Tratoria Nostrani, a much lauded (and equally infamous, more on that later) Italian off the main square in Santa Fe is The Monster’s next stop on what is a never-ending eating tour. It’s Christmas and we’re doing an early “dinner before dinner” so it’s quite and cozy inside early in the evening.
Expect a seasonal menu of Italian delicacies along with a voluminous wine and port list from which to enjoy yourself. A few oddities at Nostrani, your Amex is not welcome nor is perfume or cologne. Now, if you walk in reeking of Axe Body Spray will they kick you out? They very well might and they should. The policy is explicitly stated on the menu and impressed upon you when you make a reservation. If you’re not kicked out don’t expect much love the rest of the evening even if it is Chanel #5.
The decor, like many restaurants in the area, will not wow you. It’s a touch dated if not fully pedestrian. You can instead impress your date with a bottle of expensive vino (Montrachet anyone?) as you peruse the menu.
Antipasta include burrata and roasted grape tomato salad and basil walnut dressing or cured salmon with smoked trout pate and roasted beets as examples while selections off of the Secondi on this night are chestnut honey glazed quail with red wine reduction and veal scaloppini with water buffalo taleggio and prosciutto cotto.
A course of pastas is in order so the cocoa ravioli with pumpkin and brown butter, gnocchi with lobster and roasted cauliflower and duck agnolotti with black pepper amaretto sauce are The Monster’s call for this evening.
They are all fantastic and quickly devoured leaving The Monster wishing he could order more. Alas, another restaurant calls and the stomach is only so elastic.
Why go? You smell. Really bad.
Monster rating: 4/5 Monsters
304 Johnson Street
Santa Fe, NM 87501