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Look Inside Santo, Hosea Rosenberg’s Modern Tribute to New Mexican Cuisine

From the creator of Blackbelly, a new eatery that gets back to the chef’s roots

Photo: Jonathan Phillips
Santo, Hosea Rosenberg’s New Mexican restaurant, opens Saturday in Boulder
Jonathan Phillips

Five patron saints preside over the dining room at Santo, Hosea Rosenberg’s latest Boulder restaurant. The New Mexican eatery opens Saturday at the corner of Broadway and Alpine Avenue in a shopping plaza, and these hand-carved “santo” sculptures, along with bunches of dehydrated chile peppers (also a neon entrance sign) set the tone for the casual new spot. Brought to Boulder by the owner of Blackbelly Market and Butcher, Santo will be a more approachable dinner option for fans of the former Top Chef winner. Rosenberg says he is giving traditional dishes from his native state a refined touch.

“The flavors should make you think of New Mexico, remind you of a time and place,” Rosenberg says, explaining that his food isn’t meant to be an exact replicant of its inspiration. “We’re not straying too far, though,” he adds.

In Taos and Santa Fe, restaurants offer their signature takes on a classic dish, from posole to green chile, tostadas, and enchiladas. Rosenberg includes those staples here as well and also doesn’t shy away from heat in plates such as the green chile pork and potato stew. Then he adds little modernizations that pop in a huitlacoche corn soup, for example, and a wedge salad with pickled onions, poblano pepper “rajas,” and creamed corn vinaigrette. The Navajo fry bread is a crispy pillow topped with refried beans, slaw, crema, and wild boar. Many menu items can be made vegetarian — perhaps not so Santa Fe.

Photo: Jonathan Phillips
Mini versions of the Navajo fry bread with refried beans, crema, slaw, and wild boar
Jonathan Phillips

But who’s to argue about tradition when a newcomer creates such a fresh take? From succulents to splashes of color across the booths, and a sunburst chandelier, Wheelhouse Design Studio (River and Woods, Cart-Driver) has created a little strip mall haven inside Santo. The hand-carved saints by Taos “Santero” Leonardo Salazar add to the mix, along with framed portraits and photographs by Stephen Collector.

Booths and tables line the perimeter of the space, but the bar is front and center with 360-degree seating and a draft, can, wine, and cocktail list that will make happy hour here formidable. Seasonal cocktails, such as an El Dorado 8-year rum with Contratto bianco, cranberry, apple, and Earl Grey, feel distinctly Southwest.

Rosenberg has brought many of his Blackbelly employees over to start Santo, including chef de cuisine Arun Moghe and director of operations Ian Reusch. Under their watch (as well as that of the five patron saints), the new restaurant will perfect its daily dinner service before tackling lunch and brunch.

Status: Santo officially opens at 4 p.m. Saturday, November 18. Find it at 1265 Alpine Avenue in the Ideal Broadway Shops.

Photo: Jonathan Phillips
Chiles hang from the porch in front of Santo off of Boulder’s Alpine Avenue
Jonathan Phillips
Photo: Jonathan Phillips
The bar at Santo serves up a seasonal Sangre with El Dorado eight-year rum, Contratto Bianco vermouth, cranberry, apple, and Earl Grey
Jonathan Phillips
Photo: Jonathan Phillips
Some of the booths at Santo sit next to statues of saints, such as San Judas, the patron of desperate cases and lost causes.
Jonathan Phillips
Photo: Jonathan Phillips
Start the meal with chips and a choice of salsas including verde, fuego, and seco
Jonathan Phillips
Photo: Jonathan Phillips
A pair of tables get a front-row seat to the kitchen at Santo
Jonathan Phillips
Photo: Jonathan Phillips
Santo serves up chicken mole empanadas with avacado crema and dried chile paste
Jonathan Phillips
Photo: Jonathan Phillips
Chicken mole empanadas at Santo
Jonathan Phillips
Photo: Jonathan Phillips
Tables and booths in Santo
Jonathan Phillips
Photo: Jonathan Phillips
Mini versions of Santo’s smoked trout tostadas with blue corn tortilla, avocado puree, cabbage, and corn
Jonathan Phillips
Photo: Jonathan Phillips
Overlooking the patio at Santo
Jonathan Phillips
Photo: Jonathan Phillips
Santo serves up the red chile posole with hominy, radish, cabbage, and avocado, and your choice of chicken, pork, or squash
Jonathan Phillips
Photo: Jonathan Phillips
Chef Hosea Rosenberg puts the finishing touches on his smoked corn soup at Santo
Jonathan Phillips
Photo: Jonathan Phillips
A closeup look at Santo's smoked corn soup with huitlacoche, corn salsa, and red chile
Jonathan Phillips
Photo: Jonathan Phillips
The kitchen preps mini versions of their smashed green chile cheeseburgers at Santo
Jonathan Phillips
Photo: Jonathan Phillips
Santo serves up a mini version of the smashed green chile cheeseburger with aioli and ketchup
Jonathan Phillips
Photo: Jonathan Phillips
Plush benches and chairs line tables along the back wall in the main dining room at Santo
Jonathan Phillips
Photo: Jonathan Phillips
In the mood for something lighter? Try Santo's kale and quinoa with grilled cactus, apple, jicama, queso fresco, piñon, and almonds
Jonathan Phillips
Photo: Jonathan Phillips
Instead of chips and salsa, try the queso fundido with oven melted cheeses, red pepper jelly, candied pepitas, and your choice of chorizo, mushrooms, or squash, served with tortillas
Jonathan Phillips

Santo

3998 Hillsboro Pike, , TN 37215 (615) 336-3426 Visit Website

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