Seasonal trends…seasonal cocktails, seasonal venues…I am a big proponent of seasonal things…I like context – have you heard that from me in the past? So in keeping with that embrace…I like dining indoors in a cozy setting in the wintertime and in the freshest of outdoors in the warmer scenes.
Tonight we visited a local favorite that for some reason does not stay on our radar – and for that reason, tonight was a special treat, a welcome change which made us feel as though we had traveled outside our norm to experience such a wonderful dining experience.
I almost ordered a Manhattan – exclusively a wintertime beverage for me, warm, rich in color and flavor…but opted instead for a Hendricks’s martini – extra dry with a twist, as we began our evening in the lounge of The Ranchers’ Club in Albuquerque. It has a most cozy interior, where the low-lit lounge offers several groupings of over-stuffed leather sofas and chairs with cow hide accents, zoned into seating areas around a live piano with vocal accompaniment and a handsome bar area. The classic ranch décor punctuated with taxidermy paired with Victorian touches, crisp table linens and full china presentation is quite welcoming. It is a manly, yet refined old fashioned dining venue that appeals to the most discriminating of etiquette practitioners.
The rooms are nicely lit – dim, warm golden glow, ample for reading the menu which is printed with a generous font size, but soft and sexy, intimate and comfortable. And the menu has offerings of domestic game such as bison and fresh catches as tonight’s special, striped sea bass with a curry cream drizzle. Other shellfish and fresh fish filets are offered as well as slow-cooked oso bucco and hearty stews.
When the entrees are presented beneath gleaming silver domes, the stage is set to anticipate the dishes that have been suggested all evening with the wonderful aromas wafting through the dining rooms since we first were escorted to our seats. The unveiling done in unison is a “ta da!”
The service is attentive yet not over-powering. The wine list has a wide range. The deserts are delightful as we experienced in the chocolate pyramid. And the dessert wines were well chosen.
The success of the design is attributed to the entire experience. An attractive dining interior without the proper service, quality of food and smart presentation is flat. A successful interior design has to have life. It has to breathe all of the elements that make the space function as intended.
Cheers to all who make a date a Rancher’s! Patti’s pick!