I popped in the revamped Big Sur Roadhouse a few days ago and was thrilled to see the cleaned up pit stop along Highway One. The modern redwood sign on the highway sets the tone for the contemporary yet cozy restaurant hidden by a redwood plank fence, which makes you feel as though you are stepping into a neighbor's backyard BBQ. Beds of succulents line the walkway to the front door of the dining room where a brass fire pit/stove anchors the sleek yet rustic room. The bar sits at the other end where you can order up everything from a café latte to a locally made wine.
Since it was such a nice day I opted to have lunch in the restaurant's "backyard." The shaded patio is surrounded by lush plants and reminds you that are literally in a redwood forest. Tables are scattered about and comfy couches line a large outdoor fire pit, perfect for socializing over a glass wine and apps!
After adjusting to my serene surroundings jovial Chef Matt Glazer stopped by our table to personally explain his "coastal Cajun cuisine" menu. His New Orleans upbringing certainly had an impact on the menu choices; where else can you find grits served for breakfast, lunch and dinner? The master himself suggested starting with his gumbo, a salad, sandwiches and some sides. He successfully twisted the arms of everyone in the group and between us all, we ended up ordering almost everything on the menu.
The Big Sur seafood gumbo was quite a way to begin the meal. Chunks of Dungeness crab and Andouille sausage were submerged in roasted Monterey County bell peppers, onions and celery. This even came with fried okra from Swank Farms!
The next dish really took me by surprise. I'm not usually a fan of kale but the kale Caesar salad single-handedly changed my mind. Matt's homemade garlicky Caesar dressing and generous amounts of Grana Padana cheese made the shredded greens simply divine.
Luckily I had saved room for the Muffaleta sandwich served with a side of homemade potato chips and a pickle. Slices of salami, mortadella, prosciutto and provolone cheese were lined with a special olive salad - think tapenade on steroids. All of this was crammed in between pillowy freshly baked focaccia bread. The various textures alone made this dish the highlight.
What would a creole meal be without grits? A bowl of cheesy white grits had me from hello with a spicy aroma from the roasted Serrano chilies. The warm porridge had a delectable creamy consistency, a great way to end a surprising southern meal found in a modern spin of Big Sur.
Although the gluttonous meal made me want to take a nap on the luxurious outdoor couch I'm already planning my next trip down to the Roadhouse. I can't wait to check out their small bites and dinner menu where seabass po' boys, southern-fried chicken lollipops and their famous buttermilk biscuits are offered.
Big Sur Roadhouse is open daily from 7 am-9:30 pm for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
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