I love Bouchon (Santa Barbara)!
The service and food is AMAZING!!! Went there for my Anniversary, which I mentioned when I made the reservation. When we showed up, we were greeted with a "Happy Anniversary" and promptly led to a nice table on the patio, where there were rose petals strewn across the table. Our server, Aaron, came by shortly after with complimentary champagne and a great personality. Needless to say, we felt very special. Aaron was extremely helpful with the menu and wine decisions, as were all the other waitstaff members as I noticed (by eavesdropping on other tables). I forget the hostess' name, but she was so accommodating and congenial with all the guests, making sure everyone was comfortable especially with the temperature of the heat lamps.
I started with the Buffalo Tartare, which was very fresh and good for a starter. The buffalo had such a nice flavor and texture, which really came through. Since there were crispy capers, which were awesome, I did find it was slightly over-salted. But, it definitely did not detract from the dish. My husband had the special broccoli puree, which he thought was simple but nothing special. I felt it was missing something, but not quite sure what.
For my entree, I had the Bourbon and Maple-Glazed California Duck Breast (their specialty), and it was sooooo delicious that I can't even give it justice! All I can say, is that it just became my "last meal" (you know, the one you'd have if you were on death row). The duck confit was to die for!!! Aaron suggested the Palmina Dolcetto wine, which I can say totally enhanced my dinner. In fact, it just became my new favorite Italian wine (used to be Chianti).
My husband chose the Braised Short Ribs. They were melt-in-your-mouth good! He was paired with a Syrah (sorry, can't remember the exact name), which I have to admit went quite well, and I am not a fan of Syrah!
Dessert - I had the Apple Tarte Tartin, which was perfect! The cinnamon ice-cream (McConnell's) was a unique surprise - very light and subtle, not overpowering. He had the Meyer Lemon Curd Tart, which he enjoyed very much. I found it a little strong for my taste, but I am not lemon curd lover.
Our biggest disappointment is that it is not located nearby! We would both go back there in a second! So, the next time you're in Santa Barbara, you should definitely experience this outstanding restaurant - you'll have such a wonderful time.
Santa Barbara bouchon has been open for a long time - about 10 years or so and has very local owners.
This was the site and the front courtyard original plantings for Les Belle Miches French (with the proper ovens) bakery which started the whole new food revolution in Santa Barbara about 30 years ago.
Hats off to original owner Dinah Schley (later Danielle Forestiere) and friend of Julia Childs for making it possible to start enjoying good breads and pastries, superbly made.
Up to that time Santa Barbara was a real meat and potatoes town, with sidewalks that rolled up at 9pm and enforced dress codes at the Talk of the Town, which was the only place that did turn out good food with elegance and style.
Every time I walk past buchon and see how tall those front hedges are I think back to the early days when Dinah and Les Belle Miche got its start and changed us forever and planted those twigs to give it a sidewalk cafe feel. Now the hedges make the front patio a totally enclosed room. And buchon is our Santa Barbara dining sophistication pay-off.