Finch & Fork – Comfort Food with a Twist
Who doesn’t love to go to brunch? It’s practically an American institution on a Saturday or Sunday morning, so we sought out a special place to start our day, deciding on Finch & Fork, located in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara. It has a modern elegance, and its intimate feel makes you think you are in someone’s Santa Barbara ranch style home. Brown leather studded booths, plank tabletops and little touches like pillows for your back all contribute to a very comfortable place to kick back and enjoy some great food. Long farm tables down the center of the restaurant make it the right place to gather for small plates and cocktails with friends, or intimate booths just for two are perfect for a couple. Just opened nine months ago, Finch & Fork has a good thing going. Service is warm and friendly, and we felt at home.
Chef James Siao has created a menu filled with modern American comfort food favorites, with a twist. Our brunch started with never ending tangerine or fresh squeezed orange mimosas – always a very good thing. Everything we ordered was tasteful and distinctive – the Cream of Mushroom Soup was possibly the best we’ve ever tasted – anywhere. We decided to sample both a breakfast item and a lunch item from the menu. I ordered Crab Cake Benedict, a traditional dish with a new angle – featuring crispy crab cakes under soft poached eggs in place of the traditional Canadian bacon. A light but creamy hollandaise sauce over it all and roasted potatoes and vegetables made me a very happy camper. On the “lunch” side of the menu, my better half, who is somewhat of a lamb connoisseur, ordered the Lamb Burger with date chutney, onion relish and cilantro yogurt. Served with a green salad with champagne vinaigrette dressing, the lamb burger was pronounced a winner! Once you’ve had your meal, do not – I repeat, Do Not leave this place without ordering Finch & Fork’s famous Caramelized Banana Milkshake. How on earth anyone ever came up with this sublime concoction, I do not know, but it is fabulous – rich, creamy, caramely, cookie laden and topped with fresh toasted meringue. This should be shared, unless you don’t care a thing about calories!
Our time at Finch & Fork ended on a humorous note – the bill came in a folder labeled “Fork it Over!” Good times abound here – it’s a happening restaurant that is fast becoming a Santa Barbara favorite.
Photos Courtesy of Michael Harlan Turkell