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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.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Taste Time Machine to 1833

The wildly anticipated heir to the Stokes Adobe in downtown Monterey is within weeks of a soft opening. The telltale indicator: a two-day job fair 10am-2pm Sunday and Monday, July 18-19, in sister restaurant Cannery Row Brewing Company's banquet room brought out scores of barbacks, managers and servers-to-be.

The indominable David Bernahl, co-owner/founder of the Coastal Luxury Management parent that runs CRBC and 1833, says the tentative opening date is mid August.

In a related note: Out in Carmel Valley, they are celebrating the "bon voyage" of former winemaking assistant and nLinkew 1833 Chef Tim Mosblech in conjunction with Ridge Watson's birthday this Saturday, July 24, with wine tastings, barbecue and special deals, 11am-5pm, www.joullian.com.

Here's what I learned about the heady concepts both edible and contextual at 1833 for a cover story about the rise of Coastal Luxury:

The adobe at 500 Hartnell has been there a very long time. CLM realizes that is the place’s greatest asset – “The historic property itself is a great investment,” says Monterey County Bank’s Charles Chreitzberg – and one CLM is wisely capitalizing on. Its name is taken from the year the building was built. The menu gravitates toward ingredients obtainable 177 years ago. Tables, chairs and accents will echo that theme – no white tablecloths, but perfection by imperfection.

The bar will take on an apothecary aspect appropriate for an era when medicine and alcohol were often interchangeable, lined with antique bottles and manned by bartenders in labcoats applying a scientific appreciation to a mixology-style menu heavy on botanicals. “Hattie’s room” will carry appropriate tributes, including salt crystal samples in homage to the resident ghost’s alleged tradition of salting glasses of wine.

And Hattie won’t be the only thing glowing. Designer Cassie Duncan says the bar itself in the reconfigured entrance area will be 4-inch-thick green onyx illuminated by imbedded LEDs. Antique lighting fixtures will drip near what she calls “romantic niches” hugging the immense oak and soaring redwood out front as part of a reimagined “secret garden” guarded by a hedge. Light from period floor lamps, lounge-friendly furniture and ottomans will give the bar-adjacent “library room” lounge a casual sensibility.

Tim Mosblech was just announced as chef last Wednesday. A veteran of three-Michelin-star restaurants in France, Spain and Germany, having commanded the kitchen at lofty L’Auberge in Carmel and worked with Walter Manzke and Laurent Gras, he’s got the chops to execute carefully crafted rustic. Items on the wine list and menu will reflect the influence of the predominant populations at that point in time on the Peninsula, primarily Spanish and Italian. Mosblech’s palate – he’s been making wine at Joullian with Tom Ridge for the last and year and a half – bodes well for wine pairings.

A place with seven distinct spaces appropriate for a range of occasions, meanwhile, bodes well for a downtown currently hungry for good dinner options and starved on lunch spots.

Mosblech’s drafting preliminary menus already, though he hopes they’ll change as often as every day. He’s thinking plates small (salt cod croquettes) and very big (whole halibut), dishes from the wood oven (rabbit cabbage flatbreads) and à la plancha (spot prawns and hearts of palm), tastes both far flung (lamb tongue) and totally local (red abalone).