Farm-fresh fare on menu at San Ysidro Ranch’s iconic restaurant
The Stonehouse Restaurant at San Ysidro Ranch in Montecito is welcoming the new spring season with a lavish Easter brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 4.
“It’s time to set our tables for an intimate spring feast that utilizes fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables from our chef’s garden,” said Matt Johnson, executive chef. “Each dish is a unique creation of seasonal ingredients that represent the bounty of our region.”
Chef Johnson and his culinary team are preparing a menu of farm-fresh fare with starters such as big eye tuna crudo with strawberry, petit basil, grapes, sea salt and verjus; smoked salmon with crispy potato latke, American sturgeon caviar, petit herb salad, Bellwether Farms Creme Fraiche and sauce gribiche; smoked Muscovy duck roll with Napa cabbage salad, avocado, herb fromage blanc and sweet chili sauce; garden basil marinated heirloom tomatoes with burrata, Persian cucumbers, pesto croutons and charred sungold tomato vinaigrette.
Entree selections include roasted garden vegetable shakshuka with pan squash, baby kale, poached organic eggs, grilled ciabatta, sweet paprika and San Marzano tomato sauce; jumbo crab cake benedict served on toasted brioche with avocado, piquillo peppers and wild rocket arugula dressed in a zesty Meyer lemon hollandaise; pan-roasted New Zealand John Dory with baby romanesco, sugar snap peas, rainbow chard, coco vert beans, sherry and turmeric nage; herb crusted spring Colorado lamb loin with morel mushrooms, spring peas, confit yellow tomatoes, whole grain spaetzle and pinot noir jus and prime filet of beef with gruyere potato pave, creamed spinach and white asparagus dressed in bordelaise sauce.
“If you have a sweet tooth, you will most certainly enjoy your choice of creme fraiche panna cotta served with strawberry sorbet, rhubarb and ginger jelly; carrot cake served with a scoop of coconut sorbet and vanilla pineapple marmalade and Valrhona chocolate truffle tart with Earl Grey caramel and Tahitan vanilla chantilly,” said Chef Johnson, a California native who grew up in a family who worked in the Santa Barbara wine industry.
Before joining San Ysidro Ranch in 2008, he worked at California spots such as Windows on the Water in Morro Bay, Summerwood Winery in Paso Robles and The Inn at Spanish Bay in Pebble Beach.
Sommelier-selected wines can be paired with each course.
“Easter is a popular holiday here at the Ranch,” said Ian Williams, general manager. “This time last year, it wasn’t as busy as previous years because of the pandemic. Even though we are moving into safer tiers, our spacious grounds lend themselves to social distancing. Guests who come for brunch at our award-winning Stonehouse may begin or conclude their dining experience with a stroll around our fragrant gardens.
“Garden walks, yoga with an ocean view, lawn games, luxurious pampering treatments, adventurous hiking and picnics under gnarled oak trees are popular pastimes. The herbaceous gardens and lantern-lit hanging gourds in the loquat trees are reminiscent of countryside villas in Provence France.”
Mr. Williams and other members of the staff are basking in the recent announcement that the resort received a Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Rating “for its dedication to accommodate every creature comfort, impressive list of services and amenities, including palate-pleasing dining options.”
Forty-one vine-covered cottages are spread across the lush hillsides of the 550-acre property, which was originally established as a citrus farm in the early 1880s.
“Each cottage comes with its own private gated entry, enclosed gardens and cottage-side parking,” said Mr. Williams. “Three new cottages, featuring private backyards and gardens with rain showers and oversized sunken spas, were recently added along San Ysidro Creek.”
Special features include exclusive dining at the Carriage House and a private wine cellar tour.
“The Carriage House is a storybook-style cottage venue with French doors opening to a private stone-paved patio, lined with scaling vines and twinkle lights for a starlit dining experience,” said Mr. Williams. “The regal ambiance of its decor coupled with the natural beauty of the surroundings make it a perfect setting for romantic evenings.”
During the private tour of the underground wine cellar, guests sip and savor champagne with canapes while the Ranch’s sommelier introduces wine selections and makes recommendations for dinner.
“The wine cellar houses more than 12,000 of the most premium and diverse wines and champagnes from around the world, reinforcing its place on the annual Wine Spectator Grand Award list,” said Mr. Williams. “Stonehouse Restaurant holds the distinction of its commitment to wine service and being named one of only 100 restaurants across 17 countries worldwide.”
Famous for its mac ‘n’ cheese and award-winning ribs, the Plow & Angel is a locals’ favorite. The cozy ambiance is enhanced with original artwork, including gorgeous stained-glass windows and a homage to its namesake. Saint Isadore, hanging above the fireplace.
State-of-the-art anti-infection protocols at the Ranch continue to include daily disinfection of public areas, including dining rooms, bar areas, kitchens, employee stations, restrooms and outdoor benches in combination with non-harmful Ecolab virus killing chemicals used by electrostatic sprayers.
The resort is featured in the Forbes Travel Guide as a Health Security Verified property.
“San Ysidro Ranch is a special place where one can indulge the senses and invigorate the soul. It is a slice of Heaven unlike anywhere else in the world,” said Ty Warner, owner of San Ysidro Ranch. “The Ranch prides itself on the history, the beauty and the spirit of this special property. We all have worked diligently during the pandemic to ensure public safety and make it a relaxing experience for our guests.”