Bouchon - An Absolutely Wonderful Dining Experience
First I want to thank my fellow Chowhound friends for recommending a great line-up of restaurants for my trip up north from LA for the President's Day weekend.
That Friday evening my GF and I stopped in Santa Barbara for our reservation at Bouchon.
Arrived early and the hostess recommended we kill some time and have a drink by a neighboring bar (forgot the name). Bar had a cool atmosphere and we both had some potent martinis. Half-way through the drink I received a tap on the shoulder - it was the hostess from Bouchon, who had the courtesy to let us know the table in the patio was now ready for us (I thought this courtesy was a nice touch).
Once seated at our table, our server introduced himself (I believe his name was David - he was very charming and professional) and recommended a perfect bottle of Syrah (which he also decanted for us).
First course was their foie gras which was mind-blowing. Server brought us a glass of viognier to pair with the foie gras... which was a wonderful match!
Second course, we got the escargot... which, while I highly enjoyed the course, sent my GF (loving escargot) into a state of bliss.
Third (main) course, we split the "duck 2 ways" dish (duck breast and duck leg) which was flawless! (Server recommended the duck - based on the grounds that the dish had been a favorite now for 9 years with the restaurant and is a sure winner.) Each of our plates had such a generous portion of duck, that it looked more as if we had both received full order of the dish (server then hinted that the chef couldn't help but be reward us with a generous portion). By this time, we were amazed at how Bouchon has "on fire" with such phenomenal dishes.
Fourth course we shared the creme brule and had cappuccino.
Atmosphere, food, service... everything was absolutely stellar!
$167 after tax and generous tip. 200% worth it.
p.s. that weekend we also went up to Paso Robles and ate at Artisan and then headed back to Solvang for Ballard Inn. Both great restaurants but no-where in the league of Bouchon. I couldn't recommend Bouchon more to other fellow Chowhounds.