Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

El Meson: A Touch of Spain in Santa Fe.

Byline: Michelle Pentz Journal Staff Writer

* From tapas to flan, the big table offers a taste of the real thing

I spent my best friend's 30th birthday with her in southern Spain, eating and drinking our way from one sun-drenched, sleepy hamlet to another, where the air was laced with lemon blossoms and the briny smell of the sea.

And it will be a long time 'til I forget the taste of those tangy Spanish olives, that sweet sherry and salty serrano ham that dangled in its entirety from the ceiling of just about every local "meson" (literally, big table), or bistro, we visited.

A cozy dinner with friends at El Meson which reopened after a monthlong renovation in October nearly transported me back to those halcyon days exploring the culinary landscape of Spain.

Chef-owner David Huertas' objective is to "bring a true Spanish restaurant to the area," says the Santa Fean. Born and raised in Madrid, he started El Meson more than three years ago. It's not, he said, "something sort of reinvented or nouveau, but traditional something different, exciting and authentic. …

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