03 Sep Please The Palate Pick of the Week: Bar Le Côte in Los Olivos
When you have a meal that you love so much that you cannot wait to go back, that is a very satisfying feeling. When you return and are equally impressed, you know that you have found a great spot. That is how I feel about Bar Le Côte in Los Olivos. Every bite I have had has been flavorful and memorable and that is why Bar Le Côte in Los Olivos is the Please The Palate pick of the week.
Bar Le Côte is located in the charming town of Los Olivos in the Santa Ynez Valley. Opened one year ago, it is owned by chef Daisy Ryan and her husband/partner Greg Ryan, who also own Bell’s in Los Alamos. They teamed up with chef Brad Mathews to create a seafood tavern. A seafood tavern may seem odd in landlocked Los Olivos but they source sustainable fish and seafood, as well as local produce for some of the best ingredients.
I had heard about Bar Le Côte and it was on my list. But my trips to Santa Ynez are usually mid-week. I was going up on a Monday and coming home on Wednesday and Bar Le Côte is open for dinner on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (they are open for lunch Wednesday – Sunday). But, recently I was up during the week and was planning to drive home on Friday. I decided to stay for dinner before heading back in order to avoid traffic. So, I went to Bar Le Côte and was able to get a seat at the bar.
A small, charming restaurant, I felt welcome the moment I sat down. The lovely server greeted me and offered me a pour of wine. It was the custom labeled Blanc de BLC, a fresh, mineral driven white wine that was perfect to pair with any dish.
As I perused the menu, I was served a plate of Boquerones, skewers of marinated white anchovy, olives, pickled peppers, and sauce tonnato. Everything looked so good on the menu. I wanted to order everything.
The “On Ice” offerings include fresh oyster, Santa Barbara sea urchin, peel & eat shrimp, and caviar with potato chips. I wanted it all and luckily they have a “happy hour” offer of oysters and peel & eat shrimp.
The Day Boat Scallop Crudo with pickled Mighty Cap Black Pearl Mushrooms, creme fraiche, and dill pollen was a piece of art. The delicacy of the plating was so pretty to look at that I did not want to touch it. But I did, and it was perfect. The scallops melt in the mouth and there are umami flavors but overall it is a delicate and delicious dish.
Santa Ynez Summer Corn was rich and creamy but also summer fresh. Large pieces of Wild Mexican Shrimp were mixed inside and a piece of sea urchin sat on top.
Two weeks later I was back in Santa Ynez for work and when Friday came along, after I finished my interviews, I headed back to Bar Le Côte and sat at the bar. Again I was greeted by the friendly staff. This time I ordered the fresh Local Arugula salad with aged Manchego, toasted almond, Sherry & Membrillo Vinaigrette.
I also ordered the Little Neck Clams with house chorizo, white wine, sofrito, and toasted bolillo.
And I could not resist the Spiced BLC Fries with aioli.
Each dish was thoughtfully composed. Each bite was so flavorful. Eating at Bar Le Côte is definitely one of the places elevating the region and I cannot wait to head back up to Santa Ynez just to eat there!