly fruity and delicious.

A trio of Sorbet: Pineapple-Mint, Blackberry-Cantaloupe and Pear

23 February 2012: Besides sweetbreads, another addiction my friend Larry McGoldrick and I share is for bread pudding. It’s our catnip and kryptonite–practically bringing us to our knees in gratitude to the bread pudding gods when it’s made right. Blades’ bread pudding made Larry’s Bread Pudding Hall of Fame, an indication of its rarefied greatness. It’s at or near the top of my list, too. Unlike the soggy, custard-like bread pudding that relies on cloying sauces for flavor, this is a firm yet spongy bread pudding with a texture that’s absolutely spot-on. In terms of taste, it’s an eye-opener with the pronounced flavor of banana and rum, the latter cutting the sweetness of the former. It’s a winning combination.

Banana Rum Bread Pudding

9 August 2013: There’s only one thing wrong with the dessert menu at Blades’ It’s that every single dessert item with which you fall in love doesn’t always grace the menu. Desserts, as with entrees and appetizers, rotate with seasonal regularity. Perhaps the most perfect of summer sweets is Key Lime Pie, the official state pie of the state of Florida. The key lime pie at Blades is terrific with a pronounced key lime flavor (key lime juice, by the way, is yellow not green the way faux key lime pies are presented) tempered with sweetened condensed milk and egg yolks. Kenney Chesney once sang about the perfect key lime pie, describing it as “not too tart, not too sweet.” That’s the perfect description for the key lime pie at Blades’ Bistro.

Key Lime Pie with Graham Cracker-Coconut Crust
Key Lime Pie with Graham Cracker-Coconut Crust

16 August 2013:Could there possibly be a more appropriate name for a triumvirate of chocolate decadence than chocolate decadence trio? It’s a no brainer. If you’re a bonafide chocoholic, having this dessert is also a no brainer. Quite simply, it lives up to its name. The chili (SIC) lime chocolate pot’s du creme has the type of heat which hits the back of your throat coupled with the rich, adult chocolate to generate an endorphin rush. A sole peanut butter truffle, the coupling of two great tastes (chocolate and peanut butter) that taste great together will have you wishing for a bowlful. The flourless chocolate torte with strikes of raspberry sauce is dense and intensely flavored with adult chocolate notes. This is the type of chocolate dessert that provides the same “high” as falling in love. You’ll certainly fall in love with this dessert

Chocolate Decadence Trio: Chili Lime Chocolate Pot's du Creme, Peanut Butter Truffle and Flourless Chocolate Torte
Chocolate Decadence Trio

24 January 2014: Blades certainly knows how to capture my heart, offering a bread pudding du jour that proves the diversity and deliciousness of my favorite dessert, even managing to make a great bread pudding out of an ingredient I don’t like. That ingredient is white chocolate (which is technically not chocolate at all even though it contains cocoa butter), perhaps the only item bearing the name “chocolate” I don’t like. Blades’ white chocolate and macadamia bread pudding topped with a housemade brandy sauce is so good, it might even make Larry McGoldrick’s Bread Pudding Hall of Fame. The macadamia nuts cut the sweetness and richness of the white chocolate while the housemade brandy sauce lends its own richness. Make sure you order this bread pudding a la mode because the housemade ice cream is rich and delicious.

White Chocolate Macadamia Bread Pudding with Vanilla Ice Cream
White Chocolate Macadamia Bread Pudding with Vanilla Ice Cream

21 August 2016: Just when you think salted caramel has run its course, you find a dish that reels you back in and reminds you why salted caramel became a culinary obsession in 2008. Though there’s virtually no surcease to the number and type of desserts which can be transformed from merely good to addictively delicious with the addition of salted caramel, it just seems sweet caramel seasoned with fancy salt has been tried on everything. As a result, some of us have started to take it for granted. That’s where we were until our first spoonful of the salted caramel cheesecake at Blades’. In optimal proportions of each flavor profile, the salty-sweet combination is a perfect counterbalance to the a light, creamy cheesecake. It was so good, it justified my decision to forego bread pudding.

Salted Caramel Cheesecake

21 August 2016: Anja is justifiably proud of the verdant flowers and dense shrubbery which grace the patio. Some, such as the Lavender de Provence and Rosemary have more than esthetic value and are actually used in the kitchen by the superbly talented Chef Kevin. The pairing of Rosemary with its highly aromatic-peppery-woodsy flavor notes and watermelon with its sweet, most flavor was our favorite of three wonderful sorbets, but it was close. The cucumber-lime marriage is no mere Miss Congeniality. It’s a superb pairing of flavors who share little more than a shade of green, but which combine magnificently. The third in a tasty triumvirate was blood orange, always a palate pleaser. Computer dating services should be as good at match-making as Blades’ is at pairing flavor combinations.

Sorbet Trio: Cucumber Lime, Rosemary Watermelon, Blood Orange

Placitas has become a dining destination frequented not only by local loyalists, but by diners from throughout the state and beyond. In 2011, Blades’ Bistro was selected by readers of Local IQ as the Duke City area’s best romantic restaurant, best fine-dining restaurant and for having the area’s best bartender. The operative term here is “best,” a term that has become synonymous with this stand-out restaurant and with its superbly talented chef and of course, the first lady of Placitas.

BLADES’ BISTRO
221 Highway 165 Suite L
Placitas, New Mexico
505) 771-0695
Web Site | Facebook Page
LATEST VISIT: 21 August 2016
1st VISIT: 31 March 2009
# OF VISITS:7
RATING: 25

COST: $$$ – $$$$
BEST BET: Baked Mushrooms (escargot style), Roasted Fresh Beets with toasted Goat Cheese @ Balsamic Glace Drizzle, Con Frutti de Mar, Shrimp Melanaise, Tiramisu, Trio of Sorbets, Chocolate Chili Pot, Mongolian Ribs, Borscht, Fettuccinni alla Carbonara, Banana Rum Bread Pudding, Veal Sweetbreads, Rib Eye with Mushroom Demiglace, Steak Frites, Green Chile Cheeseburger, Black Cod with Miso Glaze, Key Lime Pie, London Steak, Chocolate Decadence Trio, White Chocolate Macadamia Bread Pudding, Roasted Prime Rib, Sole Meunière, Dover Sole En Papillote, Tortilla Soup, Dutch Style Mussels, Cajun Grits, Quiche, Salted Caramel Cheesecake, Biscuits

Blades' Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

About Gil Garduno

Since 2008, the tagline on Gil’s Thrilling (And Filling) Blog has invited you to “Follow the Culinary Ruminations of New Mexico’s Sesquipedalian Sybarite.” To date, nearly 1 million visitors have trusted (or at least visited) my recommendations on nearly 1,100 restaurant reviews. Please take a few minutes to tell me what you think. Whether you agree or disagree with me, I'd love to hear about it.

