Formerly a tucked away gathering retreat for celebrities and other notable figures in the 1960s, The Compound Restaurant’s original adobe style and clandestine location along popular Canyon Road in Santa Fe, New Mexico boasts intrigue and beckons those who revel in fine culinary performance. Noted as a Santa Fe landmark, the establishment features modern renovations and significant design carried out by designer Alex Girard of this once integral part of the original McComb residential compound.
The Compound was reopened in 2000, and since that date, the restaurant’s reputation has steadily grown from being known as ”the new restaurant on the block” to “one of the best fine dining establishments in the area”. From the whitewashed walls inside the eatery to the designer’s crafty and skillful renovations, to the memorable typography décor and the sunken bar (and even the table settings!), The Compound will leave you with an enamored desire to linger longer and embrace the history, modern enhancements and intimate ambiance the place has to offer.
Owner of The Compound, Chef Mark Kiffen, incorporates provincial ingredients into his contemporary American cuisine, while leaving patrons spellbound with his exhilarating menu lineup. The James Beard Foundation named Chef Kiffen “Best Chef In the Southwest” in 2005. There’s really no wonder once you’ve enjoyed a meal at his establishment.
Prickly Pear Margarita, Sprig Martini & Stag’s Leap Chardonnay
The Compound’s signature cocktails were the Prickly Pear Margarita and the Sprig Martini the evening my husband and I dined there. Both under $15 each, we were delighted with the presentations and flavor enhancements of each one. The Sprig Martini was served in a traditional stemmed martini glass and was crafted with crushed mint, fresh lime juice, and Svedka Vodka. I enjoyed eyeing the fragments of fresh dark green mint leaves dance around in this libation with each sip I took, then enjoyed, then repeated. The Prickly Pear Margarita arrived in all its colorful splendor in a simple unassuming vessel. This concoction was constructed with prickly pear puree, fresh lime juice, Triple Sec and Sauza Blue Silver Tequila. A lovely beginning to our amazing experience at The Compound.
INSIDER’S TIP: Take a stroll to the restaurant’s intimate lounge area, where designer and artist Alex Girard actually sunk the bar into the floor…a conversation piece all to itself! We were informed by our server that this notable designer and artist sunk his personal bar in his private residence and decided to carry out his idea in the restaurant as well.
Tuna Tartar Starter
A classic beginning to any meal at The Compound, we indulged in the Tuna Tartar selection, which was crowned with Osetra caviar (one of the most sought after Caspian caviars) and preserved lemon. The tartar was like silk in texture and appealing to the eye in addition with its bright pink hue and specks of diced green onion throughout. The preserved lemon addition brought a hint of creamy citrus flavoring to the presentation without being too overpowering. Just perfectly rounded out flavors as savory as one can possibly imagine.
Pan Seared Halibut
My husband chose Chef Kiffen’s Pan Seared Halibut entrée. Beautifully constructed using truffled white asparagus, celery root and a decadent fennel gratin, this expertly-prepared fish was certainly a gift from the gods! The tender flesh of the halibut exuded a meaty texture with a clean finish enhanced by the accoutrements on the plate.
Buttermilk Roasted Chicken
My choice for the evening was the Buttermilk Roasted Chicken. Supported by a mound of sinfully rich creamed spinach, the foie gras pan gravy was a smashing hit in the flavor department. The thick crusted slice of toast that came with this meal was appreciated and came in handy when I longed for an absorption technique for savoring every drop of the flavorsome liquid that remained.
We both passed on dessert this particular evening, but enjoyed a couple of glasses of 2010 Stag’s Leap Napa Valley Chardonnay after dinner. Fine palatable cuisine, artful displays of well-prepared fare, a staff that caters to nearly every whim you might have, and a history rich surrounding that enhances the intimate and romantic ambiance will keep us visiting The Compound on future sojourns to Santa Fe.
- ESTABLISHMENT / DECOR: Simple, elegant, white-washed walls of adobe construction are enhanced by flickering candlelight, while decorative and captivating details throughout the restaurant catch the eye and enlightent the soul setting one at ease in relaxing comfort.
- FOOD / DRINK: Outstanding, outstanding, outstanding! (Did we say outstanding yet?) Superb culminations of flavor, colorful and creative presentations, and aromas to make you never forget being at this fine unique culinary gem! Let your server know if you require any vegetarian or gluten-free items as they will happily suit your needs by coordinating items through the kitchen.
- LOCATION: The Compound Restaurant is located at 653 Canyon Road, Suite C in Santa Fe, NM 87501.
- HOURS: The Compound Restaurant offers lunch Monday through Saturday from 12 PM until 2 PM, dinner nightly from 6 PM until closing with the bar starting to serve at 5 PM. Additionally, cocktails and a bar menu are available nightly.
- SERVICE / STAFF: Our server was extremely attentive and well-versed on the menu when we visited. His friendly and cordial demeanor made for a delightful evening at the restaurant.
- PRICE / VALUE: Dining at The Compound Restaurant is a bit like admiring fine works of art, but leaving with a full stomach! Eloquent preparations from Chef Kiffen’s kitchen were meticulously constructed and delicately handled until arriving at our table for final acceptance. Was our meal worth the eye-catching price tag? In a word…definitely!
- CORKAGE FEE: No outside alcohol is permitted inside the restaurant.
- CONTACT INFO: Phone: (505) 982-4353, Website: www.compoundrestaurant.com
- PARKING: There is complimentary available parking beside the establishment.
- PRICING: The Tuna Tartar was reasonably priced at $16, while the two signature cocktails of the evening were fair at $12 and $13. The Buttermilk Roasted Chicken came in at a satisfactory $28, while the Pan Seared Halibut entrée completed our meal at $37. We also enjoyed two glasses of Stag’s Leap 2010 Napa Valley Chardonnay at $15 per glass.
* Menu and prices subject to change without notice.