Sevilla in Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara is a beautiful town. The last time I was here was 24 years ago. We have already checked out most of State Street. Looking forward to going over to UCSB, walking down the beach, riding bikes and taking a drive to the wine country. Of course, checking out the local chefs.
Last night we went to Sevilla. The chef was given the award as one of the best new chefs from Food and Wine magazine in 2001. That was the year he must have peaked.
The restaurant is has a Moroccan type feeling. Small intimate booths where you can actually close the curtains to get privacy while you eat. Very heavy feeling.
We tried a variety of different plates last night. The restaurants cuisine is Brazilian French which is interesting considering the name is Sevilla which is from Spain.
Josh began with roasted pork loaded with Brazilian spices that had been braised for hours. Served over a mash of yams. On top was deep fried leeks that had been doused in a small bit of truffle oil. The pork was very tasty but the sweet potatoes took away from the pork. Heavy and not that interesting. The leeks were just an added bonus if you like truffles. Fred had the sweet pea puree ravioli with shrimp. Really heavy tasting and when I think of peas, I think light and spring. This tasted like winter. I had the tuna tasting. A beautiful presentation. Four different ways to serve tuna. One was a large portion of diced tuna that really was just fresh with no additional flavors. Some of the tuna was stringy. Then there was a small cylindrical of chopped tuna over chopped avocado and tiny pieces of popcorn served on top. Interesting and more tasty than the other tuna but again not a wow. One small piece of tuna that had been partly cooked over a spicy sauce was interesting but not that tasty. The last piece had the consistency of a beet but it was a spicy piece of tuna that had gone through some type of transformation. All and all, great presentation but really lacking in flavor and innovation.
Dinner was mixed too. The girls went with the tuna. Served in a bowl, charred tuna that they poured a consommé over right as they served it. So, it was like eating a soup. Vegetables and tuna served over scallop dumplings which were very rich. Interesting but again really heavy.
Fred and I went for the Australian Sea Bass. Grill piece of sea bass which was almost too rich. I barely ate half of it. The brilliant winner on that plate were the small pieces of roasted root vegetables that were mixed up with some pancetta. Sweet, spicy and really good. I would have been happy with just a big bowl of these vegetables.
Josh went with the pasta. Braised spicy beef, pulled apart and served with brocolinni, and scallions. The beef like his pork, really tasty and rich. This was served over a papparandelle pasta.
Dessert, always a favorite was next. Large strawberries served with melted chocolate, fondue. We also went for the strawberry bread cake served alongside blueberry ice cream. That was absolutely delicious.
As a whole, the restaurant is incredibly uneven. The place feels old and so does the menu. Here we are in sunny Santa Barbara, and although the menu reads light the food is heavy and tastes like winter.
Big disappointment. Sevilla would definitely not be on my recommendation list.