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57 Comments on “BLADES’ BISTRO – Placitas, New Mexico”

  1. My wife and I went to Blade’s Bistro for the Beef Wellington And got a bonus, Bob of Village fame and the Millingtons, Jim and Janet. Always a pleasure to see all of them. Good food, drink and likeminded folks who share a fondness for all three (I’m not sure if anyone else shares my fondness for gin).
    As an aside, while sitting at the Chef’s counter, I told Chef Kevin that 3 prolific commenters on “Gil’s Thrilling and…….” we’re in the house and 2 of them had pencils and notepads. I think he was more than prepared for the challenge.

  2. An added bonus to dining at Blade’s is in taking the short drive up to Placitas which always gives the feeling of escaping off from citification and especially if you take St.Rd. 313 (Old Camino Real/Rte. 66 (pre 1937)) through Sandia. In any event, went to have one of my FAVs, the Beef Wellington (one of this weekend’s Specials) this time with an enjoyable veal demi sauce. As such, and while my mouth watered for the French Onion, I pre-committed to having the Grilled Artichoke per having also noted it being a Special in Anja’s heads-up email that is now geared to come on Thursdays. Lest you missed signing up: http://www.bladesbistro.com/join.htm. Anyway, while delightfully scraping the tads of ‘meat’ off the leaves after dipping in drawn butter or Kevin’s additional choice of Baby Shrimp Vinaigrette as well, I got to be enchanted, never having seen it before, the captivating, inner artistry of The Artichoke, e.g. http://tinyurl.com/mf5v44t…Thank God or Gawd or NoOne for having lived a few extra years! Pardon my naivete, but I’ve never split an artichoke vertically, but got to the yummy heart by a more horizontal method.
    (Oh and BTW, if you wake up in the middle of the night and have a yen to make a reservation, Just Do It: http://www.opentable.com )
    – Aaargh geez…quite unintended, this turned into an impromptu meeting of The FOG, albeit per separated seating, with El Brute (aka FGFABQ) and then The Millington showing up on the scene. Alas, as I drove off into the sunset, I was left to but wonder like this guy http://giphy.com/gifs/14ly09mcxcU4NO how did those two luck-out with the Ageless Lady Grayce and Child Bride in their lives!? Lo, I still wonder as I write http://tinyurl.com/lkhnxys !!

  3. Ya know, a reason to have a subscription to the Albuquerque Journal is an article such as this which I’m sure Gil and FGFABQ/El Brute would give a Thumbs Up about in print or online with a subscription. (I might add, that “back-in-the-day” Kevin was a reason why Corrales was The Spot for Fine Dining in ABQ, given he “cooked” at the venerable Casa Vieja!)

    Lacking a subscription, Denise Miller (Albuquerque Journal (B4) 5/13/15 tells us:
    One intriguing way to think about the food you will be served at a restaurant is to consider what comes in through the back door.
    At Blades’ Bistro in Placitas, that’s where the action is, especially during the growing season when owner/chef Kevin Bladergroen is frequently opening it for his local farmer who lives just down the road.

    When Bladergroen and his wife, Anja, opened in March 2009, they knew they wanted to create a European-style bistro.

    Kevin Bladergroen prepares a kale salad at Blades’, which emphasizes an open kitchen and dining room. “They can see their food being prepared from beginning to end,” he explains. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)
    Kevin Bladergroen prepares a kale salad at Blades’, which emphasizes an open kitchen and dining room. “They can see their food being prepared from beginning to end,” he explains. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)
    “True European style is elegant, simple, creative, honest, fresh and price-friendly,” explains Anja. “It should have dark wood tables; good chairs, silverware and glasses; and be a place that gets a bit noisy with people enjoying fresh food, wine and conversation.”

    The Bladergroens should know. Kevin, who trained at the acclaimed La Varenne in Paris with Anne Willan, cooked around Europe before he met Anja, who is Dutch, in the Netherlands. Between Kevin’s 40 years of cooking experience, and Anja’s extensive front-of-house and wine expertise, they knew the exact type of atmosphere they wanted to create at Blades’. This is the first restaurant either of them has owned.

    The cozy dining room welcomes you, and the classic bistro menu has European staples such as chicken livers, stewed cassoulet, beef bourguignon and paella.

    Served alongside or cooked with every cut of meat, chicken or fish are fresh vegetables, of course, and that is where the local farmer at the back door comes in (literally).

    Huertas Canyon

    Nancy Kellum-Rose and Scott Deuel of Huertas Canyon Farm live just down the road from Blades’ in Placitas. Anja says that one day early on Nancy came to the restaurant and starting giving them vegetables. She told them she and her husband had relocated from Chicago and planned to start farming on their six acres.

    “At first it is was just a few squash and some beans, but now (Huertas Canyon) provides us with almost everything – greens, squash, tri-colored carrots, tri-colored beans, onions, okra, leeks, beets, shishito peppers, herbs and more,” says Anja.

    “Kevin just tells Nancy his shopping list and she appears at the back door. It’s very simple, and fresh, fresh, fresh.”

    While delivery logistics and the cost of locally grown produce can be challenging for many restaurants, the Bladergroens don’t have these obstacles.

    Not only does Huertas Canyon Farm deliver, but also payment comes in the form of barter; the husband and wife farming team dine regularly at Blades’ in exchange for the fresh produce they grow.

