Even if you’re not hankering for a big slab of meat, check out the classy Gruet Steak House (3201 Central Ave. NE, 505/256-9463, 5–10 p.m. daily, $29), housed in the pueblo-look Monte Vista fire station, built by the WPA in 1937. Though you can pick from six cuts of beef and a very tasty iceberg-and-blue-cheese salad, you might want to stick just to appetizers, such as the grilled oysters, and a glass of wine as an excuse to enjoy the great patio that now occupies the spot where the fire trucks used to roll in and out. Local Gruet vintages are the centerpiece of the wine list, but you’ve got plenty of other options too.
All sleek black and silver inside, stylish Nob Hill Bar & Grill (3128 Central Ave. SE, 505/266-4455, 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 11 a.m.–9 p.m. Sun.) is the domain of Sam Etheridge, renowned for his previous restaurant, Ambrozia. His newer effort is more casual, with hardly anything over $20, and familiar dishes get a little twist of fancy: a crab BLT, for instance, or steak frites with a trio of homemade ketchups; salads are only “6 bucks.” All-you-can-eat Sunday brunch ($20) is a gourmand’s undoing: chocolate croissants alongside mole enchiladas and crab-cake Benedict.
© Zora O'Neill from Moon Santa Fe, Taos & Albuquerque, 2nd edition