Staking a claim: Santa Fe’s Horno takes street food inside, with delicious results – Albuquerque Journal

Staking a claim: Santa Fe’s Horno takes street food inside, with delicious results

A bouillabaisse for two (market price) is filled with mussels, clams, fish and shrimp. (Molly Boyle/For the Journal)

In Santa Fe, calling your new restaurant Horno means staking a bold claim. By referencing the oldest oven around, the name conjures up a fine-dining venture that might try to encapsulate the City Different’s oldest influences. But you won’t find pueblo bread or empanadas at chef-owner David Sellers’ refreshing and well-priced new Horno.

Sellers has variously called the venture “food for the people” and “an Italian-leaning gastropub,” but Horno’s menu is really all over the map. Its multicultural stew of street food influences is redolent of Sellers’ seven years at the Street Food Institute, the food truck-focused nonprofit and culinary training program he helped found in 2014. At its three trucks and two cafés, the Street Food Institute seems to serve everything under the sun – and it’s consistently good. Sellers has also logged time at Santacafé and as chef-owner of the late, lamented Amavi (2007-12).

Chef Sellers and his team – which includes his wife, Heather Sellers, pastry chef Sarah Greene and a youthful, eager-to-please wait staff – began renovating the former Il Piatto space on Marcy Street late last year, opening in June. The new restaurant is lighter, brighter and a little louder. But you can’t blame people for the volume.

Horno is turning out food that provokes both enthusiasm and delight.

In nearly every dish, cross-cultural flavors are married and in love. On the small-plates side, chicken wings ($13) are basted with Thai crab caramel, smoked and dotted with piñon.

Soft, succulent agnolotti pasta ($11) with ricotta and oyster mushrooms is served in a bath of rich yellow corn butter.

Vegetables ($10) get roasted with miso and coated with mint, basil and piñon vinaigrette.

Horno re-imagines tuna tartare ($16) with raw yellowfin chunks on a crispy black-pepper risotto cake drizzled with anchovy butter. (Molly Boyle/For the Journal)

Tuna tartare ($16), a staple of many local menus that often doesn’t earn its place, is excellently re-imagined with raw yellowfin chunks assembled on a crispy black-pepper risotto cake and drizzled with savory anchovy butter.

Seemingly basic salads benefit from Sellers’ light, creative touch. A roasted beet, greens and cucumber mix ($12) is invigorated by the complex textures of crunchy pepita-piñon granola and tender tofu feta, dressed in a zippy dill dressing.

An arugula salad ($13) is served with pickled carrots, hazelnuts, puffed quinoa, creamy goat cheese and a tarragon-mustard vinaigrette. (Molly Boyle/For the Journal)

An arugula salad ($13) gets unexpected thrills from gingery pickled carrots, hazelnuts, puffed quinoa, creamy goat cheese and a tarragon-mustard vinaigrette.

Of the two sandwich options, the restaurant had run out of Sellers’ two-time winner of the Green Chile Cheeseburger Smackdown ($14). The cheddar-blanketed burger includes a bacon-onion patty and secret sauce, served with fries or salad. We contented ourselves with a stellar oyster po’boy ($16), win which crunchily coated and wonderfully briny bivalves are nestled in a crusty baguette with lettuce, tomato, spicy remoulade and Louisiana hot sauce.

Even the menu’s “big plates” are well-priced and sizable enough to share. Like a few nearby diners, we were bowled over by the 48-Hour Korean BBQ Shortrib ($28), which sensually fell off the bone and was plated with kimchi fried rice, star-anise-scented pickled mushrooms and fermented chile paste.

A bouillabaisse for two (market price) is piled high with mussels, clams, fish and shrimp, served in a garlicky saffron broth in a bowl lined with slices of focaccia.

(“Why are these mussels so plump?” asked my Greek dinner companion, who is often skeptical of seafood in Santa Fe.) A creamy, layered summer berry parfait ($10) is one of four dessert options, along with a semifreddo ice cream trio of chocolate, strawberry and pistachio ($10) that celebrates the season.

And along with the inclination to try every dish on the far-ranging menu, you may feel obliged to drink more than one affordable wine by the glass. We loved a spritzy Broadbent Vinho Verde ($8) and the juicy, dark-fruited Klinkerbrink Cabernet ($11). To pair with the bouillabaisse, we were guided to a bottle of crisp, zesty Domaine Louis Michel Chablis ($57).

Horno’s affordable, creative list roams from the West Coast to all over Europe, while four beers on tap celebrate the best of New Mexico breweries.

Although the restaurant was half-empty one weeknight in late June, Horno’s crowds are now beginning to rival those of its well-established Marcy Street neighbor, La Boca. Both restaurants are really two sides of the same coin, each one featuring a longtime Santa Fe chef at the top of his creative game. For my money this summer, however, I’ll keep going back to the new kid on the block.


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

Nativo Sponsored Content

Ad Tango


taboola desktop

MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS

1
Street smarts: Thai Street eatery offers tasty, spicy Southeast ...
Dining Reviews
As restaurateurs go, Michelle Waterson ... As restaurateurs go, Michelle Waterson and Joshua Gomez have unorthodox backgrounds.< ...
2
New flavors in Old Town
Dining Reviews
Amid all the closures plaguing the ... Amid all the closures plaguing the local restaurant industry, it's encouraging to see the number of ...
3
Bistro brings a taste of France to the high ...
Dining Reviews
Le Pommier is no longer a ... Le Pommier is no longer a secret, so do yourself a favor and ... enjoy
4
Heavenly hummus: Alquds Mediterranean Grill sets itself apart
Dining Reviews
Hummus is going through an identity ... Hummus is going through an identity crisis. Supermarket shelves are crowded with bastardized forms o ...
5
A culinary adventure: Liu Liu Liu serves Taiwanese food ...
Dining Reviews
Liu Liu Liu is an upscale ... Liu Liu Liu is an upscale restaurant like you've never seen before.You squint at the m ...
6
Built to last: El Papaturro upholds El Salvador's remarkable ...
Dining Reviews
Albuquerque is in the midst of ... Albuquerque is in the midst of a boom in Central and South American restaurants. In the past few yea ...
7
Piece of the pie: Slice Parlor offers tasty thin-crust ...
Dining Reviews
The idea of serving pizza by ... The idea of serving pizza by the slice grew out of the shift from coal- to gas-powered ovens in 1930 ...
8
Sip and savor the best of Santa Fe's summer ...
Dining Reviews
From pizza and cocktails, and lobster ... From pizza and cocktails, and lobster and pesto to the essence of summer in vegetables
9
Casting a spell: Voodoo Girl Pizza & Pints offers ...
Brews News
Kimberly Lujan and her brother, Timothy ... Kimberly Lujan and her brother, Timothy McMahon, cycled through a few hundred names for their new pi ...