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Santacafé

October 18, 2006, 12:00 am
By
Executive chef David Sellers is well known for the prettiness of his plates and his dedication to local ingredients. But another charm of the offerings at Santacafé is the ***image1***surprise element. There is often an ingredient or two not touted in a dish's description that makes eating at one of the city's loveliest restaurants even more of a treat. For example, a recent appetizer (Santacafé has both menu staples as well as a rotating selection based on the seasons; but regarding the former, one can never go wrong with the crispy calamari and chile dipping sauce) sounded simple: Italian buffalo mozzarella with heirloom tomatoes from Truchas and basil pesto. What arrived rested in a light and tangy beet reduction that held the entire salad together. For entrées, the pan-seared Atlantic salmon was succulent, but the accompanying mussels were the real star: savory and juicy and surrounded by ratatouille tortellini and basil pistou. The double-cut pork chop also received rave reviews, in particular because of the peach and jalapeño chutney that gave the entire dish complementary notes of spice and sugar. Speaking of sugar, dessert may seem like a stretch after such a meal, but the Tahitian Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée is pretty hard to pass up, particularly if you enjoy having a Tahitian Vanilla Coke at Santacafé's very affordable lunch.

231 Washington Ave., 984-1788, www.santacafe.com. Lunch Monday-Saturday; dinner nightly. $$-$$$

 

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