Winter nights are warmed by a visit to Pärcht. Located in the heart of the Historic Taos Plaza, Pärcht is a small, bistro-like setting offering seasonal bites of artisanal cheeses and sustainably grown charcuterie meats.
“We call it the ‘wine cave,’” says manager Nicolette Casale. She and her life partner, Kevin Hunter, conceptualized and built Pärcht.
The genial “cave” remark refers to the eatery’s location on the first floor of the building that houses its bigger sister restaurant, The Gorge Bar & Grill, upstairs. Pärcht and the Gorge are both owned by the Roessler family in Albuquerque.
Pärcht is unique in Taos, offering a casual atmosphere where you can get a good glass of wine and boards filled with cheeses and meats. The ingredients are high quality. Chef John Lamendola sources high-quality ingredients and aims for local as much as possible. The cheeses, meats, vegetables, herbs and condiments selected are organic and/ or sustainably farmed. And the same is true for wines, when available.
“This is how Kevin and I like to eat,” says Casale. “It’s about eating well without being filled up.”
Diners are welcomed to “mix and match” their own boards. These can be all cheese, all meat or a “build your own board” option.
The winter season menu includes charcuterie that ranges from “mellow to funky.” A Tanara Giancarlo Prosciutto from Parma, Italy anchors the mellow end of the 11-meats menu; a Fabrique Délices Duck Prosciutto from Hayward, California tops the end with a “funky and gamey” taste.
The cheese menu is arranged from “soft to firm.” Jasper Hill Harbison is a soft cheese from Greensboro, Vermont. A hard Beemster XO Gouda from Holland, Netherlands is described as “crunchy.”
Vegetarians are not excluded. A bites menu has offerings of marcona almonds, Castelvetrano olives, pears and blue cheese, and kale and beets –– just to name a few a tasty, small plates.
Chef Lamendola says, “We custom-create new pairings with different meats and cheeses.”
Casale points out that an important thing to know about Pärcht is that “we are a full retail shop of cheeses, meats, wines and beers –– you can buy anything here off the menu. We also do catering for cheese boards and charcuterie boards.”
Casale and Hunter change the wine list frequently. The wine list available at press time ranged with offerings priced from $8.50 to $15. These wine pairings are selected for the complementary flavors to the seasonal bites menu and charcuterie offerings.
For example, the whites include a Grüner Veltliner from Austria and a Vouvray from France. The reds include a Rosso from Italy and a Tempranillo from Spain.
Beer lovers are treated to a special rotating selection. About the brews, Casale notes, “We try to offer beers you can’t find around town.”
Lucas Motsinger is the general manager of The Gorge Bar & Grill. “With Pärcht, we created something a little different for Taos. Also, the bottles we offer on our Gorge wine list are available for retail sale right here at Pärcht.”
Pärcht is inviting. Since its opening in April 2015, food lovers have turned to making the light-bite eatery their chosen dinner place. Indeed, Pärcht has a strong reputation as a casual place to meet up with friends or just relax by yourself.
Open Tuesday through Saturday from 2 to 9 p.m., Pärcht sees diners throughout the full spectrum of those hours. For example, many folks stop by to take a break from afternoon shopping. Co-workers head there after work. Arts patrons make it their go-to place before an event (say, a show at the Taos Community Auditorium) or stop by after an event is over.
Then of course, there are those devotees who head straight to Pärcht as part of the thick of the action on Taos Plaza.
For example, in September, the annual PASEO event occurred on the Plaza. “There are 32 seats in here total, which includes eight seats at the bar,” Casale explains. “During PASEO, we had as many as sixty people in here.”
Indeed, right outside Pärcht’s front door is a mirthful Chihuahua painting by local artist El Moises –– which illustrates the lively spirit and authenticity of Pärcht.
“It’s cozy, warm, and inviting place to hide out,” says Casale.