Bouche, in French, means "mouth," and that pretty much encapsulates this new restaurant's raison d'être: Bouche (capital B) exists because of, and for, your mouth. Lest that launch us into weird tangents, though, I must clarify that Bouche's oral fixation has to do exclusively with food and wine. In a cozy adobe building at the corner of Guadalupe and West Alameda Streets, chef Charles Dale (formerly of Rancho Encantado's Terra) redefines culinary excellence in Santa Fe. Using fresh, often local ingredients and his classical French training, Dale has created a bistro menu that ranges from authentically Gallic plates like escargot and foie gras to inventive reinterpretations of classics, such as Bouche's delightfully airy version of a Niçoise salad. Wines are carefully selected, service is tactful, and quality reigns supreme—but that doesn't mean you have to fork over your life savings. A small-plates menu and many surprisingly affordable options make Bouche an equal-opportunity place of indulgence.
451 W Alameda St., 982-6297
Dinner Tuesday-Saturday. $25-$40