Santa Barbara – Outremont

 

A while ago, my friend T and I passed by this restaurant and were attracted to the menu that was posted out on the window due to the slightly romantic yet relaxed feel of the restaurant. What I remembered most from the menu were the unique names of their drinks: The Architect, The Mathematician…

T had tried this restaurant several times, and I had only finally gone yesterday.

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I started off with the Agua Bendito, which consisted of Bombay gin (for which I substituted for Hendrick’s), cucumber, lemon syrup and mint. An obviously fresh drink made even fresher with the Hendricks. It was a great way to hype myself up for summertime.

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My friend M and I shared two appetizers, the Kale and avocado salad with shiitake and sunflower seeds, and the leek fritatas that came with a zesty yoghurt pairing.

The salad was quite interesting with the shiitake mushrooms, giving it a very earthy taste. An unlikely addition was the avocado, which changed up the texture quite a bit along with the sunflower seeds. It was definitely a more wintery type of dish, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.Processed with VSCOcam

As for the leek fritatas, the inside was a blend of leek and some sort of carby mixture, as with most fritatas. The leek was quite nice and added a great flavour to it. The batter was a little on the oily side, so I would have liked to see them perhaps lay it on some parchment paper before serving. The yoghurt dip went beautifully with the very oily fritata, the tartness of it relieving the greasy mouth feel.Processed with VSCOcam

For my main, I ordered the butternut squash gnocchi served on a bed of Asian Spinach sautéed in garlic. I thought this dish lacked an oomph. Perhaps it’s because I’m not a big cheese fan, so the cheese didn’t really cut it for me, but I found the gnocchi to be quite bland. It was also very overwhelming because I was only able to finish half of this. It’ll definitely fill you up if you’re looking for an (un)healthy (several) serving of carbs!

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M got the salmon burger, which looked absolutely delicious. The burger was topped off with green onion and sriracha sauce, among many others. The salmon was quite thick and was cooked so that the juices were all retained in the center. M said this was absolutely delicious, but again she couldn’t finish it. She commented that the mashed potatoes were more healthy (not a lot of butter), but tasted a little bland. The salad on the side was an excellent portion (my dietitian self speaking), and was a great fresh pairing to the salmon burger.

Processed with VSCOcamEven though our stomachs were exploding, we heard the options for dessert anyway. And I’m glad we did! They had a black sesame crème brulée, which we only needed to glance at each other to know we both wanted to share it. The creme was of a very smooth yet rich texture, with the ground sesame paste sitting at the bottom. The combination was quite nice, and it wasn’t too sweet or too bitter. I did think they could have amped up the black sesame paste a little bit, but perhaps they were being conservative for some of the patrons who weren’t too used to the strong and fragrant black sesame taste. We thought the sugar layer at the top was too burnt and too thick, so I ended up just eating what’s underneath.

Overall, I think this restaurant has some very interesting and uncommon dishes. They’re not extremely unique or innovative, but definitely has a good variety of palette and takes from different cultures. It’s hard to pinpoint what type of cuisine they do, but definitely a mix of asian, european and american. The execution of the food could be done a little better, with a better balance of flavours. But I did appreciate the fact that they only had two cooks, a very small and open kitchen, with a fairly large variety and number of dishes to offer. The atmosphere is extremely relaxed and perfect for a Friday after a full (or maybe just 4 days) week of work.

The next time I come, I will definitely be asking for an Elderflower collins, as I had spotted that they had St. Germain (and obviously Hendrick’s) as I finished my drink. I was a little bummed that I had not seen this earlier, but it just gives me another reason to come back!

Service: 4/5
Food: 8.4/10
Price: $30-50
Atmosphere: relaxed, cute, “santa barbara”, slightly romantic

Santa Barbara Restaurant on Urbanspoon

~ kehwon

 

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