Santa Fe Grill
From the owner of Metropolitan Grill, Santa Fe Grill offers a new take on New Mexican–style food that even includes a design-your-own guacamole bar.
Santa Fe Grill
3120 E. Sunshine St., Springfield,
11 a.m.–10 p.m.; bar open until 11 p.m.
$ –$ $
What better way to describe the new Santa Fe Grill than let the restaurant do it. “Santa Fe Grill is a mix of: Cowboy Americana, Spanish, Old Mexico, Native American Pueblo Indian and a touch of the Ozarks thrown in,” as quoted from their Facebook page. Well, they nailed it. The owners turned the former Schlotzsky’s Deli space into a chic and modern restaurant with a big city feel. It’s true; there are a lot of small tables in a not-so-giant space, but they did a great job outfitting the tables with small hints of Mexican flare.
Case in point: “Is that straight tequila you are pouring me?” was my first thought as our waitress approached. Even though I might have been game, she wasn’t filling my glass with tequila—the water pitchers are fashioned to look like glass tequila cantinas. They get you in the perfect mind set for a margarita. I didn’t indulge on this trip, but I tried the Bottom of the Barrel margarita on my last visit, and it was perfect.
Across the way at the build-your-own guacamole bar, we were tempted to throw together some random items (cucumber and cumin, possibly?) but decided to let experts build it for us. We chose the Santa Fe Style. It already had such a great mixture, so we just subbed fresh onion for the current tomatoes. The avocado, lime, cilantro and salt tasted so smooth together with crisp bites of onion to add in some flavor and texture.
During dinner, there were a lot of chicken fajitas floating around our table, which all got rave reviews from my family. I chose the Vato Loco for my entree, which is the restaurant’s signature three-cheese burrito. It was stuffed with potatoes, green chili, pinto beans and black beans all wrapped in an oversized flour tortilla and topped with red chili and cilantro sour cream. Oh, and don’t forget the three cheeses; those made the dish. I opted to add chicken for an additional $3, which was well worth it. The burrito itself was so jam-packed with all of the amazing ingredients that it took a knife and fork to get it cut down enough to manage a bite. Even with its enormity, each bite had a great combination of smoky cheese mixed with the perfectly cooked potatoes and tender chicken. The smoked cheese really made the burrito stand out; it was the key to keeping all of the goodies held together, and the smoky flavor was prevalent in every bite. The cilantro sour cream was a treat and gave it the perfect finishing touch.
Our dessert also deserves a serious high-five. The warm agave sopapilla cheesecake topped with cinnamon ice cream was one of the best desserts I’ve ever had. That’s a bold statement, I know. But trust me, it deserves it. After the first bite, we were glad my dad forced us into dessert. The cheesecake was surrounded by the warm cinnamon-sugar sopapilla, causing it to take on a semi-melty consistency. While the sopapilla trapped the cheesecake, the ice cream (with its not-too-overpowering cinnamon flavor) was a crisp and cool flavor addition that made every bite leaving you wanting one more.