S.Y. Kitchen Archives - Please The Palate
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I went to S.Y. Kitchen for my first time last summer and loved it.  So, when I drove up to Santa Barbara wine country for the weekend recently, I knew I wanted to go back. I remembered that the chef and sous chef are Italian brothers Luca and Francesco Crestinelli and I have actually known Luca from when he lived in Los Angeles and worked at Vincenti and then Bar Toscana. Luca hadn't been there the last time I was in so this time we got a chance to catch up. But, suddenly, I realized that I was surrounded by Italians - the chefs, the bar manager Alberto Battaglini and many of the waiters. The wine director Emily Johnston is American but, like me, an Italo-phile. I almost felt as if I was in Italy. Luca and Francesco Crestanelli I took a seat at the bar and started with cocktails (and wine). SY Kitchen is one of the only places in Santa Barbara wine country to get well-made cocktails. And, truth be told, after a day of wine tasting, a cocktail is what is needed. Bar Manager Alberto Battaglini focuses on fresh ingredients and makes all of his own garnishes. There is a wall of jars with candied citrus, herbs and other housemade garnishes. Alberto has created a good menu but really likes to hear what guests want and he has trained his staff to do the same.
With all of the amazing wines coming out of the Santa Ynez Valley, it is only fitting that good restaurants follow. And probably the hottest destination right now, after a day of wine tasting, is S.Y. Kitchen in the town of Santa Ynez. SY Kitchen For Los Angelenos, there may be some recognizable faces. Mike and Kathie Gordon who own Toscana restaurant and Bar Toscana in Brentwood are the proprietors. Chef Luca Crestanelli, formerly at Bar Toscana, created the California-Italian menu. And you will also find his brother Francesco, who is the Sous/Pastry Chef in the open kitchen.
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