Finch & Fork: A Local Treat
It’s a sunny day in Santa Barbara and the palm trees seem to pave a path as I make my way to Finch & Fork for dinner to catch up with an old friend. Nestled under the Kimpton Canary Hotel, the restaurant truly encompasses what Santa Barbara is all about.
Within our first few minutes in the restaurant we are enchanted by the tasteful and inviting Spanish- Mediterranean décor along with welcoming staff who make us feel right at home. We are guided to our corner booth—leather banquet seats tucked under large windows with views of downtown Santa Barbara. Our server immediately greets us with a chilled bottle of Pellegrino and pickled crudités for snacking. We are presented with menus composed of local Californian dishes created by Chef Peter Cham, coupled with an impressive list of local
wines. Our server suggests the ‘17 Kaena Albariño to begin. The clean and refreshing wine has a beautiful aroma of a spring bouquet of flowers with striking notes of limestone, orange and white grapefruit; a superb aperitif.
Our memorable meal begins with an order of deviled eggs topped with pickled shallot, an olive relish and smoked trout. As I take the final bite of the egg, I spot our server walking towards our table with the next dish, a sweet potato baba ganoush prepared with olive oil and sumac, which adds a hint of tartness to the dish. To lighten things up, an assortment of pickled vegetables is served alongside. The tanginess of the vegetables paired with the sweet Mediterranean dip is exquisite, and the warm house-made bread makes for a delicious tool to clear the plate. The sun begins to set, creating a glowing backdrop for the rest of our dinner.
Knowing that the restaurant serves local ingredients, we order the West Coast Oysters, which thoroughly exceed our expectations. Served on a bed of crushed ice, the oysters have a cucumber note (a signature of oysters from this region) and are accompanied by garnishes including apple cucumber mignonette, cocktail sauce and a wedge of lemon. The Kaena Albariño pairs wonderfully with the dish, and as we take our last few sips of wine, we are presented with two beautifully crafted plates of sea scallops in a gold beet relish, served in company of fresh grapefruit, chorizo vinaigrette, and sliced avocado. The perfectly seared scallop melts in my mouth, encompassing all of the flavors it was prepared with, and the golden crust adds an additional caramelized tang to the dish.
We sit back and watch the sun drown into the horizon, the sky painted an array of pink and orange. Lost in the beauty of my surroundings, the enticing aroma of our salmon entree seizes my attention. Pan-seared to perfection, the fish is served on a bed of beluga lentils with capers, bits of pancetta, and baby turnip mixed in with green peppercorn hollandaise, which becomes my favorite dish of the night.
Having experienced a flawless meal with unparalleled service, we are eager for the dessert menu to arrive. The sticky toffee cake seems like the obvious choice. The outer layer of the cake reveals toffee texture and flavors while the inside boasts sublime hints of date. To sweeten the deal, a brown butter
whipped cream sits atop so that each scoop includes the delectable flavors of the cake. Maple almond popcorn surrounds the perimeter, making for the perfect treat to complete our dinner.
Thrilled by the outstanding meal we have just experienced, we jump at the chance to explore the rooftop of the Kimpton Canary Hotel where we enjoy breathtaking views of our hometown before parting ways. As the coastal fog begins to settle in I reflect on an unforgettable night of great company, delicious local wines, and an exceptional meal.