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The Sur House (Big Sur, CA)

The Sur House
Ventana Big Sur
48123 Hwy 1
Big Sur, CA 93920
Dining date: 12/6/21 and 12/7/21

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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.

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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

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SANTA BARBARA PRAWNS rosemary, lemon, smoked sea salt, olive oil

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FLAT IRON BEEF TARTARE capers, shallot, chives, lemon zest, cornichons, arugula, tempered egg yolk

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CALIFORNIA QUAIL persimmon, braised endive, brussels sprouts, pomegranate, quail jus

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SEARED DAY BOAT SCALLOPS squid ink risotto, meyer lemon preserve, gremolata, nage

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SMOKED FOGLINE FARMS DUCK BREAST butternut squash, braised duck leg, balsamic cherry jus

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GRILLED BLACK ANGUS BEEF TENDERLOIN crispy potato, roasted carrot, chanterelle, black garlic, beef jus

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SEASONAL GALETTE pear fruit filling, creme fraiche ice cream

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LEMON TART whipped ricotta, blueberry basil ice cream, espelette honey

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CARROT CAKE cheesecake mousse, bourbon caramel walnuts

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DULCEY BRULEE guanaja ganache, apricot fluid gel, dried meringue, maldon salt

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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.

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