Ouvre la Bouche Bistro

Question: How do you pack a restaurant on opening night? Answer: You have a big following. And that’s exactly what happened this weekend when Bouche Bistro, Chef Charles Dale’s new eatery, opened in Santa Fe. Dale took over the vintage adobe building on West Alameda Street that formerly housed Agua Santa.


Bouche, just a couple of weeks ago, was a work in progress photo/Steve Collins

Dale came to Santa Fe from Aspen in 2008 to open Terra, at the then-new, Auberge Encantado Resort (now the Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado). He left when the mega-chain took over last fall. Luckily, he opted to stay in town and open his petite bistro.

We stopped by a few weeks ago to chat with the chef about his new project. We didn’t think he’d make his projected opening, February 22nd, but this seasoned restaurateur (he previously owned two popular Aspen dining spots) made it.


Bouche, ready for opening, photo/Steve Collins

We were there for dinner on opening night. The cozy banquette seating brought back memories of dining at Les Halles in New York City In the pre-Anthony Bourdain days. Bouche feels more like New York or Paris than Santa Fe and on opening night, it was a very urbane crowd.


“Les Halles Onion Soup” s great winter starter, photo/Steve Collins

The menu is French Bistro with a bit of Santa Fe thrown in. The oblong menu sits at your place and will remain there for you to take home if you wish. There are small plates, Seasonal Salads, Entrees, Sides and Desserts listed.  It was a cold night and Steve started with a bowl of their rich onion soup followed by the small size portion of mussels. The house-baked sourdough is a great tool for sopping up the wine-infused broth that has just the right amount of red chile in it. I had the velvety foie gras (preparation differs nightly) and duck confit which came plated with white beans and kale. We were full and skipped dessert, though there were some decadent choices including a chocolate soufflé with the word “Nutella” in its name.


Bouche’s open kitchen, photo/Steve Collins

Good luck to Chef Dale and his new bistro.  Bon appétit!

Bouche  Bistro is a 451 West Alameda Street, (505) 982-6297 (enter on Water Street).  They are serving dinner Tuesday through Sunday from 5:30 to 9:30pm. Reservations are strongly recommended.

We did an interview with Chef Dale when he was at Terra. At the time, he generously shared his Lobster Mac ‘n Cheese with Mushrooms  recipe. Mac ‘n Cheese is still in the menu and with this recipe, you can make it at home. At Bouche, it comes in a covered pot and you can order it “au natural, with wild mushrooms or a bit of foie gras.


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