Atop a hill near the Santa Fe Ski Basin lies Ten Thousand Waves, Japanese-themed public and private baths aimed at romance, relaxation and all points in between. And next to the bathhouse you'll find Izanami, a Japanese dining experience that touches upon well-known culinary staples while breaking new ground and altogether shirking sushi—this is something very old done in a fresh way. Just follow the sound of the waterfall to chef Kiko Rodrieguez' altogether brilliant eatery. Heavy wood beams set the stage for a Japanese manor-style dining room, and bathhouse guests wearing robes and smelling of herbs mingle with diners in chairs and on tatami mats. Dishes are tapas-inspired Asian fare such as sticky yaki onigiri rice balls ($4) and pork gyoza ($8) or generous portions of mixed vegetable tempura ($10) that even included an entire red chile, which was light on heat but full of flavor. Larger options abound as well, like ever-so-slightly spicy tori no karaage fried chicken ($12), and smoked pork ribs ($14) so tender and juicy they can barely cling to the bone. The restaurant even curates separate menus throughout the day, from the quick and easy lunch choices to an abbreviated 3-5 pm selection. Dinner, however, should be your objective if you're looking to splurge and, if you just can't decide, the omakase menu provides a chef-chosen selection of items at prices that can accommodate any budget, and, we hear, leaves you happy and full.
21 Ten Thousand Waves Way, 982-9304
Lunch and dinner Wednesday-Monday; Dinner only on Tuesday