New Mexico's culture owes much to Europe, of course, but it was also influenced by the greater Mediterranean. El Meze ("The Table," in Arabic) harks back to the rustic Spanish and Arabic roots of Northern New Mexican cuisine. Owner and chef Fred Muller calls his hybrid menu "La Comida de las Sierras," the "food of the mountains," serving dishes like buffalo short ribs adovada, butternut squash and chickpea soup, and gazpacho with prickly pear granita. The results are simple and subtle but never boring. The wine list brims with Spanish tintos and riojas. The building itself, a gorgeously restored 1847 hacienda, offers sweeping sierra views from the patio and a typical classy-casual Taoseño atmosphere inside.