A report from past Friday evening (Sept 2006)dinner at the Culinary Arts Gourmet Dining Room at Santa Barbara City College (721 Cliff Drive, on the "Mesa" in Santa Barbara:
Start of the new semester and although this was only the second evening the GDR has been open, it was really perfect. The menu were primarily "fusion" meets "comfort food" choices and all were wonderful.
We had a table for three and we chose from a variety of dishes. Here is the format: 4 courses with appropriate wines for each dish, including dessert and coffee. There were approximately 3 choices in each of the courses: cold appetizer; hot appetizer; entree and dessert.
We started with an amuse bouche of a delectible lime sorbet and chili/lime cashews. Then I chose a grilled shrimp wrap with delectible dipping sauce, filled with fresh mango, shredded carrots, grilled shrimp and other savories. Wonderfully fresh and piquant - truly an "appetizer" - not a taste clogger.
The hot appetizer was a very nicely portioned "sweet potato napoleon) which was stack of nicely grilled and sauteed potato rings and other savory vegetables with a cheese gratin - more robust but very delicately portioned.
I chose the short-ribs with the smoky cheese grits and grilled tomatoes for a delicious "comfort" dish. Companion had the duck and claimed it was the best ever with a delicate sweet/tart sauce and tender, flavorful roasted duck which was not over-powered by sauce.
The others had a creme brule and I had a ball of coffee icecream dipped in a soft chocolate filling sitting on a lovely chewy flat carmelized brownie cookie.
Each dinner is $30 per person - no extras, tips for the very hardworking and engaging students are always welcomed. Credit cards accepted. Call for dinner reservations on a Thurs (hard to get parking close by) or Friday night - (much easier to get parking) throughout the school calendar.
College phone: (805) 966-0581 - ask for the Gourmet Dining Room