Writing from Santa Barbara to slag a couple of restaurants, in all honesty. And to praise two.
We have been visiting here for three nights—had four meals out and two had major-major issues.
One that didn’t was a lunch of beer, fish tacos and tuna melt—with alfalfa sprouts? Really?—at the East Beach Grill, a great place for people-watching.
But our two dinner were…well.
Dinner # 1 was at Enterprise Fish Company. Herself loved her swordfish; my halibut with ginger rice and bok choy was delicious; our clam chowders were thick with clams. The wine was reasonably priced. The service was excellent.
But, seven hells, the sound level! Deafening! Why? What’s the point. Because of the sheer volume of the crappy music, we wouldn’t go back or recommend Enterprise.
Dinner # 2 was at Relais de Paris. Again, decent wine prices. Excellent grilled asparagus, shared as an appetizer. My better half loved her mussels. But the menu was somewhat deceptive. It seemed to say that all main courses came with a side salad—when she asked for hers, they said, “not that one.” I had a salad Nicoise, and while the featured ingredients were fine, there was an awful high ratio of salad greens to tuna/potatoes/green beans/peppers/etc. And the service! Inattentive, slow; our server didn’t know the wine list, we felt; then waived corkage for the couple next to us because the female was “cute” (his words). Then he said he’d only been in the house two weeks—and when a manager realized we were being ignored, he explained that they were short-staffed.
Oh, well: a citron sorbet we finished with was terrific.
Our final lunch was at Fish House Santa Barbara—and there it all came together. Beautifully prepared fish (mixed fry for her; salmon benedict for me), nice local Riesling; perfectly attentive waitress, food runners, bus people; all we could hear was the quiet conversation of the other guests.
For our last dinner in town, we went to Trader Joe’s and ate by our motel’s pool.