    Early on, Nancy Kellum-Rose of Huertas Canyon Farms started bringing vegetables to Blades’ Bistro. “At first it is was just a few squash and some beans, but now (Huertas Canyon) provides us with almost everything ­— greens, squash, tri-colored carrots, tri-colored beans, onions, okra, leeks, beets, shishito peppers, herbs, and more,” says co-owner Anja Bladergroen. (Courtesy of Kevin Bladergroen)
    Early on, Nancy Kellum-Rose of Huertas Canyon Farms started bringing vegetables to Blades’ Bistro. “At first it is was just a few squash and some beans, but now (Huertas Canyon) provides us with almost everything ­— greens, squash, tri-colored carrots, tri-colored beans, onions, okra, leeks, beets, shishito peppers, herbs, and more,” says co-owner Anja Bladergroen. (Courtesy of Kevin Bladergroen)
    Seasonal menu

    Blades’ menu changes with the season, and spring brings fresh additions such as a Mixed Kale Salad with Maple Raspberry Vinaigrette and Atlantic Salmon with Asparagus Salsa.

    Both dishes are flavorful and filled with texture. The Mixed Kale Salad sings with the combination of fennel, orange and maple.

    The Asparagus Salsa is inspired by the classic French “Persillade Garnish” that traditionally consists of chopped garlic, chopped parsley and bread crumbs bound together with olive oil that is often used as crust for roasted veal or lamb chops. But at Blades’, this spunky version is combined with chopped asparagus, roasted red pepper and hard-boiled eggs for a new twist on salsa verde.

    The restaurant’s open kitchen and dining room make it easy for patrons to watch Kevin prepare the food. Customers who sit at the counter have a front-row seat.

    “They can see their food being prepared from beginning to end,” said Kevin. “When you sit this close to chef, if you have a special request I’ll hear it. And I’ll try to take care of it because that’s just what we do here.”

    The Bladergroens also source locally raised beef and many other local ingredients such as mushrooms, apples and goat cheese whenever possible.

    Combined with their hand-selected list of boutique wines and mid-week wine specials, this is a European country dining experience that features a fresh bounty of New Mexico foods.

    Kevin Bladergroen, left, and his wife, Anja, opened Blades’ in March 2009, aiming to create a European-style bistro that featured elegant, simple and price-friendly cuisine. (Denise Miller/For The Albuquerque Journal)
    Kevin Bladergroen, left, and his wife, Anja, opened Blades’ in March 2009, aiming to create a European-style bistro that featured elegant, simple and price-friendly cuisine. (Denise Miller/For The Albuquerque Journal)
    Mixed Kale Salad with Maple Raspberry Vinaigrette

    Serves 4 (appetizer portion)

    6 ounces shredded kale

    3 ounces shredded Brussels sprouts

    3 ounces shredded (raw) broccoli stems

    2 oranges, peeled & segmented

    1 fennel bulb, poached and julienne diced

    2 ounces roasted pine nuts

    Maple Raspberry Vinaigrette

    Makes 12 ounces

    1 ounce Bearnaise Gastrique (see below)

    1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

    ¼ cup orange juice

    ¼ cup canola oil

    ¼ cup water

    ¼ cup olive oil

    Maple raspberry vinaigrette stars in this kale salad. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)
    Maple raspberry vinaigrette stars in this kale salad. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)
    ¼ cup raspberry preserves (like Heidi’s)

    ¼ cup maple syrup

    2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

    2 tablespoons lemon juice

    Salt & pepper to taste

    Put all vinaigrette ingredients in topped quart container and “shake it like you mean it.”

    Add dressing to Kale Mix. Top each salad with orange segments and poached fennel. Finish with roasted pine nuts.

    Bearnaise Gastrique

    1 ounce diced shallots

    1 ounce dried tarragon

    ½ cup red wine

    ½ cup red wine vinegar

    Take all above ingredients add to sauté pan and reduce liquid over low flame by half.

    This crunchy, fresh asparagus salsa is the perfect topping for grilled salmon for a lively spring meal. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)
    This crunchy, fresh asparagus salsa is the perfect topping for grilled salmon for a lively spring meal. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)
    Asparagus Salsa

    Serves 4

    1 bunch asparagus, blanched and chopped

    4 hard-boiled eggs, chopped

    1 tablespoon capers

    1 tablespoon chopped garlic

    1 cup bread crumbs

    1 cup olive oil

    1 roasted and peeled red bell pepper, chopped

    ½ cup fresh chopped parsley

    ½ cup fresh chopped dill

    ¼ cup lemon juice

    Optional: 6 anchovies, chopped

    Mix all ingredients together, let stand two hours before topping grilled salmon.

  4. Thanks for the kudos.
    I’m not sure there is a person who hasn’t had a loved one, a friend, a relative, a co-worker, a neighbor, touched by Breast Cancer.
    awareness of the benefits of early detection is our best weapon in the fight againt the disease.
    anything that can be done to raise awareness is good.
    That was my sole intention. I was pleased to see the picture of Kevin and his team in pink chef hats posted on Blade’s facebook site.
    It takes a real man to wear pink.

  5. Yo, if I may, let me give a Shout-Out! to El Brute for reportedly supplying the kitchen crew of Blade’s with PINK caps to highlight-bring attention to October being National Breast Cancer Awareness Month…Kudos!!!
    ~ If I may, please accept an invite to all herein to do the 5K Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk Sunday, Oct. 26th! There is no Entry Fee (for this “at will” donation affair) where registration begins at 8 AM in the Big Tent where I’ll be in the upper parking from the lot for Cottonwood theater’s entrance. Stepping off is at 9 AM. Yo…it is the 15th year; close to 20,000 did it last year raising over one half million, most of which stays Local for assistive, supportive, and research programs of the American Cancer Society.
    Say, after Y’all have worked up an appetite, what better place to quell it than Brunch at Blade’s till 2…Why Heck, go all sweaty and tell Anja I said it’d be OK!
    (Yo Dudes…while Dudettes are perfectly capable of going for a “Check-up”, wouldn’t hurt to ask if you could go along!!!)

