The name means "the nest," so it's fitting that diners can get cozy and rest assured that there will be a variety of fuel on the fire (for the grill, that is). The well-trained waiter will remind you about this, and on our recent night, it was piñon. While the nightly housemade pasta special was a treat for one of our companions, most entrees here feature a central protein with a stellar sauce and roasted seasonal vegetables with enough smoke flavor to render the fire unforgettable. Notable values include the 7-ounce portion of petite tender steak paired with dijon peppercorn sauce ($26) and the grilled branzino, an Italian version of sea bass served with the tail intact ($32). Starters of crispy baby duck agrodolce (read: elevated chicken wings) with raspberry sauce ($14) and a visually stunning salad with goat cheese and figs set the stage, and cocktails such as the cucumber mint vodka spritzer ($11) add something to the set. Based on the packed house near the end of opera season, we're not the only ones who are glad the curtains have reopened for fine dining in the village of Tesuque.

El Nido
1577 Bishops Lodge Road, Tesuque, 954-1272
Dinner nightly, brunch Sunday
Twitter: @ElNidoSantaFe
Instagram: @elnidorestaurant