Restaurant Review Dr. Field Goods Butcher Shop & Bakery
If you’re anywhere in Santa Fe and craving a real-deal deli sandwich, you’ll be hard-pressed to find any finer than these, each one served on house-baked bread and arriving alongside a sublime set of expertly seasoned hand-cut fries.
“The first part of my ritual is easy; it’s what our parents told us a long time ago, the please and thank you rule. I say thank you — very quietly, under my breath really — to the mountain I’m on and to the animal.” This hunter’s rite, recounted by writer Rick Bass to
Field & Stream, seems to echo the mindfulness of increasingly conscientious carnivores. For many of us in this age of health consciousness and corporate food empires, if we consume animals at all, we seek local, sustainable meat like the kind our agrarian ancestors raised — grass-fed beef or pasture-raised goats that have been whole-animal butchered, using as much of the carcass as possible. This careful treatment of livestock, before and after death, speaks to an appreciation of the animal’s life and sacrifice. But it can be hard to find a meat retailer that honors these ideals.
Enter Dr. Field Goods Butcher Shop & Bakery, an auspicious operation that opened last spring a few doors down from its mothership, Dr. Field Goods Kitchen. The kitchen has established itself as a casual, inventive foodie-meets-metalhead haven committed to supporting local farmers and producers, and the retail venture aims to do the same in an open-shop setting where butcher Gabe Archuleta breaks down and processes offerings from nearby, filling a case five days a week with everything from bone-in pork chops and porterhouses to sausages and bone broth. A short menu of sandwiches is available Tuesday through Saturday between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., so you can stop by to pick up a loaf of potato bread and some linguiça for supper and then sit at the small bar — which features a view of the whole shop — and have a sandwich and maybe one of the six rotating beers on tap.
If you’re anywhere in Santa Fe and craving a realdeal deli sandwich, you’ll be hard-pressed to find any finer than these, each one served on house-baked bread and arriving alongside a sublime set of expertly seasoned hand-cut fries. Each order also comes with a cookie — in our case, a gooey, satisfying chocolatechocolate chip one. The guy serving you might have a bit of an edge, and you might find yourself bopping along to the blare of Duran Duran’s “Hungry Like the Wolf” while you eat. But this could be the best sandwich situation you’ve experienced in quite a while.
There’s the Pastrami Reuben: layers of impossibly smoky house-cured ruby-red pepper-crusted pastrami on chewy seeded rye toast, along with a Thousand Island-ketchup sauce, nutty Muenster cheese, and bright sauerkraut. It went nicely with a La Cumbre Elevated IPA, the beer’s piney notes rounding out the salt of the sandwich and fries. The Bodega, which we rechristened the Tony Soprano, features ham, mortadella, pepperoni, provolone, shredded lettuce, tomato, pickled onion, and mayo on a crusty house French roll. The flavor combo — spicy, briny, sweet, and crunchy — reminds me more of New York City and its surroundings than anything else around these parts.
An 8-ounce grass-fed burger, served with cheddar, pickled onion, and greens on a house kaiser roll, proved addictively juicy and flavorful, a natural partner for those excellent fries. The Philadelphia Collins (shaved rib-eye, provolone, mushrooms, and grilled onion on a house roll) might benefit from the bite of a few pickles or some Dijon, but the ribeye and the mushrooms are still a rich, compelling combination. The Braunschweiger sandwich combines the shop’s liverwurst, dark-brown whole-grain stout mustard, and pickles, usually on slices of rye — though ours came on white bread, which must have meant they were out of the rye but forgot to tell us. The white bread made for a less bold flavor experience, but the sandwich was still fairly formidable, with pliant, piquant liver slices giving way to strong mustard and snappy pickles.
I do, however, wish for greater transparency from the butcher counter. They ought to provide consumers — who are, after all, paying top dollar for meat that comes from mindful producers — with more specific information about where these animals are raised. When I inquired about the provenance of the rib-eye I took home for dinner, the first employee seemed clueless; after consulting “Chef,” he said the cow definitely came from Los Lunas, though he couldn’t tell me any more than that because of “distributor confusion” and varying beef purveyors. On another visit, I was more heartened to learn that my ancho-herb sausage came from a farm in north Pecos — the same place that regularly provides the shop with around three whole pigs a week. I’d be happier still if I could walk into the shop and see the origin of each cut plainly posted on placards behind the meat — or, barring that, if the wait staff could kindly, reliably, and knowledgeably answer such questions.
The bottom line? Any butcher shop that also sells beef tallow candles — proving their commitment to using all animal parts in inventive ways — is one I’d like to support. Ramp up the transparency, keep making those insanely good sandwiches, and I’m yours forever, Dr. Field Goods Butcher Shop & Bakery.