We stayed this past weekend in Nipomo (ten minutes from Pismo Beach) and I'd read on this board that there wasn't much in the way of food in Pismo. So we made a reservation at Chef Rick's in Orcutt (about a 20-minute drive) since I had read raves about it on Chowhound. And, yes, it *is* wonderful and would fit in nicely in San Francisco, Napa, Rockridge, Yountville, or wherever. I'm sure, however, if Chef Rick's was in the Bay Area you wouldn't be able to get an 8:15 reservation for Friday night by calling on Friday night at 6:00, which is what we did. And I'm sure it'd be one of those places where you could get the choice of only 5:30 or 9:30 even if reservatons were made in advance .
Anyway, the food was creative and delicious with mostly Creole, southwestern, and New Orleans influences (sort of reminded me of Coyote Cafe in Santa Fe, but much better). We shared the Fried Green Tomato Salad, with two huge slices of tomato with what tasted like a cornmeal breading. Delicious! I had the Black Angus Tenderloin Skillet Steak, which was cooked to perfection and melt-in-your mouth tender with wonderful onion crisps, shiitake mushrooms and a corn garnish. My husband had the Pan-Roasted Loin of Pork with Pecan Stuffing -- another fantastic dish. Garlic soup came with the entrees and it was heavenly.
We selected the Costo De Oro Pinot Noir. The wine list is fabulous and reasonable with mostly local wines. It's also the first list I've seen with the name of the winemaker also credited -- a very nice touch.
The portions are huge so we were too full to order dessert. However, the desserts at other tables looked humongous and decadent. Virtually every customer walked out with doggie bags; it's just too much food!
Don't know if this is true but our innkeeper said that Martha Stewart was visiting LA and asked around for good places to eat. Someone mentioned Chef Rick's and she decided to fly in by her private jet and landed at Santa Maria Airport. She reportedly gave the restaurant her blessing.
You may not have a private plane to fly there but it's definitely worth driving to. Don't let its location in a shopping center next to Ralph's fool you -- it's really on par (or above!) with some of the finest restaurants in the Bay Area.
4869 South Bradley Road (Orcutt/Bradley exit off Hwy 101)