  6. In 1989 my partner and I traveled to London on a business trip.
    We dined at a restaurant named Silks, after jockey silks, which had been highly recommended.
    I ordered the Dover sole which was filleted table side and at that moment knew it was the best fish I had ever had.
    I’ve tried it several times since and came to the conclusion that it would never come close to that first experience.
    I’m not even sure I had real Dover sole with the exception of the first time in London.
    Jump ahead what must be a dozen years since I had last tried Dover sole domestically.
    My wife and I celebrated New Years eve at Blades and Dover sole was on the evening’s menu.
    Simply put it made me realize how good it was and why I liked it as much. Prepared perfectly although not at table side.
    I hope it becomes a staple at Blades much like the bistro chicken which falls into the category of Best I have tasted, a review echoed by several folks who have ordered it.

  7. Sorry, accidentally pushed the send button……
    Bottom line you came, ate, and left before I had a chance to greet you properly.
    You did miss some fine jazz.
    But at least you had some fine food.
    Next time…..

  8. BOTVOLR,
    I watched you stroll into Blades lasT evening, stroll past the wonderful music provided by Bohemian Sol, past my table where I, and my family was celebrating my birthday without stopping or

  9. Well finally got around to the Alaskan Baked Cod marinated in red miso per a recommendation of a ‘few’ weeks back. Hmmm, while no expert in fishies, I was expecting a more ‘hardy’ piece of fish probably from it being the fish of choice “back East” for Fish n Chips. Lest an anomaly, the Alaskan cod was a bit more delicate along with being mild in ‘fish’ flavor as the Atlantic cod. Guess this is why “its all about the batter” IMHO when in comes to F&Cs or the red miso in this instance. The sauce was savory and had, to me, a not overly sweet flavoring. After passing through the fun-deco Harvest patio, t’was a great meal with its complement of roasted potatoes, spinach, asparagus.

    (As an aside per dining experiences in general: The second favorite line in that ‘racy’ classic, The Graduate, was “Plastics!” Two or three years ago, “Asparagus” could have been the line for what to produce or invest in, given its proliferation in dining.) “Chow!”

  10. Seriously, signing up for Anja’s ‘Alerts’ http://www.bladesbistro.com/join.htm again paid off! Had a great Surf n Turf last night which made me “focus” that we apparently go through food phases similar as hair dos (Dorothy Hamill; The Beatles; DAs), styles of clothing (Nehru jackets; wide/skinny ties; cuff links), etc. Later, found this on the internet: “Surf and turf is often considered to symbolize middlebrow “Continental Cuisine” of the 1960s and 1970s.” Remember when Shishkabobs, Steak Diane or Diablo, and ????? came and went? Entrees might have been preceded by ’cocktails’ like Stingers, Grasshoppers, & Sloe Gin Fizzes. Music in the background might have been Brubeck; Mancini; Nero; Don Shirley http://tinyurl.com/4akoq44. For a change of pace, exotic places with fantazmic Polynesian décor sprang up like Trader Vic’s and Don the Beachcomber’s taking you, with a Mai Tai in hand, beyond chow mein/pork fried rice! On the home front, besides cheese or chocolate Fondue, t’was fun to have friends over to try to impress with creative dips for Meat Fondue! Unfortunately, my Vieja banned me from the kitchen for being El Entrometido Grande and I never got to learn her tricked-up Bordelaise recipe using red chile so as to pass on to Y‘all. In any event, Chef Kevin’s Special brought back some fun memories. (Out of this world sunset! Gas was only 3.21 in Bernalillo!!!!)

  11. Alas Anja seduced me once again with her http://www.bladesbistro.com/join.htm alerting me to the weekend Especial to include The Beef Oscar. Alas, the vixen kept secret from me that she’d scheduled a(n) Haboob to come roaring down I-25 as I head North…truly aaahsome stretching from the Sandia’s to the west mesa… as I’ve never experienced one here in my 40+ years…akin to more common in Phoenix http://tinyurl.com/mqemmh5
    Consistency/Consistency…same old same old…but a tad better(?) tonight? Veg medley con roasted tater’s, great. French Onion superb as always AND…Oh! along with fine-dining waitstaff.
    If it weren’t for the Haboob, the patio festooned with hollyhocks(?) would have been most inviting and ya might keep that in mind with their upcoming mellow music agenda! Whoa, such starry starry night views unencumbered by City Light pollution!!! Yes, for those with at least one keen ear, McLean was apparently inspired by the work of Van Gogh! http://tinyurl.com/2ealq8e
    Lastly, I took special note: it’s only 14 minutes to/from Paseo…Yo! it takes 20 minutes, at least, to cross ABQ…plus, if U B 1 to dicker about gas, you can often find it 10-25 cents/Gal less in Bernalillo http://tinyurl.com/ylc668h ROTFLWMOMNWPIMD!
    “Chow!”

  12. Re one of this Weekend’s Specials, the Veal Parmesan:
    As a kid lucky to be able to go out on Special occasions of yore with the folks…i.e. beyond maybe pizza, broasted chicken, etc., I got into a jag of ordering Breaded Veal Cutlets. (Like many food-fads today, were Cutlets one back in the last mid-century perhaps?) As less than 10(?) years old, I had the audacity to chime in “But not Gristly!!!”…. per one bad experience…to the waitress in her perky nursy-like uniform with the unfunctional apron) – without reflecting on Who would want the gristly ones!!!!) In any event, many of Y’all possibly missed out this past weekend as Chef Kevin pounded his veal just right so that I’m suspecting he has an authentic Bronx Tenderizer…. http://www.trendhunter.com/photos/110067…Beyond that, while the ‘crumb’ covering was as to be expected, il marina had a ‘just-right’ tasty tang only to matched by a great, while non overpowering, ‘dolcezza’ (sweetness). Add this to just the right complement of cheez….i.e. neither too thick/smothering nor like engaging you in a Salt Water Taffy pull (like ‘gente’ seem to go for at a ‘T’-place here in town) … for Y’all to say some expression unknown to an Irish-Polack!!!
    An interesting slice of onion complemented the offering along with just right tenderness of aspargus and, of course, spaghetti!
    “Chow!”

  13. In the spirit of Irish celebration we chose Blades as our dining experience on St. Patrick’s Day. I thoroughly enjoyed the corned beef and cabbage (as advertised in the weekly email) and my spouse raved about the beef bourguignon. It’s great to have this consistent gem of an establishment available to us. Congratulations on 3 great years and we look forward to many more delightful meals in the future!

