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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, December 9, 2010

New GM, Chef at Restaurant 1833

If you had to chose one word to describe Restaurant 1833, the destination restaurant that will eventually occupy the Stokes Adobe and, if plans click, a Mount Rushmore-sized spot in the local eating landscape, ambitious just might be it.

After all, the place is planned to accommodate upwards of 200 in distinct spaces ranging from a apothecary-style bar area to a loungy "library" to an outdoor patio-garden concept that is reportedly morphing from a collection of secret garden-style pocket sanctuaries into a more open venue for major events. Anyone who visited Pacific's Edge while Coastal Luxury Management co-founder Rob Weakley was at the controls knows he and co-founder David "Not Afraid of a $5,000 Bottle" Bernahl have designs on a wine list that can compete with heavyweights Marinus and Pac Edge. The menu will be high concept rustic by way of humble and elegant ingredients, and I predict the cocktail program will prove as heady as either by itself.

That's a lot. So it stands to reason that they recruit a world beater to manage the big fat multifaceted dream, and to fill the shoes of departed CLM standby and local hospitality legend Gary Obligacion.

That they did.

Tobias Peach already had a resume laden with foodie-seducing fruit when he stepped into his biggest gig yet in the summer of 2009. He had already opened Vegas' Craftsteak with Top Chef Tom Colicchio, turned heads as GM of Flor de Lys for another celeb chef in Hubert Keller, and managed the staff at San Francisco's revered Postrio before he took that gig, but the stakes were even higher : He was not just opening a Sage restaurant at the brand new, five-diamond Aria Casino & Resort, he was hiring the entire staff, ordering and receiving all the starting supplies and stocking and managing the entire beverage program.

The result? A Best New Restaurant nomination from the James Beard Foundation—the epicurean equivalent of the Motion Picture Academy's Oscar nomination.

His work there bodes very well for all aspects of the similarly scaled 1833. I'm particularly pumped on the beverage program after seeing what he did with absinthe for a Seven magazine piece.

Xania Woodman is the ace nightlife reporter/"career carouser" who directed the short and has been scouring Vegas' VIP booths, wine cellars and stainless steel bars for upwards of seven years.

"He has a spectacular food and beverage pedigree," she says. "He spent his time kind of taking a career tour of respected chefs of the world. Assuming that someone takes something with them everywhere they go—in addition to leaving something of themselves—imagine what he’s picked up. He impressed me a number of times with his beverage program. His food prowess is well known. At Fleur his absinthe cart ran over other programs. It was spectacular.

"He’s the kind of GM that builds personal relationships with purveyors, builds rapport with distillers, spirit brand owners, that sort of thing. He was able to offer things you’re simply not able to find elsewhere."

Hanging out with him Saturday night at a packed Cannery Row Brewing Company, I could tell from his down-to-earth demeanor that those relationships come naturally. The best news here has to be that it was Prunetucky that helped the Peninsula net one of Vegas' hottest young playmakers. He has family there who he wants to be close to while he still can, and we are the lucky bastards that get to benefit.

He'll be joined at 1833 by Chef Jon Mathieson of Washington D.C., another big-city coup of sorts, and himself a quiet visionary.

His Inox restaurant in the 'burbs of the capital earned him lofty praise—one columnist described the scene in the kitchen thusly: "In my line of vision I have perfect food, a gorgeous kitchen, a chef who clearly loves his job."

Coastal Luxury Management's discovery of Mathieson involved no small amount of serendipity. He was the chef at the restaurant adjoining the offices of Red Zone Entertainment, which owns CLM partner Dick Clark Productions.

"We've never had a bad course there," Weakley says. "He just knocked it out of the park three straight times. We couldn’t be more stoked—and we're excited for Monterey."

More on Mathieson's past menu magic and what it will mean for 1833 soon.