The Sur House
Ventana Big Sur
48123 Hwy 1
Big Sur, CA 93920
Dining date: 12/6/21 and 12/7/21
I’ve been lucky enough to stay at the Ventana Big Sur a few times over the last couple of years. With a large, open campus in the hills of Big Sur, the resort has been an ideal place to get away during the pandemic. The on-property restaurant is this one, The Sur House, open for breakfast and dinner. The restaurant was open to the public pre-pandemic, but converted to a ‘hotel guest only’ policy in the middle of 2020 as the hotel went all-inclusive.
The restaurant has a number of tables indoor, but most prefer to dine at the expansive patio. Dinner at The Sur House includes a highly-customizable three-course menu of appetizer, entrée, and dessert.
SPANISH OCTOPUS white beans, piquillo peppers, serrano ham, brioche, aleppo orange, chorizo
SANTA BARBARA PRAWNS rosemary, lemon, smoked sea salt, olive oil
FLAT IRON BEEF TARTARE capers, shallot, chives, lemon zest, cornichons, arugula, tempered egg yolk
CALIFORNIA QUAIL persimmon, braised endive, brussels sprouts, pomegranate, quail jus
SEARED DAY BOAT SCALLOPS squid ink risotto, meyer lemon preserve, gremolata, nage
SMOKED FOGLINE FARMS DUCK BREAST butternut squash, braised duck leg, balsamic cherry jus
GRILLED BLACK ANGUS BEEF TENDERLOIN crispy potato, roasted carrot, chanterelle, black garlic, beef jus
SEASONAL GALETTE pear fruit filling, creme fraiche ice cream
LEMON TART whipped ricotta, blueberry basil ice cream, espelette honey
CARROT CAKE cheesecake mousse, bourbon caramel walnuts
DULCEY BRULEE guanaja ganache, apricot fluid gel, dried meringue, maldon salt
For a hotel restaurant, especially with a captive audience, the food at The Sur House is very good. The octopus appetizer has been a staple on the menu on each visit and is a highlight, with mild spice and contrasting rich flavors and bright acidity. Seared scallops were another strong effort – huge scallops were nicely seared and sat in a squid ink risotto, while the preserved lemon made all the difference. On the dessert front, the dulcey brulee was one of the best vegan “replacements” in recent memory; we didn’t actually realize it was vegan until after finishing it. The “custard” had a great creamy texture and a subtle chocolate flavor, accented by fresh fruit and the caramelized sugar. There’s a lot to like about the Ventana Big Sur, and the food happens to be one of them.