When I landed in Santa Fe 13 years ago, I was given multiple Santa Fe “must dos.” Indian Market, Bandelier Monument, Shidoni Sculpture Garden, Ski Santa Fe to name a few…and of course, restaurants. On the top of the list was the newly opened Dinner for Two.
Family owned and operated, Dinner for Two (D42 as the local concierge endearingly call it), exemplifies a community oriented, sustainable restaurant. Chef Andy Barnes works side by side with his dad, Gregory (who bakes his grandmother’s bread recipe daily), and his mom, Pam, who manages the daily business minutiae and bakes the cookies. When asked about the “hierarchy,” Chef Andy sums it up in a direct, yet humble way: “we work as a family, we all do what is needed.” His pride is apparent in his quick answer to my questions, but his humility sets the tone of the entire place. Naturally, I asked Chef Andy about their signature dishes, which he listed as the table side presentation of the Chateaubriand, Banana’s Foster, and our Caesar Salad.
Dinner for Two melds a fine dining menu and experience with a non-pretentious “every-man” setting making it perfect for the young married couple treating themselves to a hard earned anniversary meal or the affluent traveler wishing to indulge their palate in its entirety. The walls are adorned with his dad’s own art, or the art of a family friend.
Another aspect that makes Dinner for Two unique in particular is their deep commitment to “farm to table” practices. The Barnes family has a 40-acre farm named Blue Rose, where they raise their chickens, many of the herbs, and some of the restaurant’s produce. If they don’t raise it, they partner with local farms, some of who grow product exclusively for the restaurant. Additionally, they feed all edible waste to the “Blue Rose” chickens, re-purpose the fryer oil as biofuel with their neighbor, and recycle the cardboard boxes and glass bottles. In fact, Chef Andy is an active member of the Farm to Restaurant Project.
Never resting on their laurels, the Barnes’ recently welcomed renowned Sommelier Mark Johnson to their family to maintain the extensive, yet focused quality wine list. That’s not to dismiss that Chef Andy and Gregory have both been awarded Wine Spectators “ Award for Excellence” for the past ten years. Chef Andy graduated from the Santa Fe Community College Culinary program, and then the Culinary Institute of America in New York. He also participates in the annual Food Depot’s “Souper Bowl,” (January 30th is the date for 2016's event) which helps to raise funds for the local food bank and the homeless- in fact; he won the event in 2015.
On a final note, Dinner for Two is named for its intimate setting that allows for a perfect couples night, but is by no way limited to reservations of two. They are capable of seating groups up to 20 people, with advance notice. They are open Wednesday through Sunday from 4pm-9pm; closed Monday and Tuesday. You may make reservations directly at 505-820-2075 or on Open Table.
In Health and Prosperity. SamG of the IOG