Restaurant 1833 is a beautiful restaurant in the historic Stokes Adobe house which was built in 1833 (and thus the name). Stokes is one of the oldest adobes in California and has an interesting history that you can read about on the Tourist Trap site here. It opened last year after extensive renovations by by the founders of Pebble Beach Food & Wine to great acclaim. The restaurant was nominated this year as a semi-finalist for Best New Restaurant from the James Beard Foundation. Ted Glennon, the Beverage Director has been named a “Top Sommelier of 2012” by Food & Wine magazine, and SF Chronicle food critic Michael Bauer gave a 3 star rating. It reminded me a bit of the haunted mansion in Disneyland and even has a ghost on the premises. The gnarled old tree overhead and rustic entryway add to its gothic charms. The patio out front with firepits and chairs looked very inviting, but were empty since it was quite chilly that day, adding to the air of ghostly abandonment.
Inside was a different story, the darkly mysterious bar was bustling with activity, the bottles backlit and the counter translucent and glowing from within. The bar is well stocked, they offer many interesting cocktails and also have an absinthe cart that goes around providing tableside service.
The interior has a rambling layout with seven rooms, each with distinctive decor (I plan to return soon to sample more dishes and to get more pictures), that pays homage to the history and characters that shaped the house. We were led to the Sunroom, which is brightly lit from the paned windows that overlook the garden, and filled with overstuffed comfortable chairs & rich wood tables.
The chef Levi Mezick worked in New York as sous chef at Daniel and executive sous chef at Cafe Boulud. He also worked at Oceana Restaurant and Per Se. The menu of stylish American cuisine features locally-sourced products that showcase the authentic flavors of Central Californian cuisine. We began with an Amuse of Cream of Edamame Soup topped with meyer lemon oil.
We loved the Hamachi Crudo ($6) topped with slices of pickled jalapeno, avocado and orange so much that we ordered another plate… The combination of taste and textures and aroma was fresh and delicious. Lytro alert! Click anywhere on the picture to change the focus…
Crispy Pork ($5), served with caper aioli, pickled garlic and frisee.
The crispy tots are made from melt-in-your mouth tender flesh from a slow roasted pig, minced into tiny pieces of gelatinous cartilage and tendon and rich pieces of meat, dipped in panko batter and deep fried to an exhilaratingly crisp texture.
We enjoyed the soon to be banned Seared Foie Gras ($25), which was magnificent and decadently rich. It was served with mandarin oranges, arugula and candied ginger along with a smear of pureed mango. A strange sounding combination that was absolutely brilliant! The foie gras wilted the arugula which was transformed by the heat and drenched with flavorful juices. There is something magical about pan seared foie gras, the rich flavors coat your lips and the textures are so very luscious.
The juicy mandarin orange segments were drizzled with a wonderful ginger syrup that really kicked off its bright citrus flavors
We continued on the rich and decadent theme with a plate of Bone Marrow ($16), which was split down the middle and topped with a horseradish crust, served with slices of grilled sour dough bruschetta and roasted garlic.
I kept seeing people enjoying the Beef and Cheddar biscuits and asked for an order, they were flaky and fabulous, but really filling. We wondered why they made them so big, because they are so delicious you can’t stop eating them and they take up a lot of stomach real estate.
Crispy Hen Egg ($13) is one of their signature dishes, slow cooked egg wrapped with prosciutto then panko breadcrumbs and deep fried, served over thick spears of fresh asparagus topped with an outrageously delicious cornichon hollandaise sauce and some lovely dressed frisee.
When you cut into the egg the yolk dribbles out, adding a rich golden sheen to the sauce
We could barely finish the Beef Carpaccio ($6.5), dotted with Sriracha foam, cilantro, mango cubes and interesting little crunchy puffed bits of toasted rice.
The Charred Octopus ($14), was very tender, served with marcona almonds, briny castleventrano olives, a spicy romesco sauce, all served over arugula. The perfect size at this point in the meal…
Vintage chandeliers sport Edison bulbs from early 1900′s creating a warm and inviting glow.
We really enjoyed the meal, our server was attentive and there whenever we needed anything. She was always ready to answer our questions or provide suggestions, and we already have plans to return to sample more of the menu.
Read about our visit to the now closed Stokes Restaurant in 2009 here.