The Stakeout Restaurant
Sweet and hot like the chili it serves...
Looking out toward the horizon the guests can see the Mesa, an enormous table seated ahead and the top of San Antonio, purportedly the mountain with the largest circumference in the Northern hemisphere? Over to the left, on a clear day, they can just make out the signature shape of Abique, Georgia O'Keffe's precious province where she painted her giant images. To the right, at a perfect sunset, they are treated to the awesome phenomenon that gave The Sangre de Cristo mountains their name. It is the sign of the blood of Christ that turns the snow covered tops of Taos Ski Mountain a brilliant blend of fiery oranges onto deep crimson red.
In the springtime, when the huge thunderstorms rise up, the sky from the Stakeout presents a dazzling light show with jagged bolts of electricity zinging across the sky. At these moments everything shakes, crashes with huge explosions of sound and brilliance. On summer evenings there is nothing so sublime as a seat on the deck to watch the soft glowing changes of greens, purples and pales shades of taupe to grays. Sipping tequila, all this fades to a dark navy velvet with a twinkle of lights from the tiny town below.
Outlaw Hill, the mountain that rises up in back of the restaurant, was a destination where desperados and other on-the-lam types could rest and see any approaching adversaries in any direction for miles around. Just as in the old days, the notorious have been drawn to the place in recent times, including a star studded list of notables.
Surely occupying the numero uno slot would be the late Dennis Hopper. Just the rumor that he was coming would set a series of preparations in motion. Key retinue figures and extraneous townies would clear their calendars and nail down everything as if a hurricane was coming. His favored venues would pack in the brand of hooch and items he loved. The sportiest waitress unbuttoned the blouse a little lower and as a fine black stretch limo rolled into Ranchos, an imaginary flag fiercely lowered and a silent roar circulated through the waiting with "Let the games begin".
Although the pool table in the Stakeout Bar was the scene of Hoppermania the frequency slacked off after the numerous times everyone was ceremoniously kicked out which only served to give the restaurant a kind of distinguished aura. Considered thereafter as too classy for Dennis created a sort of refined image in the collective mind of the townies who then called it the finest place to dine. This acclaim spread not just due to the Hopper issue but because of the exceptional parade of fine Chefs and the spectacular array of items on the menu. Always a colorful blend of classic French and local dishes, out in the middle of a tiny southwest mountain community, the guests find Carpaccio of Elk & Escargot Vol Au Vent next to Chili Corn Chowder (see recipe below). Above all The Stakeout is noted for it's natural aged beef and a silky well seasoned Béarnaise sauce & Chipotle cilantro butter. No small wonder is the amazing wine cellar!
Meet the Chefs...
So it was somewhere around 22 above as we arrived and walked through the adobe architecture with earthy colored walls and the art of locals. The place has aged well. It brings all that Taos charisma together. Indian fireplaces glow and flare. Tables are set with classical taste. The staff is professional and on that night extremely chatty. We talked about the fact that the Stakeout's creator and owner for over 35 years is retiring and has put the place up for sale. We are immediately worried about what the outcome will be. This is such a venerable establishment. Spread the word...The Stakeout needs a buyer!
Anyone interested please call 575-758-2042
Cozy corner of the historic restaurant
Starting with Green Chil Corn Chowder
Steak with Bernaise
All in all a fine dinning experience in the middle of a snow storm ... nothing compares!