Friday, September 8, 2017


Arroyo Grande, California, September 7, 2017—
WE LIKE THIS PLACE enough to break the drive down Highway 101 to spend the night. I think it's edging to one of my Five Restaurants; it is certainly among the Hundred.
The plates have depth, crunch where appropriate, and edge. Cal-Ital, I suppose, with the wood-burning oven a central focus (pardon the pun). But after the last few days of near-constant motion alternating with fatigue I knew I had to eat wisely, so stuck to three courses:

Minestrone: the classic, though based on chicken stock rather than beef or veal, with lots of vegetables in a rich, deep tomato-infused soup with generous parmesan and a dollop of fine pesto.
Grilled romaine: a split, stripped-down head of romaine grilled over coals, with anchovy-lemon vinaigrette inevitably bringing bagna caoda to mind, chives, and shaved Parmesan.
Gnocchi: very nice large Gnudi, tender yet substantial, in garlic brown butter, with steamed spinach, garnished with fried artichoke petals and Parmesan.

Oh well, yes, dessert too: Mascarpone cheesecake with fig jam, candied bacon, and honey, with rum date ice cream.
     🍷A very good Martini; then Albarino: Mattina Fiore (Edna Valley), 2014
Ember, 1200 East Grand Avenue, Arroyo Grande, California; 📞805-474-7700
RESTAURANTS VISITED, with information and rating: 2016      2015     2017

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