News and Reviews

Maize’s menu reflects Native influence and stretches beyond - Santa Fe New Mexican

59f01a5b963d2.image.jpgBy Tantri Wija | For The New Mexican | Oct 24, 2017 

As anyone who has ever opened a restaurant knows, the endeavor is akin to building a house, getting married, having a baby and making a movie all at once. Doing it once is enough for most people. For others, opening three at once while running another is par for the course. Santa Fe master chef and restaurant impresario Charles Dale is, apparently, one of those people.

Dale, formerly of Aspen, Colo., moved to Santa Fe to head up the restaurant at Rancho Encantado before moving on to open French bistro-style mainstay Bouche on West Alameda Street. This year, Dale has embarked on an ambitious new project with Santa Fe neophytes Jim and Jennifer Day, who initially purchased the old Bobcat Bite property intending to open a restaurant.

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France-Amérique: Bouche, a Slice of Provence in New Mexico

Frane-Amerique.pngFrom appetizers to desserts, the bistro Bouche blends French and American influences. Heading up this Santa Fe restaurant, American chef Charles Dale offers a menu showcasing the American southwest while paying homage to his childhood on the French Riviera and his years spent in New York alongside French chef Daniel Boulud. Bouche is also one of the 50 restaurants taking part in the Santa Fe Restaurant Week from February 19 to 26.

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Aspen Times Weekly: Serendipity in Santa Fe

dt.common.streams.StreamServer.jpegAFTER 400 DUSTY MILES on a road trip that will stretch many hundred miles more, we arrive in Santa Fe. The sun is sinking low on the horizon, so we set our sights on dinner. But instead of seeking spicy Southwestern fare, I have something else in mind: French classics, with a twist.

Eighteen months ago, Charles Dale—perhaps one of Aspen’s most influential chefs, ... Read More


New York Magazine: Find New Southwestern Style in Santa Fe

Experience the French side of Santa Fe at cozy downtown bistro Bouche (reservations recommended). Grab a table near the wood-burning fireplace and watch the theatrical open-kitchen goings-on. The seasonally changing menu by chef Charles Dale... Read More.

A Review from the Albuquerque Journal


Bouche offers best of French dining in intimate space

Postage stamp-sized Bouche Bistro, the latest incarnation at the site of the old Noon Whistle on West Alamdea, serves meticulous French classics in an intimate, but not chummy, atmosphere well matched with the food.

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USA Today's 10BEST names Bouche Bistro as one of Santa Fe's most romantic restaraunts.

Romantic Dining à Deux in Santa Fe
by Billie Frank, USA TODAY 10 BEST

2. Bouche Bistro

Bouche-Bistro--courtesy-Bouche-Bistro_54_990x660.jpgWhen asked what makes Bouche romantic, chef/owner Charles Dale has a simple answer: "France = Romance!" This intimate bistro's soft cream walls accented with red which Dale calls "the color of passion and love," and soft lighting set the perfect stage for your romantic dinner. Request one of the corner tables, the most romantic in the house, for your lovers' dinner. What's the most romantic dish on the menu? The Seafood Platter, a potpourri of shell fish that includes jumbo prawns, seasonal oysters (you know what they say about these) and Dungeness crab. Couples can feed each other these tasty morsels. Order your favorite champagne and the scene is complete. For dessert: the Profiterole au Chocolat. Most romantic event yet: a proposal. The future groom arranged for a neon sign that said "MARRY ME," lit at a prearranged time. Dale said the house went wild. "Luckily, he added, "she said 'yes!'" (505-982-6297).

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Here is a selection of recent reviews in downloadable pdf format.

Here is a great review from IPA Magazine Travel:


It is exceed­ingly rare to find a restau­rant with a high-profile chef serv­ing exquis­ite fare at rea­son­able prices.  This is espe­cially true in Santa Fe, New Mex­ico, where a din­ner tab north of $200 for two is not uncom­mon.  Bouche, a French bistro that opened its doors just a year ago, offers excep­tional value in both food and wine

In French, bouche sim­ply means “mouth,” but the glory and rich­ness of French idiomatic expres­sive­ness is revealed in phrases such as une fine bouche, “gourmet,” bouche bée, open-mouthed, aston­ished,” and J’en ai l’eau à la bouche, “My mouth is water­ing.” Here, in a sin­gle, tan­ta­liz­ingly sim­ple word, so many nuances of thought and feel­ing are evoked.

Chef Charles Dale brings years of culi­nary exper­tise to his lat­est restau­rant cre­ation.  Born of Amer­i­can par­ents in France, Ivy League Uni­ver­sity grad­u­ate Dale worked with many of the finest chefs in the US before open­ing the widely-acclaimed Renais­sance restau­rant in Aspen, Col­orado.  In the span of just a few years, Dale earned every major culi­nary and wine award in Amer­ica, authored the Chef’s Guide to America’s Best Restau­rants, and launched a line of “stock-in-a-box” prod­ucts used on cruise lines, hotels and inde­pen­dent restau­rants around the coun­try.  After devel­op­ing and open­ing the new Encan­tado Resort in Santa Fe, Dale moved on to open his Bouche Bistro in March 2013.  Today, this one-time grocery-store-cum-restaurant now seats only 36 patrons, but fills up every night from Tues­day through Sat­ur­day, serv­ing from 5 pm to 9:30.