  14. Well put BOTVOLR.
    And for the cherry on top last night at Blade’s was a celebration of their 3rd Anniversary.
    For any restaurant to survive the last 3 years in an economy that had been on the ropes and come out the other end is a true testament to the single mindedness of Chef Kevin, the indefatigable Anja, and a dedicated staff.
    Kudos to Blade’s for a great 3 years and to many many more.

  15. Well Congrats to, for example, Blade’s (where Borshch will be a Special this weekend), for earning these two categories on the Local IQ Reader’s Poll:

    Best Fine Dining
    Best Brunch – tied with The Grove

    (For the rest of the listings which I’m sure will either inspire faith in or disdain for the Masses, given that they may vote in national elections as well…LOL…and meaning no offense to the student/professorial crowd who I’m guessing are the majority of poll participants, check ’em out http://tinyurl.com/6ovrmr9 )

  16. Hola Jim…LOL….not sure what’s up as http://thomas.loc.gov/home/thomas.php is the Library of Congress website where one can look up one’s legislator’s website for e.g. their email addy. It has nothing to do with gasoline. Maybe you, I, Gil, or Uncle Sam has a Gremlin misdirecting you. In any event, I like my 6 Degrees of Separation analyis…Ho ho ho.
    Sorry, “Chow!”

  17. Dear Bob of the Village, I actually wasn’t trying to be “clever crypto/arcane” Well, maybe a little bit) but I clicked on your link out of curiosity. Nothing about gas prices jumped out at me so, since the site had a box for search by word or phrase, I clicked on it intending to enter “gasoline”. As soon as I clicked up came a list of searches and the 1st two were for Ms. Johansson. I barely noticed the others so I came back to this site to mention it (maybe humorously). Prior to posting I returned to your link and the click on the box produced nothing until I entered an “S” then Ms. Johansson returned but only one time. Later it was gone. I assume someone hacked the site and the webmaster was busy trying to clean it up. It seemed somewhat surprisingly out of place though.

  18. Yo Jim…C l e v e r crypto/arcane response; t’was a bit Six Degrees of Bacon*(ish)! Yes, that Gov website is named after Thomas “Jefferson”. Last year your Scarlett used her cell phone to send a nude photo. Someone then “hacked” her cell and got the ‘private’ pic to be able to put it on the internet. Later in the year, gossip columnists were tongue wagging about her being seen kinda friendly in London in the company of Kate Moss’ former boyfriend “Jefferson” “Hack” (real name!!!) http://tinyurl.com/8yp9zv6
    *http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/six-degrees-of-separation/ http://oracleofbacon.org/ (type in an actor’s name)
    “Chow!”

  19. Hey BOTVOLR
    Re Casa Vieja I noticed that Josh Gerwin has taken over the kitchen at Desert Fish.
    My guess is that the old building n Corrales was way beyond repair.
    I had a fabulous steak tartare at Blades Sunday Brunch. Chef Kevin also made great tuna tartare about two weeks ago.

    1. Thanks, Bruce, for 100 insightful comments. You’ve in rarefied company, joining the ranks of Bob of the Village People and Larry, the professor with the perspicacious palate as the three most prolific posters on this blog. Chef Kevin says he’s bringing back borscht in a couple of weeks so we’ll be seeing you at Blades’ soon.

  20. Mr Bob @ Los Ranchos, I checked out http://thomas.loc.gov/home/thomas.php and found to my utter amazement that Thomas Jefferson apparently spent a major portion of his life searching for “Scarlett Johansson nude.” It surprised me because, even though I knew that he really liked girls, I had no idea that the technology to pursue these interests was so advanced.

  21. Alas, the Clam Chowdah is apparently only as a Soup du Jour or on the weekend Specials menu. This past weekend it was Asparagus along with Prime Rib or the 2 great 5oz Canadian Lobstah tails in/of which I delighted.
    Whoa, I see that a year ago I recommended reservations for seating after 6:30 on the weekend. I now ditto that as well as reflect that the quality of dining one might expect of Blades might be attested to by the fact that it is winter; some of the folks who come might consider it being “way out of town” (with due respect to its Vecinos); the gas crisis* is driving up prices!; and the economy still sucks!
    (Lastly, lest someone asks, Yes, I did the French Onion for dessert per my new habit to minimize any sensation of stuffiness impeding my enjoyment of an entrée. Eh, no offense to the Yum Yums they offer as heartier appetites can still enjoy.)

    “Chow!”
    *PS: For the Commentators who are ’word purists’. Please recognize I’m just repeating what I see/hear. I realize that “crisis” should mean: A crucial or decisive point or situation—a turning point—. As such, the actual gas crisis’ turning point, IMHO, occurred in the mid ‘70s when, for example, the Interstates went from 75 to 55 MPH !!! Alas, Dem and Repub Prezs have done nothing but hide behind “We can’t fix this in the short term.” and nothing ever happens….Let’s not just “Eat this” as we’ve done in the past, but Speak Up http://thomas.loc.gov/home/thomas.php so that it doesn’t impact my (our) ability to eat cake!!! Please don’t tell younguns they can hold out another election cycle till those of us who remember The ’70s will have mostly died off!!!! Remember! It’s costing you your inheritance!!!

  22. Standard Diner was at its best during the reign of the Bladergroens. They are missed in ABQ proper.
    I am glad Blades is doing well, though.
    Veel succes!!

  23. Kudos to Blade’s for being a first year participant in the Souper Bowl fundraiser for the RoadRunner Foodbank.
    Got Blade’s Friday email (which one can sign up for http://www.bladesbistro.com/join.htm ) noting the Filet Oscar was one of the weekend Especials. As always, perfectly prepared/presented along with a new, enjoyable medley of veggie shavings. I’ve recently noted the bartender has received acclaim for his talents on some of those ‘Best of ‘ lists and I’ll concur given his smooth margarita for under six bucks!
    (I selfishly teased Kevin, who I’ve never chatted with before, about looking into whether Casa Vieja, where he started, is able to be rehabbed for a Blade’s II. I think he sorta understandably winced per fond memories contrasted with the image of trying to pull-off two venues; we agreed Corrales and CV was the place to dine way-back-when.)

