Santa Fe dining: What’s new at the Old House

What’s new at the Old House? The  Chef de Cuisine. Evan Doughty arrived at the restaurant at Santa Fe’s Eldorado Hotel & Spa in May of 2012 and he’s doing a great job. The restaurant boasted AAA’s Four Diamond rating when local celebrity chef, Martin Rios was at the helm, but never quite recovered their balance when he left in 2006. They have now. Chef Doughty seems to have nailed it. Once again, the kitchen is turning out good eats and creative dishes.

Santa Fe dining

The dining room at the Old House has lots of Santa Fe style, photo/courtesy Eldorado Hotel & Spa

Chef Doughty, a Los Angeles native, attended the prestigious Culinary Institute of America (the other CIA) in Hyde Park, New York where he met his wife, Jen. After graduating, both worked in restaurants and wineries throughout California, including Santa Barbara and the Napa Valley. Just prior to coming to Santa Fe, Doughty was Chef/co-owner of Feast in Florence, Oregon.

The Old House’s menu features New American cuisine with Santa Fe influences. Regional foods are important to this young chef. “Moving from Oregon to Santa Fe really didn’t change my style of cooking,” he said. “What changed was my ingredient list.” He used to have a lot of local fresh seafood, a large variety of wild berries and mushrooms. Now he works with chiles and piñon nuts and other traditional New Mexican foods.

Santa Fe dining

Work of art: Nidah Spa Tuna- seared tuna, avocado with chipotle sesame drizzle, photo/Steve Collins

The Old House has recently started working with the local farm to table organization and hopes to bring in more locally sourced items. “Produce is number one on that list,” says Chef Doughty, “and will only be sustainable through the growing season.” The restaurant will also source some beef, lamb, chicken and even some local cheeses locally. “I used a lot of local products in Oregon,” he said. “I hope to be able to do it here as well, it just takes a lot of time to develop good relationship with the right producers to make it happen on a regular basis.”

Santa Fe dining

The Agave Lounge, photo/courtesy Eldorado Hotel & Spa

The Old House’s dining room, one of the most beautiful in town, is decorated in true Santa Fe style; earth tones, a kiva fireplace and wonderful art on the walls. The Agave Lounge, adjacent to the dining room is popular with locals and has some great deals on their Happy Hour menu. The restaurants rebirth is great news for the Santa Fe dining scene. If you haven’t been to the Old House in a while, go back and give it a try. This Old House is alive and well and waiting for you.

Santa Fe dining

Firecracker shrimp, photo courtesy Eldorado Hotel & Spa

Chef de Evan Doughty shares his Firecracker Shrimp with Santa Fe Traveler’s readers.

 Firecracker Shrimp, Smoked Gouda Grits with Red Chimichurri

Chef de Cuisine Evan Doughty

Serves 4 as an appetizer

12 U15 shrimp with tails on, peeled and deveined
1 TBS Extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp Paprika
1 cup Cooked grits
½ cup Smoked Gouda, grated
1 oz Butter
2 oz Heavy cream
1 cup Red chimichurri (recipe below)
Cilantro Sprigs to garnish

Heat a skillet with a splash of EVOO.  Add  the shrimp and season with salt and pepper. Cook until pink. Remove from the pan and keep warm. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in the cream. Gradually add the cooked grits, stirring constantly with a whisk. Remove pan from heat and stir in the gouda cheese. Adjust the consistency with milk if needed. Divide the grits among four appetizer plates, top with 3 shrimp per plate. Garnish with red chimichurri and cilantro sprigs.

Red Chimichurri:
(Makes 1 cup)

1 small Onion
½ cup Olive oil
2 TBS  Sherry vinegar
½ cup Flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp Paprika
2 cloves Garlic
Dash Tobasco sauce
½ tsp   Kosher salt
½ tsp Black pepper - freshly ground

Put all ingredients into a food processor and pulse until smooth

Author’s note: We were guests of the Old House for dinner.


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