White tablecloths and white pillars bordering Santacafé's patio make you feel like you're at a wedding in the Hamptons. Located just a couple blocks from the Plaza, the website for this mid-to-high-range restaurant boasts of its patronage from the "power lunch" crowd, and we were concerned there may be a dress code when we dropped in on a Friday night. An older gentleman wearing shorts and a Hawaiian shirt near the entrance of the back patio, however, made us feel welcome. Vegetarians, heads up: The menu skews toward meatiness. We ordered a half bottle of Amalaya Malbec ($26) and started off with fried calamari as an appetizer, which was crispy and light and came with a buttery chile lime juice dipping sauce ($12.50). My pork porterhouse was juicy and covered in a cider-based glaze that tasted like Christmas (the holiday, not the chile); it stole the show on my plate ($29). My date ordered a rib-eye that was comparably drier than my plate, and had a side of even drier pomme frites, which are like very crispy hash browns ($28). In fairness, we think the frites were meant to be dipped in the creamy Chimayó red chile sauce with which it came. We took a buzzy stroll downtown after capping off our meal with a glass of Ormeus Tokaji dessert wine ($12).
231 Washington Ave., 984-1788
Lunch and dinner daily