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Let's eat.

From Big Sur's killer cliff-clinging eateries to Salinas' unparalleled produce, this blog aims to sniff out all things Monterey County can stomach, via picture and prose, curiosity and appetite, hand and mouth.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Cannery Row Brewing Company Opens (For Real)

It's official. The CRBC opens tomorrow (with a brand new sign supplanting the Willy's leftover in this shot from earlier in the spring).

The powers that be confiscated my menu at the soft opening, but I can testify there is a wide range of nice items that demonstrate talented Executive Chef Mark Ayers, late of Pacific's Edge and long of the Hyatt family of properties, is enjoying the freedom of a casual atmosphere, but not leaving his rigorous standards behind. And he's got a heroic smoker they've dubbed Cheech on his team for pork chops, ribs and who-knows-what-inventiveness beyond that.

The chops, pork belly and ribs I had were juicy, saucy-indulgent and fall-off-the-bone tender with a nice crisp edge, respectively. A rare ahi salad was melt-in-the-mouthy, corn-flake-crusted chicken strips beat any I remember (homemade ranch is a nice touch) and the service benefitted from some local veterans happy to land at such a buzz-worthy spot. The only just-misses were slightly-oversmokey sliders and a potatoey clam chowder, but the Coastal Luxury Management team behind the CRBC (and forthcoming 1833 in the former Stokes) were so good about soliciting feedback I'm sure they've already got those elements buttoned up like a tunic.

The real intrigue will involve the big seller-to-be: beer. They plan to pour 73 carefully juried beers (including four house labels brewed off site), which requires an inspired network of taps and chill technology, little of which was in place last week beyond the beautiful brick cooler behind the bar with windows that peek at the kegs.

Stay tuned.