Don't worry, Santa Fe Bar & Grill fans—Dr. Field Goods still has all the dishes you know and love, like the Galisteo grilled cheese. (Alex De Vore)
Dr. Field Goods enters a new era, and it's better than ever
There was a time when getting a table at Midtown eatery Dr. Field Goods was kind of a hassle. The brainchild of chef Josh Gerwin, the restaurant became such a hot commodity with its locally sourced ingredients and diverse menu that its tiny dining room became untenable at times. Those days are over—or, at least, Gerwin has more space now. See, he’s taken over the former Santa Fe Bar & Grill location in the DeVargas Center, and he and his staff have upped their games across the board.
Don’t get it wrong, you’ll still likely find a bit of a wait during peak dining times, but the new Dr. Field Goods location (187 Paseo de Peralta, DeVargas Center, (505) 471-0043) is so much larger than the last that it’s easier than ever to sample the goods. On top of that, Gerwin and his crew have done away with the year-round Christmas decorations, held onto certain popular dishes and much of the Bar & Grill staff, plus they’ve fostered a hopping atmosphere where you can hear the music and where servers seem genuinely pumped to help out customers.
I now know this intimately because I’ve dined at Gerwin’s new spot twice in quick succession—once because it’s close to my house and I was curious (read: not with my criticism goggles on), and another time because I loved the first time and I had to get that dang sandwich again. Even with my most critical eye going, I found nothing but excellence during my more professional visit, and that’s in everything from the servers who now exhibit more life than in the Santa Fe Bar & Grill days to the Aroma coffee brewed so well that my companion and I had a back and forth about how it had been a minute since we’d had such a damn fine cup.
During the first visit, however, we were just about eating, not evaluating, and it was a pleasure. Gerwin has added dishes of his own, but has also kept the Bar & Grill menu intact, including the Galisteo grilled cheese ($11.95, but more with add-ons such as Dr. Fied Goods-specific bacon and/or avocado), a simple but well-made combination of your choice of cheese, pesto, tomato and mayo on black bread. I know what you’re thinking—that grilled cheese is easy enough to make at home. Maybe so, but not like this, and I bet you’re not going to nail the fries at home, either. Grilled to a satisfying crisp, statements like, “Best I’ve ever had,” came out, and the pesto was, reportedly, an all-time favorite.
During that same visit, I myself had no choice but to sample the Cubano sandwich ($16.95), a combo of pulled pork and house made ham with Swiss cheese and mayo served betwixt a tangy bit of cabbage with oregano and lime. I can’t (or won’t) speak to the 50-point authenticity scale some foodies assign to Cuban sandwiches, but I can tell you that everything, from the two types of pork to the massive potato roll from the Chocolate Maven, was crafted to my liking. Gerwin himself ran it out to the table, too, and it’s always nice to see a head chef willing to get out of the kitchen and help out their team on the floor.
At nearly $17, one might fear inflation had seeped into the pricing, but given the hulking size of the sandwich, it can easily become two meals. And let me tell you something: Somehow, the second day, it’s even better. Likely the flavors of the cabbage and lime having a chance to settle a bit? Whatever the reason, popping it in the oven at 350 for about 12 minutes—cabbage and all—works wonders; know that if you try it.
During the second visit which, if I’m honest, was about eating that Cubano again, I brought a different companion to get a different take. And though they wound up only ordering spicy chicken wings ($10.95 for six, $18.95 for the full dozen) like some kind of early-aught frat boy on a mission, the wings were reportedly beyond delicious and packed a tender texture. We began with the Greek-style calamari (listed as market price on the menu, $12.95 for our visit), which seemed like pretty run-of-the-mill squid to us, even if it did come with a tasty tzatziki. Next visit I might zero in on the toasted coconut shrimp (market price) or the flash-fried oysters breaded in part with cornmeal (also market price), but this dish sufficed, even if it was too heavy on the salt.
Again, though, I wanted—nay, needed—that Cubano, and it was better the second time. Of course, Dr. Field Goods’ newest iteration is still new as we know it, and it will likely continue to improve over time once Gerwin and company learn how to best address a higher volume. He even kept popular desserts from the Santa Fe Bar & Grill days (cajeta sundae, $7, and mud pie, $8? Glad you’re still here). Which is to say that Gerwin has somehow rolled up the best things about his own eatery and the Bar & Grill. This one’s a winner through and through, and I’m sure there are more surprises in store. Just remember a lot’s in flux right now, and I probably wouldn’t have even reviewed the place yet had it not been for a pair of phenomenal meals.
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