A couple weeks ago, during a visit to the Monterey Peninsula, an old friend from high school heard I was coming and was happy to show me around the local food scene.  He’s the food and beverage manager at members only golf club in Pebble Beach and from what I can tell, he knows all the best restaurants in Monterey, Carmel, Pebble Beach and Big Sur. He said we had to go to one of his all time favorite restaurants, Restaurant 1833, located in downtown Monterey.  According to their Facebook page, “Located in the former Stokes Adobe in Monterey, Restaurant 1833 resides in a national heritage site that is rich with historical elements from Monterey’s historical background. Named after the year the building was established, 1833, the building once housed a former apothecary, was home to California’s first newspaper press, was formerly the famous “Gallatin’s” restaurant, and formerly contained the first kiln in California.  The two-story restaurant is a design-forward space with regal, turn-of-the-century elements that play homage to the buildings rich history in each of the six interior spaces. The restaurant’s outdoor space provides an intimate setting for outdoor dining, and a patio area with four fire pits which provide the perfect space for gusts to sit back and relax while enjoying various small bites and custom cocktails made by 1833’s own Bar Smith.  Executive Chef Levi Mezick has created a menu that highlights regionally specific ingredients including Monterey seafood; greens and lettuces sourced from Salinas and Carmel Valley; and sea salt foraged from Big Sur, giving the consumer an authentic sense of the place, with high quality, fresh and seasonal ingredients.” We were initially seated in the main floor dining room under a bright light in a noisy area.  We requested the upstairs but were told the owners were using it for a private party.  My friend was recognized by the general manager and somehow we were moved up to the upstairs dining room and given a private booth.  It was much quieter and more scenic than the crowded dining room, allowing me to glimpse the entire restaurant. I had read several reviews on this restaurant and there were many positive comments on their Horseradish Crusted Marrow Bone with Brioche, so we definitely ordered that.
Interesting violin shaped wine case
Marrow Bone with Brioche
My friend, Yo, recommended the Bacon Cheddar Biscuits with Maple Chili Butter.  I wanted to try the Beef Carpaccio with Horseradish Sauce and Daikon.  We also ordered an Heirloom Tomato Salad with Pickled Red Onion, Feta Cheese, And Balsamic Reduction.  For our entrees I ordered Crispy Sea Bass with Leeks, Mussels, and Tomato and  he ordered Grilled Veal Chop with Crispy Sweetbreads, Castelvetrano Olives and Basil Puree. He brought a bottle of wine to the restaurant, a 1986 Silver Oak Cabernet, however we started with glasses of Bollinger champagne. The Bacon Cheddar Biscuits with Maple Chili Butter were surprisingly delicious. I was not expecting to be impressed by biscuits, after all I am from Texas, home of great biscuits, but these were chewy, moist, and flavorful and with the spicy and sweet butter, a perfect bite. I got so enamored of these biscuits I forgot to take the photo until they were almost gone!
Bacon Cheddar Biscuits with Maple Chili Butter
The waiter told me the secret to the biscuits and I have to confess I have attempted to re-create them here in Texas and they came out very close to 1833’s.  Good thing, since unlike my friend, Yo, I can’t go to 1833 every week, sometimes more than once a week! The Beef Carpaccio was stunning.  It was served on a chilled plate, sliced paper thin with little pools of very icy cold sauce and crispy pieces of radish.  The sharp horseradish sauce complimented the rich taste of the beef and the crunchy radish pieces added a nice texture.
Beef Carpaccio
Heirloom Tomato Salad
I was unexpectedly disappointed in the Marrow Bone.  It was no doubt properly prepared but I’m just not fond of the texture or flavor, maybe a little too rich for me.  I enjoyed the fresh Heirloom Tomato Salad with the contrasting salty, sharp, and silky tastes and textures.  Produce from this part of California is all fantastic. My Crispy Sea Bass was in a beautiful sauce, with perfect crispy skin and a silky texture inside.  The mussels were fresh, and the components of the sauce worked together well.  I wish I could have identified everything in the sauce so I could make it myself.  This is one of my all time favorite seafood dishes.
Crispy Sea Bass
Veal Chop
I tasted Yo’s veal and sweetbreads and although it was prepared expertly, I much preferred the Sea Bass. I enjoyed the Silver Oak Cabernet and who wouldn’t?  Such a fine wine for this special dinner!  I thought it couldn’t get any better but then dessert was served.  We sampled the Orange Olive Oil Cake with Muskat Sabayon and Carmelized Peaches and the Chocolate Mousse Cake.
Orange Olive Oil Cake
Chocolate Mousse Cake
Athough I was fascinated with the description of the Orange Olive Oil Cake and it was as tasty as I thought it would be it did not measure up to the outstanding Chocolate Mousse Cake, with its crispy crust, silky texture, and a sauce and housemade ice cream.  In fact, I loved the Chocolate Mousse Cake so much I had it again the last night of my stay in Monterey. I have to go back!  How is that possible since I live in Fort Worth, Texas?  What a fabulous meal and a fabulous place.  Many thanks to the general manager, William, sommelier, and waitstaff, and of course, my good friend, Yo, for making this experience unforgettable.