Having been in the import gourmet business in a major metro area (DC) for years and years, the most succinct explanation for a very high priced meal came from an Italian who owned 3 very expensive establishments in DC, Manhattan and Bal Harbor-Miami Beach who said:
"Daniel ..if a couple came into one of my restaurants for a special occasion and spent $50 ..they would forget it in the next week! But, when they come into one of my restaurants ..drink my wine, are waited on by 2, taste my diverse menu selections AND spend $200, they remember it for the rest of their lives!" J-S
And such it is with Rancho de San Juan!
Often appearing as the top restaurant in the State of New Mexico and many times the entire Southwest ..Rancho de San Juan has many..many extraordinary qualities that will place it in this category!
Let me first make a suggestion as a word to the wise. Since we were celebrating a very special occasion ..I made the reservation (an absolute ..since tables for dinner are very few) knowing that there is a custom, but limited menu ..a choice of 2 entrees. Since we were not at all wild about either selection ..although my order was unique to me since I had never had it before, how could we be totally sold at this level?
There are 2 answers for this! As you'd make your reservation, inquire the menu for the date you're planning on being seated OR have the financial wherewithal to enjoy several dining experiences at Rancho de San Juan. This would be my preferred solution..alas. With this exception we were thrilled, enchanted and fully expect to remember the experience for the rest of our lives!
-The restaurant is private with a pass code gate in one of the most austere high desert surroundings imaginable.
-We were seated by Dave (1 of 2 partners), and with a beautiful..eclectic menu of 3 courses (wine extra) ..plus fresh bread/herb butter.
-Our service was outstanding with very timely delivered dishes by a wait staff of 2 working only 6 tables.
-The dishes were outstanding with very unique sides and the dessert more than outstanding. It was coffee ice cream by any other name..however..dressed to the hilt in uniqueness!
-We were an hour and half total and emerged at sunset. As we walked to our car..the local coyote packs let loose with their evening howl-fest. Please understand that, living here, we hear this amazing alarm, a call to hunt, every night ..but never they way we heard it that night!
With all the canyons, pinnacles of sandstone, caves and mountain walls looming over us..the echos were almost surreal amd made each pack sound as though 2 coyotes were 20! The enjoyment of this every evening event only lasts 15 seconds...BUT
...Indeed, the memory of this night/evening will last us a lifetime! Dan & Gabriela
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Painting By Featured Artist MJAckley "Sunset Behind Fall Tree II"