Caruso’s is in the Rosewood Miramar Beach Hotel on the ocean front of Montecito serving Italian-inflected coastal cuisine. It is the fine dining option at the hotel. The facility was complete around 2019 and definitely delivers the pampered dining experience. They offer a 4-course tasting menu with at least 4 choices in each category and also a 10-course Chef’s Tasting menu with optional wine pairings. Executive Chef Massimo Falsini was not there but the kitchen was in the most capable hands of Chef de Cuisine Shibani Mone. We chose the 4-course menu and had our own wine after a well-made Negroni cocktail. The large white cloth-covered tables are well spaced and are serenaded by the sound of the waves coming ashore. There are lots of outdoor heaters for when the sun goes down. When you pull up to the hotel the valet will park your car and then be prepared for a bit of walk down to the beach front. You’ll have to cross an active railroad track and finally down a flight of stairs, but it’ll be worth the trek, I promise.
We enjoyed a Negroni cocktail while we tried to decide what way to go with our meal. Our server John was most helpful in making choices. We discovered that we knew the sommelier from another restaurant where he worked and thus they generously sent out some extra bites from their menu for us to try.
After ordering they brought a warm round loaf of house-made artisanal bread and an olive oil/balsamic dipping bowl. The bread was nicely crusty and dense in the interior. A good start. Not sure if it was a reflection from the water or plexiglass wall but something gave the photos a blue tint.
The amuse bouche was a Hokkaido scallop with hearts of palm and avocado purée. It also had a bit of spice to the mix with a creamy underneath. Quite good.
A5 Matsusaka Steak Tartare was mixed with shallots and mustard seed and served with Venere rice crisps and horseradish crema. The topping on the deliciously tender meat included pickled shallots and mustard seed. The good size dice of perfectly seasoned beef was perfect to eat on the delicate rice chips. They were light and crisp and were just right with the beef. I tried the bread as an accompaniment and it didn’t work nearly as well. Lovely one.
Channel Island Halibut Carpaccio came with Murray Farms Pickled Black Raspberries, pickled sea fennel and chilled verbena tea. The subtle flavors mixed delightfully with the mild fish, didn’t overpower just accented it. It was great but the beef was the better of the raw options. This was a gift from the chef.
Agnolotti in Cardinal Prawns Bisque were plated with summer squash, topped with Estate Reserve Caviar and pine nuts. The agnolotti were stuffed with Spot prawns and ricotta and the Cardinal prawn pieces were outside. The pine nuts were a brilliant addition to this fine dish. Their flavor lingered long on the palate and gave a divine twist to the dish. The whole plate was really full of wonderful flavors and textures. The Cardinal prawns were tender, meaty and delicious. Wonderful plate.
Garganelli in State Bird Carbonara contained quail egg, fava, guanciale and pecorino was another gift from the chef. Ricotta was mixed with organic yolk and cheese velouté with a slice of pecorino romano. The flavorful guanciale was inside the pasta which was supposed to be consumed in one bite but a bit too large for me so I cut it. The precious filling squirted out ruining the effect but the taste was still there. This was yummy.
Channel Islands White Seabass was plated with koji, Brentwood corn nage, Maque choux and cloud ear. This fish is a rare find and the huge piece was cooked perfectly. Moist, large flake with lots of grilled flavor, it was scrumptious. The corn flavors and textures on the plate with it were perfect when eaten together. This was a simply fabulous course.
Straus Yogurt Semifreddo and Apricots contained confiture, almond and lemon verbena gelato. It was not as frozen as some semifreddo and thus the coconut flavor worked well with the tart lemon and apricot sauce. It was a beautiful color too.
My French Friend Made a Tiramisú contained Mascarpone Froth, cristalli di zucchero and espresso anglaise. The ball had a thin crisp sugar coating that started melting when the warm espresso anglaise was poured over it. The inside helped absorb the rich creamy sauce and mixed with the thin crisp of the sugar shell it made a bite of delicious with each spoonful. Yum.
Chocolate mousse cake with cherry kirsch, vanilla and almond flour (actually gluten free) was a birthday gift. The chocolate mousse was layered with the cake and the cherry topping was in a troth in the mid-section. Add a little cream and some more chocolate and you have another wonderful sweet closing for the meal.
Final treats were passionfruit and hazelnut latte bonbons. I preferred the latter but both were good.