The little building on the corner of Guadalupe Street and Montezuma Avenue has been a lot of things over the years. But with Paloma, it has finally become the upscale neighborhood restaurant that feels like a home. Nothing is forced here, perhaps because it seems owner Marja Martin has considered everything. The Mexican restaurant is not too loud, nor is it whisper-quiet. You can hide in a corner of the bar or dine in the open with friends. There's no part of the menu that gets short shrift. Cocktails are elegantly crafted, highlighted by the pisco sour ($9) and an old fashioned that uses vanilla cherry bark bitters instead of Angostura ($11). It's creative, but not overbearing. So, too, with the three different ceviches ($14-16) and a trio of taco options (all $6) that come on hand-pressed tortillas. Vegetarian options appear at nearly every turn. Chef Nathan Mayes' entrees begin with squash blossom enmoladas ($20), in which the tortillas are dragged through a tangy mole before being rolled. The braised short ribs ($24) come with an elote torte, while the terrifically flavored sea bass ($26) is offered Veracruz-style, with tomatoes, olives and mojo verde. It may be a bit painful for Santa Feans to know Martin and Mayes have roots in Texas, but they have long connections to New Mexico—and we don't still care about that, do we? Take a spoonful of that ceviche before you answer.
401 S Guadalupe St.,