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Come for the Wine, Stay for the Dinner at Arroyo Vino of Santa Fe

By Elisha Neubauer

Arroyo Vino is more than just a restaurant. As part of this unique eatery, you'll find a casual-fine dining restaurant, a wine shop, and gardens. Everything you need for an enjoyable night out, and a delicious meal, all in one place.

When it comes to categorizing Arroyo Vino, it can get a little tricky. They have a wide variety of options available on their menu in order to please just about any palate. However, if you absolutely had to come down to putting a label on Arroyo Vino, Brian Bargsten, Managing Partner, refers to it as Progressive American. "Chef Colin Shane searches for inspiration from many parts of the culinary world, using what he finds to create new dishes from the best ingredients," he says.

He's not kidding. When it comes to the menu, you can find foods that are representative of just about everywhere. You might find items like Chilled White Corn Soup, crafted with Blue Crab Cannelloni, Roasted Corn & Chanterelle Salad, Tarragon Oil, and Puffed Amaranth.

Featured on the menu right now is the Habachi Grilled Freshwater New Zealand Eel, which is made from Braised Daikon Radish, Red Jalapeno, Wild Enoki Mushrooms, Pickled Kumquat, Sushi Rice, and a Spicy Unagi Glaze. And of course, the menu always features their vegetable tasting plate.

Don't forget to try the Duo Of Peking Duck, created from Charred Peaches, Foraged Mushrooms, Toasted Farro, Lavender, Fennel Puree, and Lovage Gastrique. There is a Vegetable Tasting Plate which highlights the freshest produce from the on-site garden, as well as Bread and Oil tastings and Cheese Plates fashioned from three artisan cheeses and made to share.

The restaurant's mostly wooden décor appeals to the diner, as it is warm and inviting, with earthen tones accenting the room. The ambiance given off, both by the lighting and décor, is intimate. It is fine dining with a casual twist. "We hope to create an inviting and relaxed environment, with a sense of elegance," states Bargsten.

Perhaps one of the neatest aspects of Arroyo Vino, one that sets it apart from its competitors, is the fact that it is both a restaurant and a wine shop all in one. This allows diners to select a wine from the staggering 900-bottle international wine list and enjoy it right then and there with their meal.

But, while the décor is inviting and comfortable, and the wine list is impressive, they're not the reasons behind the restaurant's confounding success. If you were to ask Bargsten, he would have to tell you it's the people.

"Our staff is knowledgeable, friendly and courteous," he details. Whether it's the wait staff, the chefs, the décor, or the fact that the Kitchen prepares delicious and imaginative dishes from only the freshest ingredients, we'll never really know. But one thing can be said for sure?Arroyo Vino didn't get voted as one of the Top 100 Restaurants in America by OpenTable for just any old reason.

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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