The Chef of Sushi Bar Montecito Is Striking Out on His Own

••• Even though Riviera Bar has only been open since July, it already feels like the kind of place where everybody knows your name (especially for habitués of the old Paradise Café, where much of Riviera Bar’s staff worked). Two of my dining companions ordered the double cheeseburger with an off-menu cheese choice involving Gouda and something else—the cocktails seem to have affected my hearing—but I went for classic American, and it hit the spot. Next time, however, I’ll ask if there’s an off-menu option of special sauce, and if not, I’ll get more of the aioli that comes with the fries.

••• Just two months after Sushi Bar Montecito was awarded a Michelin star, head sushi chef Lennon Silvers Lee has announced that he’s leaving to open his own place. “I can’t wait to show everyone my new restaurant here to come in the near future,” he wrote. “This will be my first time being an owner!” I asked if the new establishment might be in Montecito or Santa Barbara, and he said he’s considering both areas.

••• According to an ad in local media, the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara‘s plan for a Center for Jewish Education includes a “kosher-style Jewish deli.” It’s almost enough to get this goy to donate.

••• The Independent profiled Mizuba Tea, founded by Santa Barbaran Lauren Danson: “The business—which now sells to more than 600 wholesale accounts, more than half of which are coffee shops—is a family affair: her mom helps with packaging and distribution; her Portland-based in-laws help with placements up there, including into the five cafés they own; and her husband, who she met while ordering inside The French Press the same year she started Mizuba, has even started his own company, Herald Tea, which sources from China and Taiwan.”

••• And the Independent also profiled Got Paella: “Based on recipes developed by her husband, Ben Schuster—who was raised by German parents in Madrid and Barcelona and has run S.B. Paella Catering for the past half-decade—the company launched out of a shared kitchen in Goleta in February. […] They’ll finally start selling in Santa Barbara at Bristol Farms on December 1, and—thanks to winning a competition hosted by the national distributor KeHE—will soon be in frozen-food aisles across the country.”

••• Bettina‘s sourdough turkey, inspired by Cottage Loaves, was definitely a highlight this Thanksgiving. Here’s video of chef Brendan Smith making it.


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Wendy Crandall

A Jewish Deli like in New York City would be Totally AWESOME!! We need more Ethnic Places like NY ??

Leslie Westbrook

i wish riviera bar had their menu on their website… what else besides burgers?


Noticed at riviera bar staff is not wearing any face mask defying Santa Barbara ordinance , why you keep advertising them?