Ahwatukee's Secreto is a secret no longer. Word of mouth is spreading about this New Mexican restaurant which quietly opened last Thursday in the former Havana Cafe spot in SE Phoenix (4232 E. Chandler Blvd., 480-706-2200).
Secreto is named after a group of Franciscan monks who smuggled Spanish grapevines into New Mexico in the 1500s. As a nod to that tradition, the restaurant offers a Franciscan "Cuvee Sauvage" chardonnay, among other wines.
Havana's tropical green color palette has been replaced by warm hues of copper and yellow. There's a large copper-topped bar with barstools and a semi-private dining room for larger parties.
Secreto is co-owned by Barbara Brown, ex-wife of Richardson's founder Richardson Browne (she dropped the 'e' after they split).
The menu features traditional New Mexican dishes such as carne adovada (smoked pork roast in red chile) and chile rellenos, plus steaks and salads. Appetizers ($4-12) include Southwestern crab cakes, stuffed poblanos and bruschetta. Lunch entrees average $10-11, with dinner selections including New Zealand rack of lamb and filet mignon at the top end of the dinner entree price range ($11-29).
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Secreto is open from 11 a.m.- 10 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m.-10 p.m. on weekends, though the bar will remain open until midnight.