Bouchon calls itself the ‘wine country cuisine.’ They specialize in local ingredients, “as-fresh-as-and-as-local-as-possible” and local Santa Barbara wines. It’s a medium-sized place with a patio out front. Inside the white cloth-covered tables are on a wood floor, music is in the background, antiqued mirrors are on the walls and the end of the room opens into the kitchen. Service was helpful, particularly the knowledgeable sommelier, and the staff all were friendly. The food was very good and I’d go back again if in the area.
First they brought out a basket with warm sliced baguette with softened butter. The bread was delicious with a crispy crust and doughy center.
Spring Pea Salad contained baby frisée, Tutti Frutti Farms snap peas, Grana Padano, lemon vinaigrette and burrata. Here the frisee took over and there weren’t enough of the delicious peas. Some leaf lettuce added to the mix as did the creamy burrata. The spring flavors were nice and fresh, it just needed a little something.
The Warm Pecan and Goat Cheese Tart was made with herbed chévre, baby frisée, pear and an aged balsamic drizzle. It was excellent. The crisp crust was delicious and accented all the other ingredients. It was a bit hard to cut but well worth the effort. The inside was filled with yummy flavors that blended so well. The bits of fruit were great and the toasted nuts added even more texture. My favorite of the 2 first courses.
The Grilled Center-Cut American Wagyu ribeye topped the Bouchon hash that contained yam, potato, white cheddar and bacon topped with seared broccolini and a sauce bordelaise was under all. The steak was cooked as asked and then cut cross-wise. It was wonderful beef and so nicely rare. The broccolini was a bit stringy but the hash well made up for it – such a fine melding of flavors. The beef was tender and well flavored and the sauce finished the plate perfectly.
Maple-Glazed Duck Breast and confit of thigh was served on a succotash of sweet corn, fava beans, leeks, applewood smoked bacon and Windrose Farms butternut squash with a port-thyme demi-glace. It was a huge portion. The duck was cooked a nice medium rare with a fair fat cap still in place. It was nicely enhanced with the tasty sauce. The succotash under the breast was divine. The wonderful flavors here were punctuated by the strongly flavored bacon bits. It stole the show. The thigh confit was good but the meat was much drier and I was really getting full by the time I got into it.
The Warm blackberry-lemon upside-down cake came with lemon-Marionberry McConnell’s ice cream and blackberry puree. The cake was super moist with a very sweet sauce. It was really good. The ice cream was okay but too tart to mix well with the cake. The two components were better separate than together. One serving was plenty for 2 to split.