  24. The bread pudding I encountered as a lad growing up in Baltimore was always made with stale old bread, and usually had a nasty texture. In the capable hands of Kevin, this dish achieves its rightful place among the food of the Olympian gods.

    This version has an impeccable texture—neither too dense nor too creamy, but just right. The bread is larded with chocolate that softened and intensified when heated, and it is served with a perfectly created caramel sauce that has that slight caramelized sugar flavor that I love in my flans. This bread pudding is so extraordinary that it broke into my top five bread pudding list [are you listening, Gil?].

  25. I had dinner at Blades last night.
    Stag, the better half out with the ladies.
    I took the opportunity to be bad, very bad.
    I opted for the daily double of cholesterol, fois gras as an appetizer followed by a first for me, sweetbreads.
    The fois gras was absolutely melt in your mouth perfect, served with a berry compute and a jicama slaw which was the perfect tangy partner.
    Then the sweetbreads, ah the sweetbread.
    They say many things about “the first time”, usually not while discussing sweetbreads but “they” should.
    My thought after a few bites was simple, “Why did I wait so long?”
    I had been warned of the richness of the dish and that there might be a limit to how much one can eat of something that rich but I didn’t come close to reaching that point.
    I did have to double my Crestor last night but a small price to pay for perfection.
    Blades keeps getting better, and that’s what the best restaurants keep doing.

  26. I can’t believe that after many happy trips I had never commented on one of my favorite restaurants so I will after last night’s visit. If it sounds as though I hate the place and will never return I have phrased myself very badly. We plan to return many times. It is however a perfect example of Gil’s mentioning that if you take someone to a place you love everything will be wrong. The Child Bride and I took her friend “The Italian Lady, Rosanna Rosanna Rosanna” to impress her with our good taste.
    There has been some disagreement on this site as to whether Blade’s is loud or quiet. We have never been there when it was not loud, very loud. I don’t mind this as it means people are enjoying themselves. I hate those rare fine dining restaurants with a funeral parlor atmosphere as though everyone is reverently worshiping their food. This usually makes me want to stand up and launch into my version of “My Friend the Witch Doctor.” Last night though was an abuse of the privilege.
    A large birthday party was producing a brain rattling cacophony resonating from the hard floors which reduced our conversation and ordering to top volume shouting. Rosanna Rosanna Rosanna didn’t care for this. I saw paella on the menu and the pounding noise distracted my otherwise feeble brain from reading the description. A reading would have made it clear that this was not the seafood Paella which I so loved from restaurants in Barcelona and Toronto. It was chicken and some seafood but the only flavor I could pick up was overwhelmingly paprika. I don’t know if it was added or from the chorizo but I had never imagined that paprika could be so strong and I am often accused of over spicing. I like hot food, very hot. The Child Bride had her usual Salmon and loved it as always. Upon leaving a large portion uneaten I mentioned to the waitress that the paella was awful without explanation about the paprika(probably a poor choice of words because of the noise). I notice that others have mentioned that the paella was excellent and would appreciate someone else commenting on it. Is what I had the normal and loved by others or just a slip of the paprika shaker such as Gil suspected with the garlic at Duran’s Pharmacy. Until I am sure I will return many times and just order all the remainder of the wonderful dishes.

  27. I dined at Blade’s Bistro last evening and left with a new respect for the Chef, the Sou Chef, the waitstaff etc.
    Chef had his brined roasted chicken half on the menu.
    Congrats to Blade’s for not taking the “chicken breast” route so many other restaurants have taken.
    It was better than my mother’s version. Sorry Mom.
    It was comfort food at the highest level.
    I pictured it with a nice side of mashed potatoes just like Mom’s.
    Instead it came with escalloped potatoes.
    Perfect! Sorry Mom, again.
    My dinner consisted of Chef Kevin’s outstanding Chef’s salad, arugula, proscuitto,
    artichoke hearts and shaven parmesan.
    A touch of olive oil and wow.
    Then the dessert……..
    Key lime and coconut cheese cake.
    As good as any I’ve had in my beloved New York, home of the perfect cheesecake.
    Kudos to Katherine, pastry chef extraordinaire!
    A perfect dinner, again.

  28. I find it curious that Blades’ web site has a lunch menu in addition to the brunch and dinner menu, but their hours of operation begin at 5:00pm, with the exception of their weekend brunch hours. Why is that? They need to update their web site.

    I have been to Blades twice and both times I enjoyed it. The watermelon Gazpacho is delicious, as was the Paella and the Ceviche. The last time I went, I marveled at the crab cakes with a maple sauce. I will definitely return.

    The two negatives were a poor cut of “Steak Adolf” which had way too much ligament and which made certain parts inedible. I felt like I was in anatomy class, dissecting a cut of meat. To their credit, we were given dessert at no charge.

    Upon our arrival,I also did not care for the attitude of the hostess who sat us. I took my mother, who is in a wheel chair; and this necessitates sitting at a 4-top so I can sit next to her to help her eat, or hold a heavy glass as needed. The hostess attempted to seat us across from each other at a banquette, saying that everything was reserved….curious…we had reservations and the place was empty when we got there. After I INSISTED on a 4-top, we were seated properly. And lo….when we left, there were still plenty of available seats. This was a turn off and insensitive to the needs of a disabled – and paying – customer.

  29. Oh Pshaw Gil…With all due respect to the Principles of Ikebana, where Odd is ‘It”, which I learned in Las Vegas, there is otherwise no stated, rational reason for the number 131…at least that Y’all have so stated.

    As such, I wish to posit…well state…that it would be more symmetrical/lyrical for Westerners to have an ’even’ “132 categories” which could/should and would include having a “One Horse Towns”, where Great Places exist as in Penasco, Embudo, Los Lunas, Placitas, etc. where there may not, NOR EVER be 3 restaurants…. but that’s just My Humble Opinion as I may not have to make a reservation therefore or thereof at such locales per a lack of Y’all’s or Commentators’ possibly favorable somethings or others!!

