Carmel Valley (near Monterey not SD)?
Looking for good, inexpensive to moderately priced dinner places (ie entrees in teens or low twenties), without driving into town. We've eaten at Wickets and enjoyed it but were wondering what else is new. any cuisine type fine, though we'd prefer something besides a steakhouse. Outside dining would be great. Any thoughts? Other than the high end places (Marinus, Citronelle) I don't see a lot of mentions of Carmel Valley options on the board...Thanks!
thanks for the replies...Corkscrew Cafe is only open for dinner Friday and Saturday, but will check it out another time for lunch. We ended up at Cafe Rustica. Here's my report:
We were seated at a comfortable table on the small side patio. Very casual; lots of folks in shorts and jeans. Bread and ice water were brought promptly; indeed, service was very good.
The menu prices are close to what is shown on their website:
The wine list has a fair number of local offerings, and seems to be reasonably priced. Several of the wines are offered by the quarter liter.
Hubby and I both ended up ordering specials, a scallops dish and roast duck, priced at $22 and $24 respectively; those prices included either soup of the day or a salad.
We both ordered soup, tomato basil: it was definitely the highlight of the meal! Delicious, just the right amount of basil, bright and fresh. My only complaint was the oddly-shaped bowl it was served in made it hard to get every last drop. yum.
Unfortunately, while not bad, the mains didn't live up to the promise of that soup. My duck had a very nicely crisped skin, but unfortunately was just a bit overcooked, and wasn't allowed to rest after coming out of the oven, so was much too hot to eat: by the time it cooled off enough for me to eat it, I am sure it cooked a bit more...the duck was served with good mashed potatoes and braised purple cabbage. I am a cabbage lover, and this was fairly good, but was seasoned with cinammon and was overly sweet. The duck sat on a forgettable but unobtrusive mushroom sauce.
Hubby's scallops were also overcooked; indeed the top of two of them were over-seared to the point of being blackened/burnt. Sides included some very good chard, the same mashed potatoes I had, and some grilled whole small red and yellow peppers.
Both main portions were huge.
We skipped dessert.
Total for two soups and two entrees, with tax and tip, including two quarter liters of wine, was about $90.
Bottom line: the potential was there, but someone in the kitchen wasn't paying close attention to execution. I couldn't help but compare our meal to one we had a few days earlier on the patio at Wickets, where the food was much more vibrant and expertly prepared. In all fairness, however, our dinner at Wickets cost almost $80 more (thanks in no small part to a pricier wine list and my inability to resist trying a Jordan Chardonnay on the Wickets list :-)).
I really was tempted to try Plaza Linda, just because hubby is a sucker for courtyards and because they have a new tequila list. Sorry PolarBear, would have liked to have given you a report....Next time.
thanks again for the suggestions. Gail: I hope you report back on your meals as well; Carmel Valley could use more coverage on the board!
Cafe Rustica (indoor/outdoor) no steakhouse this! I think they have a site. Also, Corkscrew Cafe where I've only had lunch, but it is wonderful. Indoor or a VERY casual outdoor garden area. I never miss this place. The wine list, sadly, is limited as the owner owns the winery where the Cafe is located. In my opinion, his wine is medium.
We will be visiting both in 3 weeks. Hope this helps.