Dinner at Blush

Jan. 19, 2013

Downtown Santa Barbara can be quite happening, and this place is at the center of it all. With it’s cool interior, reminiscent of a warehouse space but with charm, it paints the canvas for all of the beautiful people in town. I went on a Saturday night, which I would say the evening gets divided into two completely separate events. The first is a very upscale eatery, with its nice array of fun casual dining. The second; a hot DJ inspired nightclub, with all the bells and whistles, including the scantily clad young babes, and the dudes who have a thing for plaid here. It is as a 25 to 40’s crowd. I started during the dinner hours and finished watching the parade of starlet types in this well-known beach town.

Blake is the General Manager here, who used to be at another Santa Barbara dining establishment, Holdrens, and my fantastic server Mikey has been with Blush for 6 months. Mikey grew up in Tarzana, and went to college in Santa Barbara and never left. Chef Kyle is fantastic with his emphasis on great sauces. He believes in balance, and his dishes have a Mediterranean inspiration. Both of these guys were very sweet and attentive!

Here’s what I tried:

Soups & Salads
Caesar Salad – Romaine Lettuce, Crostini, Pickeled Cherry Tomatoes, Caesar Dressing, very classic Caesar salad with good dressing.

Blush Beef Burger – Tomato fondue, caramelized onions, pickles, roasted garlic aioli, arugula, on a challah bun. Choice of: Gruyere, White Cheddar, or Bleu Cheese. What a burger, reminds me of my childhood, eating at Delores Burgers in Los Angeles with the servers skating up to your car. I remember this great tomato flavored sauce, reminiscent of tomato fondue on this burger. How do say spectacular!!!

Shared Plates
Ahi Tartare – Ginger Celery Root Puree, Pickled Baby Bok Choy, Ponzu Sauce, Taro Crisps. This just poped in my mouth, the Ahi is very fresh, great presentation, and the accompaniments add to this wonderful dish
Lobster Mac –N- Cheese – Three Cheese Sauce, Crisp Pancetta, Fine Herbs. So rich and yummy, a beginning of a pleasant addiction.
Crab Cakes – Jumbo Blue Crab, Papaya Relish, Shaved Jicama, Chipotle Crema. It’s the Chipotle Crema that does the trick with this menu item.

Pappardelle Pasta – Porcini Pasta, Arugula, Wild Mushrooms, Truffle Oil, Shaved Pecorino, Pearl Onions. I am not one for pearl onions, but these are so sweet and succulent. The pasta itself is cooked al dente, and the sauce is very rich and creamy. I loved this dish.
Pan Seared Scallops – Roasted Cauliflower Pudding, Ginger Carrot Puree, Baby Turnips. Another dish to write home about. The scallops are plump and seared to perfection, with all the sides, it just works!
8oz Filet Mignon – Spanish Chorizo Potato Hash and a Petite Chile Relleno, the filet is cooked medium rare, and is so tasty. The hash is a very new and different great dish.

White Wines:
Lincourt Chardonnay, Santa Barbara, CA, fantastic with the scallops and crab cakes, has just the right amount of fruit to add to both of these shellfish creations.
Hahn Chardonnay, “SLH Estate” Monterey, CA, works so well with the Ceasar Salad and Ahi Tuna.

Red Wines
Rosenblum Zinfandel – Sonoma, CA, paired well with the the tomato in The Blush burger.
Terrazas Malbec “Reserva” – Mendoza, ARG, so perfect along side the filet.
Buena Vista Cabernet Sauvignon – Sonoma, CA, excellent with the filet.
Justin Cabernet Sauvignon – Paso Robles, CA, great with the pasta and filet.

I saw two bridal parties here, starting their debauchery at a great spot. Later I saw one of the bridal parties wobbling down the street, those thousand inch heels were taking their toll.

The restaurant and lounge serves food and cocktails everyday of the week. Dinner is not to be missed and they also have a great lunch and late night menu. You can start things off with a fabulous happy hour Monday through Sunday from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

The indoor dining room has a sexy ambience with floating amber lights, and the exquisite outdoor patio is accompanied with fireside seating. Blush features seasonal California cuisine, with a perfect blending of culinary delights. The bar presents very innovative signature cocktails. In all, a great atmosphere, with exceptional food, what more could you want.

630 State St
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
(805) 957-1300


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