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New Monterey restaurant straddles the line between comfort and fine dining

18 Mar 2013 11:53 AM
New Monterey restaurant straddles the line between comfort and fine dining

Comfort food and fine dining don't always go hand in hand, but a relatively new restaurant in Monterey proves that these two dining traditions can comfortably cohabitate. The restaurant, 1833, which opened in the summer of 2011, has quickly become one of the focal points of Monterey's culinary scene, which is due in no small part to the venue's delicate balance of down-home favorites - grilled pork chops, macaroni and cheese - and more boundary-pushing gourmet dishes such as bone marrow on grilled sour dough, gnocchi with braised rabbit.

One way that the restaurant manages to find the perfect equilibrium is by continuing to add more creative, modern elements to its menu without sacrificing its focus on comfort food classics. One example is the regular - and by now legendary - Sunday fried chicken meal. Served family style, these feasts are characterized by tables teeming with romaine salads, deviled eggs, cornbread, gravy and the chicken itself.

1833 makes sure not to get mired in the comfort paradigm, however. Guests seeking fine-dining options will not be disappointed. The restaurant's collection of European-inspired dishes - which, like the olive oil-poached sea bass, are often refracted through California's unique culinary heritage - ensure that a visit to 1833 is about much more than rustic favorites.

Indeed, it is the restaurant's more gourmet options that have helped it become such a popular destination in such a brief time span - and this isn't only true among owners of nearby Monterey real estate, as Bay Area fine-dining pilgrims have been known to make the trek down from San Francisco to sample the unique dishes on a regular basis. 

In a recent review from the San Francisco Chronicle's food critic Michael Bauer, the restaurant was lauded for its attention to detail, genre-spanning menu and unique takes on crowd-pleasing dishes.

"While preparations are straightforward, each dish has a surprise element or two that keep it fresh," Bauer wrote. "1833 is a restaurant fueled by passion."

The restaurant's inventiveness and carefully created dishes aren't the only elements that set it apart - the setting is equally unique and refined. The establishment is located in the historic Stoke home, one of the oldest buildings - built in 1833, hence the restaurant's name - in Monterey and is filled with rustic charm and classic fixtures and furnishings.