First and Oak – A Hidden Gem in Solvang

Solvang, in the Santa Ynez Valley, is a kitschy town known for its Danish-style architecture and aebelskivers. But a few blocks off the main street is the charming and romantic boutique Mirabelle Inn.

Just inside the hotel is First & Oak Restaurant, an elegant and intimate restaurant that offers personalized service and creative cuisine. The Mirabelle Inn restaurant was established in 1993 but in July of 2015, father and son team Bernard and Jonathan Rosenson purchased the property and remodeled it.

Running First & Oak is Executive Chef Steven Snook who worked for Chef Gordon Ramsey for 10 years. Originally from England, Chef Snook came to the U.S. in 2009 and worked at Maze by Gordon Ramsay at the London Hotel in New York City, Kenwood Inn and Spa and Salish Lodge & Spa before joining First & Oak.

At First & Oak, Chef Snook has created a seasonal menu that can be considered California eclectic. Working with fresh ingredients from local growers and farmers, Chef Snook incorporates French techniques and international flavors into the menu. The seasonally changing menu is set up so that you, the guest, can chose your experience.

There are three tasting menus offered, with a very affordable wine pairing options:

  • Le Petit Tasting – 3 courses $50 (1 To Begin, 1 Farm & Ocean, 1 To Finish), wine pairing $25
  • Premier Tasting – 4 courses $65 (1 To Begin, 1 Farm & Ocean, 1 To Finish), wine pairing $30
  • Grand Tasting – 5 courses $80 (1 To Begin, 1 Farm & Ocean, 1 To Finish), wine pairing $35

The wine pairing is with the wines from Coquelicot Estate Vinyeard, the 58-acre vineyard located in Solvang and owned by the Rosenson family. Certified Organic, Coquelicot is named after the striking red poppy flower that graces the French countryside.

As we settled into our seats, we were sent the house-made sourdough bread with unsalted butter and pink Himalayan salt.

The menu is broken into three sections: To Begin, From the Ocean & Farm and To Finish. What struck most about the menu was the creativeness and presentation of each dish. Each plate was meticulously presented and colorful. And each dish had great flavors and textures, even with a few of the stranger combinations.

To Begin

Whipped Goat cheese, Tamarind Puree, Toasted Coriander, Herbed Sponge, Micro Cilantro

Smoked and Roasted Acorn Squash,Salt Baked Butternut, Pickled Mushrooms, Bourbon Maple Syrup

Charred Tomatillo’s Salsa, Confit Rabbit Taco, Cilantro Tortilla, Smoked Chocoalte Mole

Roasted Octopus Aebleskiver, Shaved Bonito, Sweet Soy Agrodolce, Wasabi, Nori Powder

From the Ocean & Farm

Roasted Black Cod, Beer Braised Green Onions, Salt Cod and Miso Hushpuppies, Mushroom Veloute

Braised Beef, Crispy Capers, Whipped Potato, Shaved Parmesan, Candied Walnuts

To Finish

Crispy Fried Churro, Smoked Chili and Dark Chocolate Ganache, Matcha Creme

Plumped Raisins, Tete De Monde Cheese, Caramelized Cauliflower, Burnt Toast – Yes, caramelized cauliflower which was rather weird with the delicate but funky creamy cheese.

Caramel Apple Tiramisu, Espresso Sponge, Golden Chocolate, Fresh Mint – Hidden inside the tiramisu was chocolate puffed rice and apple pieces

Unique flavor combinations and picture-worthy plating, First & Oak is perfect for a romantic dinner or a quiet place to dine with friends.

First & Oak at the Mirabelle Inn
409 1st St
Solvang, CA 93463