On my recent travel to Monterey for the Pebble Beach Food & Wine event, I had the opportunity to dine at the historic Restaurant1833. This place is a place filled with history, stories and passion. They have put together an amazing team including General Manager, Tobias Peach – Manager whom I personally met and is very delightful, Michael Lay – Spiritsmith (drink genius) , Ted Glennon – Wine Director, and Executive Chef – Levi Mezick (Simply Amazing) . Each one passionate in their role, offering only the very best of local fare.
This historic home holds many stories and dates back to 1833 when it was owned by John Stokes, an imposter pretending to be a pharmacist and physician, but perhaps the most intriguing resident was Martha Harriet Gragg whose spirit is still rumored to haunt the home. The home has since been set to house unique dining and lounge experiences second to none.
When you arrive, be prepared to feel like you are the only person there to be waited on. The attention to detail from the server and staff leaves you feeling like a celebrity. They are quick to remove any dishes on the table and replace your utensils with new clean ones as you progress through your courses. But they don’t just give you new ones, they are perfectly laid out on woven mats in the same position each time. Never once did I have to reach to refill my own sparkling water – whenever it was half empty, a server quickly swooped in to refill.
As your food is brought out, it is not just laid in front of you. You are served in style. The dish is presented to you, telling you exactly what Chef Mezick has prepared for you to enjoy. This I found to be a real treat because I so often wonder what a sauce or garnish is, having that knowledge ahead of time really lets you taste and appreciate what you are eating.
If you are feeling adventurous, do as I did and say surprise me! Give them your budget if you have one, tell them what you do/don’t like and wait to see what the chef recommends for you. I slowly made my way through 6 dishes, 2 cocktails and a cappuccino so I think it’s safe to say I can form a pretty good opinion about the quality of the food.
I started with a Fennel Soup with a Black Pepper and a Sister Sarah to drink. Followed by Hamachi, then hen egg in brioche with prosciutto and arugula. Next came the house made grits with house andouille sausage and prawns. This was followed by Bread Crusted Bronzino atop bok choy and coconut rice. I moved onto a penicillin #2 to drink. I completed my meal with Butterscotch pudding with Bourbon and a decaf cappuccino.
You may think all that food and drink must have cost a fortune, but you would be wrong. All of that is not meant to be eaten by one person, I just wanted to get a good sampling. All that food would have easily been plenty for 2 or 3 people and the total rang up to just under $100. That breaks down into a very reasonable price for a quality dinner with this level of service and ambiance.
As for the quality of the food I sampled, it was simply wonderful. I enjoyed every bite of every dish. I only wish I had a bigger stomach!
The restaurant is not unknown so if you think you might want to dine, be sure to call ahead and make reservations. I ate on a Friday night and the reservations were booked until 10pm by the time I arrived at 6:30.
I really can not say enough good things about my experience and if you can make a request, my server, Brian was phenomenal and I would not hesitate to ask to have him serve me again. So attentive without being bothersome, which is a fine line he walked beautifully. Before my departure, my tab was brought in a fantastic guest book which you are invited to write your thoughts. Once full, it enters the library amonst the past guest books. A very nice touch.
If only I lived closer to Monterey, I would love to visit again and try more of the incredible spirits, wine and menu. Truly magnificent!