Monarch at Montecito Inn
Showcases Region's Best Wines & Food
By FBWorld Team
the opening of the fast seafood shack Frankland's Crab &
Co. this spring, Scratch Restaurants chef-owners Phillip Frankland
Lee and Margarita Kallas-Lee unveiled their second concept at
a sneak peak prior to the August 1 opening of The Monarch.
Monarch, located within the historic Montecito Inn, pays tribute
to the treasures of the Central Coast with outstanding local
cooking built around a rustic, wood-burning hearth in an elegant,
all-day dining room and bar. Utilizing the season's best vegetables,
fruits, herbs, seafood, and meats - paired with the region's
best wines - Chef Lee helms the kitchen's arcadian approach
to living off the land.
de cuisine John Butler, formerly of Melisse & Foreign Cinema,
is director of the old world rustic cooking rituals implemented
in the menus at The Monarch. Ingredients are coming from the
Central Coast with the majority coming from within Santa Barbara
County. Purveyors include Watkins Ranch, Cultured Abalone Farm,
Sage Hill Frams, Jimenez Family Farm, Flora Vista Farms, Earthrine
Farms, Wylde Honey Wines, Weiser Family Farms, Roots Organic
Farm, Golden State Papayas, Qjai Sproats, and Stephanie Mutz
Diving. The Monarch's menu focus on utilizing the connection
of Mediterranian ingredients and those sourced from Santa Barbara
make it obvious why this area is has become known as the "American
The Monarch Restaurant & Bar
of local oysters, fine spreads, and an array of flatbreads begin
the meal, with favorites such as oceanimbued Sea Urchin Spread
with uni oil and salted cheese on sourdough bread, or a Goat's
Milk Flatbread with lemon black pepper chevre, gaunciale, pea
tendrils, and smoked local honey. Carefully composed appetizers
include Abalone à la Flambadou with bone marrow, lemon
suprème, and capers; Yellowtail Crudo with papaya salad,
passionfruit vinaigrette, and fingerlimes; or Grilled Peaches
with corn pudding and housemade burrata.
starters included an extraordinary carpaccio, was not only picture
perfect, but melted in the mouth, and I was amazed by the a
lamb ragout with ribbon pasta as well. They were both outstanding
and typical of the unique and original recipes Chef Lee has
become known for.
Entrees are served family-style The Monarch, with the chef's
selection of shareable sides to accompany each main dish - each
showcasing the myriad cooking methods of the wood-fired hearth.
Some include a pork Tenderloin brined in brown sugar and caramelized
with fresh herbs in the hearth's brick oven, mussels from Hope
Ranch buried in coals to steam with sea beans, orange, white
cardamom, and herbs de provence, and an entire Shortrib coated
with a mixture of red wine and mustard before being hung fireside
to slow roast for several hours.
Le Duck Monarch
Duck Breast brushed with honey, jasmine, and coriander is hung
in the charcoal oven and finished on the wood-fired grill was
my choice. Because I love duck and just traveled to five european
countries where I enjoyed numerous versions of duck, I was curious
about Chef Lee's preparation and presentation, and he did not
let me down. His duck is perfectly crisp on the outside and
moist delicious on the inside with perfect seasoning - simply
Among Chef Margarita Kallas-Lee's sweet endings are a Strawberry
Mousse with creme fraiche and berries, and a fresh Donuts with
lavender and maple, as well as four of her hand-made chocolates
served in a beautiful jewel box. Such a perfect ending to a
delightful first experience at The Monarch.!
giving kudos to the region's fine vintners, the wine program
at The Monarch, curated by Gavin Humes, offers affordable and
rare wines of the Central Coast. Standout selections include
Los Olivos' Solminer Wines, Jonata, and Liquid Farm, with its
fine chardonnay and pinot noir. A few specialty cocktails on
the menu include Mr. McGregors Revenge with Ventura Spirits'
Wilder Gin, carrot gastrique, lime, and carrot sprigs, or the
Day Break with Cutwater Spirits' Three Sheets Barrel Aged Rum,
coffee liqueur, local pistachio orgeat, coconut milk, and pistachio.
The Monarch offers a rotating draft of known area beers with
specialty release beers from neighborhood brewers.
Jewel Box Chocolates by Margarita
in collaboration with Montecito Inn co-owner and designer Danny
Copus, the inviting venue melds together a seamless transition
from morning to evening. Original columns anchoring the space
date back nearly 100 years, recalling the golden days of Santa
Barbara in the 1930s. Oversized arched windows framing the dining
tables, created by local woodworker Albert Apodaca, beam with
natural light in daytime, and add charming illumination by night.
Gold accents and tufted dining sofas give an overall sense of
ease and style to the artisan-crafted tables.
ceramics by locals Gill Isaac Kaufman (Happy Green Merchant)
and Wyn Matthews, range from plates and platters to the kitchen's
supply of clay 'flameware' for hearth cooking. Operations Manager
David Rosner, formerly of Wine Cask & Bar Boulud, is overseeing
the whole show at The Monarch, which is open Wednesday - Sunday
for dinner from 5pm to 10pm and bar service continuing until
midnight. Word is a daily brunch and happy hour will launch
in the very near future. For more information, visit www.themonarchmontecito.com.
By Bonnie Carroll
About Bonnie Carroll
Bonnie Carroll has been a food/travel/lifestyle writer since
1983. She is the founder & publisher of Bonnie Carroll's
Life Bites News - www.lifebitesnews.com,
does travel and food reporting on KZSB1290 radio, and contributes
to a variety of national and international travel/lifestyle
publications. Her first children's book C.C. Charles was published
in 2002 and she is currently working on a second book. Contact
her at Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.