  30. If I note that Gil needs to add Placitas and Los Lunas (e.g. for Luna Mansion) to his sidebar of Restaurants by Category under New Mexico, hopefully that can attest to the fact that I can be picayunish about things which might thus add some validity to my saying simply “OMG!” regarding this weekend’s Special at Blade’s….The Filet of Oscar.

    Ya, it’s the second time I’m blabbing about it in particular, but I swear I’m not having a liaison with any of the staff!!!! (I also think they have one of the smoothest house Margaritas around). Best way to find out about such Specials, including any musical fare on the weekends, is to sign up for the weekly email http://www.bladesbistro.com/join.htm

    While you might think trudging “way up there is boring”, then take 313 on the way back and especially now with the fantabulous sunsets we are experiencing with the unfortunate fire smoke. Imagine you’re wending your way down from Santa Fe in a buckboard as it is part of El Camino Real or in a Model T as it is part of the initial Route 66. You might also find it fascinating if you’ve never been of 4th St. to stop in for a margarita on the 2nd best patio in town at Casa de Benavidez; see 6+ antique stores within a mile; see where Vernon’s and other food landmarks are in the North Valley if you’ve never been.
    “Chow”

    1. Compadre Roberto

      Because there are already 131 categories listed in my “Restaurants by Category” menu, I’m limiting the cities and towns listed on the New Mexico menu to those which have at least three restaurants I’ve reviewed. I’ve reviewed only one restaurant in Placitas and one in Los Lunas, but am always on the look-out for new restaurants in uncharted waters to try.

      Gil

  31. Whoa, was gonna go to Blade’s last night to pay attention to and check that noise level of above out as I couldn’t bring such an experience to mind…while especially hoping they had some of their previous Veal Oscar still on Special, but remembered they rest after their Sunday Brunch. In lieu of that I went to Scalo’s as a comparison setting ala “fine dining”. Indeed, despite being Sunday, Scalo’s was packed for the 6:30ish hour and I was seated on the ‘main floor’ at a 2-top, per my being a Single and it being the 2nd to last open table in the place. Whoa….talk about your sound level !!! I had trouble just talking to myself (!) as I’ve usually dined by the front window or in the bar times before! Be that as it may…i.e. regardless or despite that…I must note my Filetto*, adorned con Cambozola and embedded in a luscious risotto, was…and how trite….ever so tender while served a perfect pink-medium. Alas, while I would have preferred the asparagus being a tad less al dente, paying only 6 bucks for a Margarita offset that….LOL.

    Beyond that, Mucho Kudos to Steve Paternoster for participating in the The Q’s Journal’s Press Pass promotion as Scalo’s is a rare “dining” experience offering a discount, let alone 20% especially as compared to most discount promotions discriminating against “Singles” by only offering ‘Buy 1, get one free’!

    BTW, I cannot imagine a gaggle greater than 4 being unnoisy in and of themselves unless they were dining at French’s, Salazaar’s, Daniels’ etc!!!! Beyond those suggestions, if you are a group of 6 or 8 etc., requiring/needing a quiet setting, you can also find that at….and, albeit exposing myself to ridicule by confessing my having been here….a Mickey D’s!!, i.e. in contrast to the packed houses of Blade’s and Scalo’s “in these tough economic times!!!”
    * What’s with eating a filet in an “Italian” restaurant? Well, its just me….I can’t eat a “whole” dish of one thing…i.e. I wish there’d be more Combo offerings….no matter how pedestrain that might be….instead of a whole plate of spaghetti, chow mein, etc. Picture a plate of 3 (butter fried) pierogies (one each of kapusta, potato, cheese), a 1/2 dozen slices of 1/2 inch kelbasi, all encircling a succulent golumpki!!! (The”l” is pronounced like the “wa” in “want”.) Now that would be Yummy with a slice of Polish (teeth wrenching) rye and a PBR!!!

    “Chow!”

  32. Have been to Blades several times in groups of four, six and eight. Every time the food has been good enough to bring me back but the service is spotty and if they are busy you can’t talk with your friends with a party larger than four due to the noise level.

  33. Ya know, I empathize with ya Mike and so many times I’ve kept my mouth shut when spending ‘good’ money (and especially in these times of ’11, which will improve tho) to be disappointed by a meal and/or a dining out event.

    I’m resolving in this Ano Nuevo, if you will, to do that NO-More and especially as restaurateurs exhort us to let them know about our experience so that they can improve and/or amend things they might overlook or accidental errors in their business in order that they, and staff, can continue to make a living! They know that a “bad mouth” goes on and on much more so than a “good mouth”, even tho I continue to tell the story how Binion’s went out of their way, after getting me show seating at Caesar’s in Vegas in ’88 as present for a couple, and returned me “change” of SIX (IMHO measly) Bucks that I sent in to pre-pay for what I guessed would be Tix-Tax-Tip.

    As I’ve noted above, I’ve not had a untoward experience at Blade’s…and especially given I’m usually a solo diner, LOL. If I may suggest, call to find when they’ll be doing the Beef Oscar or Wellington and share your past experience…I have “santa fe”, if you will, things will go well.

  34. Took my wife there for valentines day. Had reservations, arrived ten minutes before reservation time, told to have a seat at the bar. Two local couples came in and were seated right away. we were seated after a thirty minute wait. Wife ordered a steal and it was ordered medium and arrived raw not rare, too raw to enjoy. Wine was good. I ordered the chicken and it was flavorless with the exception of the breading. I try all places at least twice before stopping, so another time will be allocated to see if my service and food was misfortuate event, or a planned disservice.

  35. Ah yes Yum Yum…had the Filet of Oscar as per Le Special de la Soirée! I’ve never had a bad dining experience at Blade’s in about a dozen tries. While the pickins on the regular menu are fine, nothing beats a Special like this or The Wellington. Things are now getting tight after 6:30 on the weekend so a reservation is suggested. Just a tad out of The Q in Placitas….you can feel like you’re “getting away” for a moment, but ya don’t have to drive all the way to Santa Fe for fine dining and ambiance!!!
    ‘Chow’

  36. Had to check back and update. Had a fabulous dinner last night. Service was outstanding. The atmosphere is still fresh and very upscale.

