Sushi Bar, Montecito, 6/27/22

exterior – 1295 Coast Village Rd., Santa Barbara, CA., 93108

Sushi By Scratch is part of the historic Montecito Inn and the concept of Chef Phillip Frankland Lee.  It is the only Michelin-starred restaurant in the area and serves an Omakase 17 courses to 10 diners three times in the evening.  It is part of the Scratch Restaurant group with different concepts in cities like Los Angeles, Miami and Austin. This dining experience starts 15 minutes prior in the hotel’s lobby with a welcome cocktail. (Parking is via hotel valet or they will direct you to the self-park lot).  With the meal you can order your own beverage or buy one of their pairing packages – house, sake, or wine – all $110.  We took the House pairing which served a combination of sake, cocktails and beer.   In hindsight, even though the pairings were well matched,  I would recommend getting your own bottle of something as the pairings felt over-priced.  Seating was comfortable and the 3 chefs preparing your bites were conversational and friendly.  The 16 items featured are on the wall in front and #17 is dessert.  Numbers by each entry are the price of each if there is time and you want another piece at the end of the meal.  The sushi is all outstanding and it is a fun experience that I recommend. Continue reading

Caruso’s, Montecito, CA, 6/26/22

hotel – 1759 S Jameson Ln, Montecito, CA 93108

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. Continue reading