Andrew Cooper, the chief chef at Terra Restaurant at Four Seasons Rancho Encantado, has managed to turn melted cheese into a delicacy that's to be shared with everyone at your table. It's his twist on queso fundido ($14, it's not on the menu, you have to ask), a Mexican dish associated with pico de gallo and chorizo. But leave it up to Cooper, who's known for his green chile cheeseburger, to turn it into a whopper by adding onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, avocados and local chile. You forget that the chorizo, the main ingredient, is even there, making it, in his words, "a New Mexican-style cheese dip." It's one of the more filling appetizers on the menu, whose very unorthodox dishes pleasingly range from blue corn crusted trout ($22) to sweet crab chile relleno ($17). The trout is a healthier version of fish and chips. The batter is blue corn, soaked in buttermilk, and the trout is coated with blue corn meal before it's fried. There is a chipotle dipping sauce. As for the sweet crab chile relleno, it's as sweet as the relleno is amply stuffed, making it one of the best around.
198 State Road 592, 946-5800
Lunch and dinner daily; brunch on Sunday
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