After greet­ing us with a wel­com­ing glass of cham­pagne, our server informed us of the daily spe­cials.  The three guests at the table next to ours had been seated for a brief time before our arrival and began to order.  A huge Seafood Plat­ter was brought to them, con­sist­ing of Jumbo Prawns, sea­sonal oys­ters and mar­ket crab.  We opted for the same selec­tion and were thrilled we fol­lowed their lead.  The clas­sic cock­tail sauce was a superb coun­ter­part for the prawns.  A Dijon May­on­naise com­ple­mented the crab, while a pep­per­corn Mignonette gave a perky fla­vor to the oys­ters.  The smaller por­tion of the two menu selec­tions for this plat­ter was per­fect for two per­sons and the dra­matic pre­sen­ta­tion on a huge tray filled with ice and set majes­ti­cally on a wire stand was merely a fore­taste of glo­ries to come. Our server brought a glass of 2011 Frog’s Leap Sauvi­gnon Blanc (Napa), a clean and crisp accom­pa­ni­ment to the seafood and the first of sev­eral sug­gested pair­ings for the evening.

Next we ordered the Clas­sic Escar­gots à la Bour­guignonne.  Six tasty escar­gots were served with a blend of gar­lic, oil, shal­lots, and pars­ley.  The warm, but­tery sauce, inspired from Bur­gundy, was not the famil­iar Boef Bour­guignonne sauce with red wine, but some­thing akin to it.   I remem­bered hav­ing ordered escar­gots else­where and being told there were over 30 spices and herbs used.  Not so here where “less is more.” A very lovely 2011 Joseph Drouhin ‘Laforêt’ Chardon­nay (Bur­gundy region) enhanced the savory fla­vor of the escargots.

Our third course was the Tuna Carpac­cio Niçoise, served with Wild Arugula and Lemon Vinai­grette.  In addi­tion to the ingre­di­ents indi­cated on the menu, the light salad atop the thinly-sliced tuna fea­tured sliced kala­mata olives, sliced hard-boiled egg, cherry toma­toes, and a quar­tered Yukon Gold potato, served with a slight firm­ness and exceed­ingly fla­vor­ful.  This was served with a 2011 Sut­cliff Ries­ling (Col­orado), which, thank­fully, was not sweet like some Ger­man Ries­lings, but turned out to be crisp, light and refreshing

At the sug­ges­tion of our server, we tried the Sautéed Sweet­breads served with Brus­sels Sprouts and Wild Mush­room Jus.  The sweet­breads turned out to be a pleas­ant sur­prise for some­one who wouldn’t ordi­nar­ily order this del­i­cacy.  Chef Dale informed us later that sweet­breads are now becom­ing more pop­u­lar with the result that they are more dif­fi­cult to obtain locally and, hence, because of the demand, more costly as an ingre­di­ent.  Our wine pair­ing for this course was the 2010  Stoller Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills (Ore­gon), a bold red with hints of black cherry and a whis­per of raspberry.

Had we not been shar­ing each of these plates, the two of us would have been quite “stuffed” at this point.  For­tu­nately, we had room for one more course, the truly delight­ful Beef Short Ribs, Pot-au-Feu Style, served with a mild Horse­rad­ish Crème. (Pot-au-feu, lit­er­ally “pot on the fire” is a French beef stew, tra­di­tion­ally includ­ing a por­tion of beef cooked with veg­eta­bles includ­ing car­rots, turnips, leeks, cel­ery and onions.) Whereas I may have ordi­nar­ily cho­sen the Steak au Poivre with Pommes Frites (as I noticed many other guests ordered) and my wife would have cho­sen the Cas­soulet Mai­son with Duck Con­fit, Pork Belly and Lamb Shank, it turned out that our short ribs were exceed­ingly ten­der and enhanced by the light horse­rad­ish sauce.  Know­ing that there are yet many other items on Bouche’s menu we have not sam­pled means that we will have many remain­ing options for future vis­its!  The cho­sen wine selec­tion paired for the short ribs was the 2009 Ker­mit Lynch, Côtes du Rhone, a fla­vor­ful, full-bodied red.

Our server sug­gested we sam­ple both the Demer­ara Crème Brulée and the Apple Tarte Tatin.  The warm, Crème Brulee was light, soft and airy, with a crispy crust that enhanced this excep­tional dish.  We couldn’t remem­ber when we tasted one as good as this.  The apple tart and scoop of vanilla ice cream were topped with caramel, mak­ing for a very sweet and sticky treat.  Dessert wines are avail­able on Bouche’s exten­sive wine menu for those who care to indulge.

Prior to our visit to Bouche, I spoke to St. Fran­cis Hotel’s leg­endary concierge Inger Boudouris, whose job is, of course, to rec­om­mend restau­rants, events, piano bars, excur­sions, etc., to hun­dreds of Santa Fe vis­i­tors through­out the year.  With great expres­sive­ness, Inger told me how, on sev­eral occa­sions, she enjoyed sit­ting on one of the stools at the Chef’s Table which directly over­looks the Open Kitchen, watch­ing the chefs as they pre­pare each dish.  Inger said she nor­mally orders what­ever the spe­cial is offered for the par­tic­u­lar evening.  With­out let­ting her know that I already had a reser­va­tion, I asked Inger where, out of the hun­dreds of restau­rants found in the greater Santa Fe area, she might place Bouche.  With­out hes­i­ta­tion, she beamed, “Oh, the top ten, of course!”  It was an endorse­ment with which I would heartily concur.