Top Chef alum and restaurateur Hosea Rosenberg’s latest hit.
On powder days, I’ve stood at the top of ski run, waiting for the patrol to drop the rope so I could score some turns in fresh snow. For the first time, I felt that familiar anticipation as I waited for a new restaurant’s door to be unlocked. The restaurant is Santo, the newest venture for chef Hosea Rosenberg, who grew up in Taos, became a genuine celeb chef after winning Top Chef, Season 5 and operates the popular East Boulder Blackbelly Market, restaurant and butchery. He has tapped into his northern New Mexico roots for decorative statements but mostly for the food.
The line was building for an anticipated 4 p.m. opening of the new occupant of the space next to Ideal Market. A paper sign on the door indicated that due to “technical difficulties,” Santo would open at 4:30. When it did, we first customers felt like celebs, greeted by cameras and cell phones. What a hoot!
The Santo space is both familiar and new. Once Radda Trattoria, then Ella’s from the Zoe Mama team then Scott’s on Alpine — I’ve eaten at them all. The look, the cuisine and the vibe may have changed with each transition, but I’ve always known where to find the restroom without asking.
Santo’s commodious square bar remains on the west part of the large dining room. A wonderful wooden zia symbol chandelier floating above the bar was made by a New Mexican carver, as were the santos along the walls. I intended to take a picture, but I was so eager to get seated and order that I didn’t — and by the time we left, the bar area was mobbed — and loud. Framed B&B photographs decorate the dining area, but in truth, the focus is on the food, as it certainly should be. Here’s what my husband and I ate on Day One (plus wine for me, a beer for him):
Price check: At dinner appetizers, $6-$12; soups and sides $6-$12; entrées $16-$32; chile, side add-ons $2-$5; desserts, $5-$7.
Santo is at 1265 Alpine Avenue, Boulder; 303-442-6100.