Saffron Arancini-goat cheese + san marzana tomato sauce
Roasted Winter Squash-toasted walnuts, sage + white bean hummus
Veal Sweetbreads-preserved porcinis, frisee + winesap apple butter
Bison Osso Bucco-cauliflower puree + pine nut gremolata
Autumn Frost Squash Torta-candied pumpkin seeds + mascarpone chantilly
Chef Graham Dodds
There has been a buzz about the recently opened NOSA on the Santa Fe Foodies group and when I was asked to visit and submit a review, I jumped at the opportunity. NOSA offers a prix-fixe lunch on Saturday and Sunday with seating at 11:30 am and 2 pm for $65 plus gratuity and tax. They recently launched dinner service on Friday and Saturday evenings at 6:30 pm at $85 plus gratuity and tax with an optional wine pairing for $45. The menu changes weekly and is focused on seasonal local ingredients. The dining experience is somewhat communal as each course is served to diners at the same time and the experience can last between 2–3 hours.
What truly stood out to me about NOSA was the ambiance and the vibe. The drive into the property sets the tone. Let me be honest, I was late. I miscalculated the time to get there plus life’s happenings, so I was in a frenzied mad dash to make my reservation. Once I walked into the restaurant with its modern homestyle décor I felt relaxed. I was there to be taken care of with no decisions or thoughts of what to order and it felt awesome to unplug and be in the moment. The prix-fixe menu I sampled was Saffron Arancini, Roasted Winter Squash, Veal Sweetbreads, Bison Osso Bucco, and the Autumn Frost Squash Torta and I opted for the wine pairing.
The Arancini was a great start, it was perfectly fried with a crispy coating encasing a delicately flavoured saffron rice with tangy goat cheese. It was served with a fantastic tomato sauce which tempered the goat cheese but enhanced the saffron flavour. The paired Gruet Sauvage was very citrus forward with hints of apple, and it accented the tomato sauce while cutting the richness of the dish.
The roasted Winter squash dish was deceptively simple with every component being perfectly executed. The luxurious white bean hummus lent a delicate earthiness to the sweet roasted squash which was brightened by the herby walnut pesto. I loved the hummus so much that I bought myself some white beans to try and replicate it! The accompanying Sauvignon Blanc had the acidity to cut the richness of the dish while having hints of stone fruit which worked with roasted squash.
I will be honest and say I have never tried “Sweetbreads” before because organ meat isn’t my comfort zone. The Veal Sweetbreads were nicely fried and were moist and juicy on the inside very reminiscent of a chicken thigh. It was served with sweet apple butter which added a subtle sweet richness while the preserved porcini mushroom added a delicate acidity to balance the dish. I cannot lie, those mushrooms were magic! If Chef Dodds ever decides to sell those, I will buy them all! This was served with a Reisling which generally isn’t my favourite type of white wine because it can be abrasive with intense grassy and petrol undertones. I will say with this dish worked well to temper any gamy mineral flavors from the Sweetbreads.
For me, the Bison Osso Bucco dish highlighted the meticulous thinking that went into crafting this menu. Bison is a lean dense protein which is not my vision of Osso Bucco. The bison was moist, flavourful, and served with the bone marrow which gave the meaty fatty richness of a traditional Osso Bucco. It was thoughtfully paired with cauliflower puree which gave the carby satisfaction and the nutty gremolata added crunch and bright acidity. I have never been able to coax cauliflower into a thing of beauty in my kitchen but clearly, Chef Dodds has no such challenge. The Domaine la tour vielle was light-bodied and had the acidity to balance the dish which reminded me of a Beaujolais.
The finale to my meal was the Autumn Frost Squash Torta, which felt like a lightly spiced buttery rich sponge cake. The accompanying candied pumpkin seeds and mascarpone Chantilly cream added to the decadence without being overtly sweet. The Moscato wine was a lovely finish to a great meal.
To me, NOSA can be described as casual fine dining with a thoughtful menu. Each course was meticulously curated and edited so each component stood out while simultaneously working together. It is off the beaten path, but it is a dining experience that felt great for the soul as well as the tummy. If you happen to get caught up in the frantic hustle and bustle of the holidays, head over to NOSA for a stunning dining experience and equally stunning views of the high desert mountains. Do yourself a favor, if you go for dinner take a look up on the way to your car, the blanket of stars overhead is magical.
NOSA Christmas & New Year's Menus
Kari Persad-Hernandez is a Trinidadian transplanted to the U.S.A. as a traveling spouse mom. She is an avid home cook that is consistently honing her cooking skills, recreating meals from her travels, and helping others experience new foodie adventures. She recently embarked on a recipe blog https://www.karifying.com/ to share her kitchen adventures.
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