Hey central coast hounds! Just wanted to let you know that Mare Blu in Baywood Park is apparently closing up this weekend and heading for Avila Beach. Their menu is going to get lighter, more "Californian/Mediterranean" the waitress said. I don't remember where the exact location is of the new one, but thought you all would want to know.
As for our meal, it was really wonderful (though they were out of the carpaccio antipasti I really wanted to try, bummer). Also they served bread with olives, but no olive oil or butter or anything else spreadable/dippable. Perhaps this is a Mediterranean thing I am just not familiar with, but I asked for a little dipping oil anyway.
My friend and I started with the salmon/herbed goat cheese appetizer with cucumber cream and capers. It was smoky and light on grilled country bread. I was tempted by the butternut squash soup on special, but I passed to preserve my stomach -- I always order too much!
We split two entrees, the porcetta involtini and the shrimp risotto. The pork stuffed with gorgonzola and figs and served in a port sauce was really wonderful. I sopped up as much of the sauce as I could. It came with herb-y smashed potatoes, just perfectly done, and thin carrots. We didn't like the risotto as much -- the rosemary shrimp was cooked just enough, but it was very, very rich as well as slightly spicy, which we didn't care for. It seemed creamier than other risottos I've had, and it was too much.
We saved room for the chocolate-pistachio torta, which was a disappointment. On Valentine's Day, my husband treated me to flourless chocolate cake at Grappolo in SLO, and I was expecting something like that -- dense, darkly chocolatey, intense. No deal. It lacked anything resembling flavor punch; we didn't even finish half of it.
In any case, I was right in thinking I was long overdue for a visit to this spot. The food was, overall, delicious, and while I found the absence of a wine list confusing -- what decent restaurant doesn't have a wine list when they're serving wine and I see bottles on most tables?? -- the Sanford Pinot Noir I was allegedly drinking was very good.
If you find out when it opens again, SLO hounds, let me know! I'll have to be back to see the changes on their menu.
Speaking of changes, we also tried the "new" Chow Novo in SLO, but that's another post...:-)