If you're looking to spend a lot of money for a bland surf-and-turf meal near the plaza, this is your place. If you are looking for anything else, go elsewhere.
The current iteration of Coyote Cafe is a nondescript and overpriced shadow of its former self (under Mark Miller). There is now nothing southwestern or unique about it. When Mark Miller ran this restaurant, the food was uniquely southwestern and incredible. I made it a point to eat here whenever I visited Santa Fe. This year, my family ended up here one night after we momentarily forgot that Mark Miller was no longer involved here. Oops.
Coyote Cafe has been under new ownership since about 2007. It is now nothing like the place it was before, except for the original decor, which was cutting edge in 1987 and has been updated with a layer of barf green paint and similarly-toned accents. Sort of a Smith and Wollensky's of the southwest. And yes, the ambiance every bit as stodgy as that sounds. There is nothing unique about this place anymore.
The first red flag was the menu. The items on it could have been from nearly any high-priced surf-and-turf restaurant in the country. Lobster, scallops, steak, chicken, mashed potatoes, blah blah blah. Nothing southwestern or remotely unique about it.
The next red flag was that many of the menu options contained SEAFOOD... in the middle of the DESERT? The nearest ocean is over 800 miles away. We should have walked out right then.
The next red flag was that they suggested a more expensive bottle of wine when they said they did not have the bottle of wine we ordered (one of the cheaper Spanish reds)--until we cancelled our wine order. As soon as we cancelled, they immediately located a bottle of our original selection and opened it. This was after we had cancelled the wine order. We could have protested, but we were intent on having a pleasant dinner, so we let it slide.
When the food arrived--which took a while, considering what it was--the food was just blah. My "cowboy cut" prime rib was delivered lukewarm on a huge plate. The server joked that the plate was so big it reminded him of the steak place in Amarillo (a tourist trap that advertises a free 72 oz. steak dinner, including sides, to anyone who finishes the entire meal). But the joke was not far off. The steak was blah and included so many sides it looked like the chef couldn't decide which ones to include, so he threw them all on the plate--mashed potatoes, onions, mushrooms, carrots, squash, zucchini and tasteless onion rings. WARNING: the cowboy cut is listed as $60 on the restaurant's Internet menu and "market price" on the live menu. "Market price" was $75 when I ordered it, which makes it almost double the price of any other item on the menu. The waiter did not warn me about the price discrepancy at any time.
My wife ordered the hen, which was dry and bland. Chick-fil-a makes better poultry.
Our favorite item was actually the side of Israeli cous cous we ordered for our kids. Unlike the rest of the food, it was actually hot and tasty and worth the price ($10).
We had a look at the dessert menu, but it had overtones of TGI Friday's (chocolate raspberry this and créme tart overload that), so we passed.
The service was attentive without being intrusive and fine except for the ignored wine cancellation and the slow food prep.
With so many other options in Santa Fe, I'm not sure why anyone would come here anymore.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.