El Encanto

30 Apr

Spring Salad Edible FlowersLast night, we decided to try the much buzzed about El Encanto restaurant. We walked around the property a bit before eating, and found it to be quite beautiful. On a clear night, the views would be outstanding. Then we sat down for dinner. When I asked our waiter what my options were, he ran down a list of four menu items and then walked away not allowing for me to ask questions. This made me a bit nervous. When he finally came back, I narrowed it down to the two items he said I could have unaltered. They were the Pan Seared Swordfish and the Confit Jidori Chicken Breast. The chicken came with crispy chickpea fries which intrigued me, so I asked how they were prepared. It turns out that they are fried in contaminated oil so they were not GF. Additionally, about five minutes after ordering, an amuse bouche came out that was clearly not GF. The gentleman that brought it out apologized and said he would be back with something I could have but we never saw him again. Hmm. I started with the Spring Salad Edible Flowers without the croutons that usually come with it. I wasn’t a huge fan of the taste of this. My husband tried it and decided it tasted like Febreeze. For my main, I had the swordfish which was served with creamy Jerusalem artichokes, French black truffle, sweet garlic parsley custard and cabbage bacon emulsion. 

Pan Seared SwordfishI would love to say that this was great, but I found it a bit bland. The whole experience at the restaurant just felt very impersonal. As an Orient-Express property, I had high hopes that they would be well informed about allergies. But it was very apparent that there was a lack of awareness and communication going on. I think that in Santa Barbara, if you charge a certain amount of money, an expectation of reliable service come with it. I don’t think we would go back for food, but it does seem like it would be a nice spot for a drink in the summer.

One Response to “El Encanto”

  1. Sheri June 3, 2013 at 12:02 pm #

    It was great to see a review of the El Encanto. Thank you.

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