••• My husband and I went to Reunion Kitchen + Drink—the new restaurant at Cabrillo Pavilion on East Beach—for lunch the other day. I know many longtime Santa Barbarans wish the restaurant was more casual and less expensive, the way things used to be in that space. There may be nothing I can say to change some minds, but the restaurant is better than you might expect, given the extensive menu. The food was put together nicely, the service was sharp—our server brought us warm moist towels after we were done eating—and the setting is obviously magical. My only quibble is that the food tends toward too much: the BLT comes with an inch of bacon on bread that’s griddled with Parmesan; the fish in the salmon citrus salad is slathered with marmalade (after cooking). Less really can be more.
••• We also made it to Sushi Bar Montecito for the first time. I was dismayed to learn a few days beforehand that chef Lennon Silvers-Lee had moved on, but the current lineup carried on admirably—the food was fantastic, and we loved talking with the chefs as they worked. Only one part of the meal left a bad taste: the “complimentary welcome cocktail in the lobby of the Montecito Inn.” We tried skipping it, showing up right at the reservation time (instead of 15-20 minutes before, as directed), but we still had to wait in the lobby for 15 minutes before getting marched over to the restaurant like we were on a field trip. I imagine the management finds it more efficient to have everyone enter at the same time, so the meal can be explained just once, but I found the ritual awkward and unnatural. It reminded me of the free glass of mead the Monarch would foist on you at the host’s stand….
••• Dune Coffee Roasters says that its new Goleta outpost—in the former Pizza Hut space next to Zodo’s bowling alley—should open soon.
••• Rory’s Place in Ojai is now hoping to be ready by late January.
••• Jimboz Lounge should be ready to reopen in the next couple of weeks—but as you can see below, the name is now De La Vina Lounge.
••• And Finney’s Crafthouse has three more locations in the works—one in Camarillo and two in Orange County—for a total of nine.
••• Commercial real estate agent Caitlin Hensel reports that “a taco concept by local operators” is rumored to be coming to the former Dunkin’ space on State Street (near Whole Foods).
••• Acme Hospitality is clearly intending to turn its XO Burger pop-up (open Friday through Sunday in the old Tyger Tyger space) into something permanent, as Edible Santa Barbara spotted help-wanted ads for various positions. I’m hoping to get there this weekend; in the meantime, here’s a report (and photo) from H: “Absolutely delicious. Slightly salty but no points off for that. I saw the pop-up and had a hankering for a burger and glad I pulled over. Will definitely return.” UPDATE: In response to Jonathan’s question about whether Tyger Tyger might come back someday, I reached out to Acme to ask about XO and Tyger Tyger. The response: “There should be more news about the pop-up but what we do know is that it will probably last through February. We do not think Tyger Tyger will return.” Pour one out for the fabulous weeping brisket dish….
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