The Stonehouse Restaurant is inside a 19th century citrus packing house on the grounds of the San Ysidro Ranch. Dining is on a green walled patio, an upper story ocean-view terrace or indoors by the wood-burning fireplace. The contemporary American cuisine stresses fresh, local ingredients of Central Coast California and Santa Barbara in particular. The San Ysidro Ranch property covers 550 acres and has hosted many celebrities including John and Jackie Kennedy who honeymooned there. We were seated on their upstairs patio with beautiful views on 3 sides, white cloth-covered tables, and live guitar music downstairs for their Sunday brunch. They offer lunch and dinner every day except Sunday when lunch turns to brunch which is a 3-course meal of your choice accompanied by an endless glass of champagne.
All tables started with a basket of breads which was a good selection and all were quite tasty.
Dungeness Crab Cake was on sweet corn, baby zucchini, circus frisee, pea shoots, roasted tomatillo and local avocado salsa verde. The Alaskan crab was good without too much extra filler however it was even better when mixed with the salsa underneath. My only other comment would be that there was way too much frisee for a nice balance of ingredients.
Pan-seared Pacific Halibut came with English spring peas and patty pan squash risotto, and Seaside Gardens peas shoots. The fish was moist and tasty on top of the very flavorful and runny risotto. Both were excellent and the combination was dynamite.
Grilled prime flat iron steak came with confit potatoes, house-smoked bacon, King oyster mushrooms, gorgonzola and garden herb salsa verde. The meat was cooked more medium-rare than rare as requested but still good even with it being chewy. It was especially good with the blue cheese bits and bacon, the salsa being too little to really mix with it. The 2 asparagus had been peeled so were totally edible and were accompanied by yellow and purple potatoes and carrots. The plate had a really nice assortment of good vegetables.
San Ysidro Ranch Meyer lemon tart came with strawberries with basil and local orange blossom honey cream. The very thin crust was crisp and buttery and punctuated with poppy seeds. Smooth and creamy lemon custard filled the shell which was then topped with whipped cream and a couple of strawberry slices. A drizzle of strawberry completed the plate. It was good.
If endless French champagne wasn’t perfect for a birthday celebration, Salted caramel chocolate cake topped with a milk chocolate crunch bar was. The very moist cake was topped with crispy chocolate pieces and lots of thick rich icing. This was decadently good.