A Taste of The Big City in Small Town New Mexico
In my continued search to explore the best food that Las Cruces, NM has to offer I stumbled upon Savoy de Mesilla. From what I could find on line, it looked to be a bite of the big city. More in line with the restaurants one would frequent in big cities like DC, NYC, or LA, with fancy presentation and great food. It more than came through on that promise. I was seated outside on their covered patio area. The tables outside were stone and each built around a charcoal / gas fire pit that I’m sure they light at night. Having the fire burning in the middle of the table must add even more ambiance to the experience. Sadly, they didn’t have these lit at the time because it was still early. I arrived at the beginning of happy hour around 4:30 pm. The server was quickly over asking me if I’d like to start off with something to drink. I ordered a glass of wine keeping with my current trend of trying to expand my knowledge of wines.
For my appetizer I got the Sesame Ahi Tuna. While the presentation was delightful, the portion was very small. This place really shines with the presentation of their dishes. Luckily for me, I was there during happy hour so the Tuna appetizer was half off. I would have been disappointed to pay full price for such a small dish. The slices of tuna were crusted with a light layer of sesame seeds on top of a crisp wanton shell and covered with chopped avocado which added a nice creamy texture and flavor when combined together. It was then all drizzled with soy sauce. Unfortunately, the soy sauce overpowered everything else and didn’t allow the flavor of the fresh tuna to come through. I would not get this again given the oportunity.
Next came the main course. I went with the always tasty Filet Mignon, and that made up for the Sesame Ahi Tuna, which I had found to be lacking. I ordered the steak medium rare, which is the only way you should ever get steak. If you like it medium or medium well… I’m sorry, but you’re simply wrong ;-). The steak was cooked to perfection, the outside crisply seared and the inside warm and very pink. On top was a cherry reduction sauce which really brought out the flavors of the steak without overwhelming. The steak came with a side of mushroom risotto which had a cool, creamy butter favor, with the richness of the mushroom permeating through. It was a perfect complement to the Filet Mignon.
My family and close friends know that I never turn down a good desert and I had seen crème brulee on the menu earlier which is one of my all-time favorites. I wasn’t about to pass that up! I also ordered a cup of coffee to top it all off. The coffee came out before the desert and it was unlike anything I had ever seen. It was called Siphon coffee, was made right at the table and was unlike any coffee maker I had seen before. There was a little burner on the bottom which when lit began boiling water that was in a glass container above it. Then a second glass container was placed on top of this one with a cylindrical tube descending down into the water and the coffee grinds up top. As the water boiled, that cylinder siphoned the boiling water up into the compartment above with the coffee grinds, making the coffee. Once the water had all been siphoned up, the burner was turned off and the freshly made coffee drained from the top compartment back down into the bottom leaving the coffee grinds up top. It resulted in a delightfully fresh cup of strong coffee.
Having just witnessed that amazing contraption out came the crème brulee, and again I was pleasantly surprised. Not only did the crème brulee look great, but it was engulfed in a larger bowl with fog billowing over the edges. The effect was great reminding me of Halloween decorations from my childhood and creating a truly unique presentation. I was delighted by both the look and the taste. As I said before, crème brulee has been a long time favorite of mine, ever since I first tried it at an Italian restaurant back home with my mother. This wasn’t exactly a traditional crème brulee as it contained fresh berries and bits of pound cake, but the flavor combinations and taste were fantastic none the less.
After that strong cup of coffee of course I had to run to the men’s room after taking care of the check. Even the bathroom had a very unique element and appeal. After doing my business I went to wash my hands. Only… I couldn’t find the faucet. Then I noticed a little lever to the side that said “pull me” on it. I pulled it up and surprisingly water cascaded down from the ceiling into the sink. It wasn’t exactly the tidiest way to wash your hands. With the water falling from a solid four feet above you, it was difficult to keep from splashing the water on your clothes. Cleverly however, they had positioned a small plant on the ledge behind the sink basin, which was routinely watered by the splashing waters as patrons would wash their hands. I thought it quite a clever way of reusing the water, and something I had never seen before. It left me with an overall very positive impression of the restaurant as a whole.
Savoy de Mesilla gave me the strong impression of a fancy restaurant that you would find in a much larger more developed city than Las Cruces, with excellent service and prices within the typical range for a restaurant of this caliber. Though people used to the more typically low prices of many restaurants in Las Cruces may find it a bit pricey. I would highly recommend Savoy de Mesilla to anyone passing through and looking for some quality food or any local looking for a more fancy night out. Perfect for a classy date night with the fire pits lighting up the face of that special someone next to you.