    And the food was excellent.

    Blades keeps getting better and better. And better.

  37. Since my last rather unfavorable review, shortly after the restaurant opened, my wife and I have been back to Blades Bistro at least a half dozen times. And I am happy to report that with each visit, we have liked the restaurant more and more.

    The food has steadily gotten better and better and the service is professional and excellent. Even on the nights when they are busy.

    Kevin, the owner and chef is very creative and inventive and the food now first rate. Anja, the owner/hostess could not be more welcoming and charming. And the ambiance is more San Francisco than Placitas.

    Blades features the artwork of local artists and is displayed in the manner and style of a fine art gallery.

    My wife and I celebrated our 36th anniversary at Blades last evening. We started with a glass of wine and shared the spinach salad which was served with Gorgonzola, beets, and grilled peaches. It was excellent. I had the special pork chop and my wife had the trout amondine. Both were well prepared and delicious. For desert we shared the strawberry shortcake over a cup of really fine coffee.

    Blades is now serving lunch on Friday and Saturday and has a Sunday brunch.

    I’m happy to say that Blades has become our favorite restaurant. I highly recommend it for the excellent food, friendly atmosphere, and elegant ambiance.

  38. We made our 1st vist to Blades Bistro this past Wednesday evening.

    Heard lots of good things – I’m just sorry we waited so long to make the drive up to Placitis from Corrales.

    The quality of the meal, the ambiance and level of service were all exceptional. A combination not easily – nor consistently found in the Albuquerque metro area.

    The diverse menu was a delight!

    I agree – the wine list prices are not outragous – unlike many other venues in ABQ.

    And I must say “The 1/2 price bottle of wine night” is something more restaurants should consider in this tight economy.

    They are featuring Milagro Vineyards at a Winemakers Wine Night on Dec 7 – Nice to see they support the local industry!

  39. After a third and a fourth dinner at Blades the brilliant quality from the kitchen equals extraordinarily fine dining no matter how you cut it anywhere in New Mexico and many other places where people appreciate fine dining.

    The service has become careful and appreciatively precise…without being overly fussy. The standard from the kitchen is un-flaggingly lovely…..it is quite obvious that Blade’s has rapidly grown up to be one of the very best fine dining venues in the Southwest. Subsuming all the long years of European& American excellence training of it’s owners…………..we are delighted to have such a charming little boite so close to home. We have driven way many more miles for purportedly great food, only to be disappointed. Blades is absolutely the Real Thing.

    We suggest you make reservations. Blades is very much in the top rank

    Bon Appetit
    DH

  40. second visit: mushroom appetizer…fantastic
    bread: awful
    caprese salad: less than ordinary
    chicken entree: acceptable
    twice baked potato: awful
    apple tart: great

    hoping this potentially lovely spot doesn’t go downhill; I could not believe how ordinary the entree and sides were. too bad.

  41. We have eaten at our neighborhood restaurant twice now. Here are my impressions:

    PROS: Very upscale ambiance. Perhaps the nicest in NM. A nice touch are the handsome paintings by Wayne Mikosz and Riha Rothberg, owners of Lunatique, the predecessor to Blades.

    The staff are responsive and welcome every guest and thank every guest for coming.

    The acoustics are excellent and even when crowded it is easy to hear a conversation at your table.

    The wait staff are knowledgeable, attentive, and helpful.

    In short, a class operation all the way.

    The wine list is good and the prices for wine by the glass are comparable to less expensive restaurants. There is a good selection of mid range wines.

    CONS: I have had the chicken in a lemon and caper sauce and the special pasta with smoked salmon. The sauce for both was too heavy to the point of being almost congealed. This may be a style thing, but for my money, a lighter sauce would be more appropriate.

    The soup du jour was served luke warm as was the coffee after the meal. The chef may have wanted the soup to be warm and not hot, but there is no excuse for luke warm coffee.

    Finally a nit pick. Where so waiters learn to speak of the specials in the future tense? “Tonights special is going to be trout which is going to be served with rice and is going to come with broccoli!” At least our server was consistent.

    We really want this restaurant to do well in this food challenged area and I hope the staff at Blades sees these comments.

  42. We returned to Blade’s Bistro in Placitas. As Before the food was flawless…..as good as it gets in NM. This time the service was absolutely up to snuff, prompt and precise. Apparently the opening week was a muddle…which is quite usual. But Blade’s is now an important venue in Alb………very few of the Ritzy Outfits in Santa Fe can hold a candle to the silky, fine quality of cuisine at Blade’s. We are completely dazzled

  43. Gil

    We took a friend to Blade’s Bistro for his birthday dinner last night. Like most Placitians

    we were anticipating the opening of a good restaurant here in town after a longish dry

    spell. We were very impressed with the quality of the food. The baked mushrooms were

    excellent, as was the calamare. The fruit de Mer was excellent as was the steak frites

    entree. However….

    Considering that it was Saturday night, and that the room was nearly full at six-fifteen

    ( and filled up rapidly after that )…the service was impossibly haphazard. Hungry, thirsty

    patrons gesturing wildly in the hope of attracting the attention of one of the rather

    stunned looking ( As in ” What am I doing Here ? ” ) waitstaff, grew increasingly

    desperate as the time ground on at a rather glacial pace. For a table of three (with two

    entrees being the same ) there was no possible excuse for me to be brought steak

    frites when I had ordered the other steak dish on the menu. The Maitresse d’ gamely

    struggled to brace up the woefully confused waitstaff who ( I might add )

    mis-functioned in full view of the Exhibition Kitchen where the real magic was being

    made. I also have to add that Blade’s, like many Bistro styled restaurants, is no

    stranger to nearly ear-shattering noise levels which make dinner conversation

    virtually impossible without benefit of of some antique silver ear-trumpets. I know

    that the stained concrete floors in vogue these days are considered painfully chic, but

    dining in a six-sided cube comprised of six hard surfaces makes for a less than peaceful

    experience. Some carpet might be in order.

    I know we’ll go to Blade’s again…perhaps after a long enough wait to hope the

    service comes somewhere near the elegance and precision of the kitchen.

    in full view

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