Ricardo Zarate to open Blue Tavern in Santa Barbara -- Cal-Peruvian by the beach

Chef Ricardo Zarate and his business partner Stephane Bombet, the two behind L.A. Peruvian restaurants Picca, Mo-Chica and Paiche, plan to open Blue Tavern, a couple blocks from the ocean on Santa Barbara's State Street.

The modern 60-seat restaurant (with another 30 seats on the patio), to center around a wood-burning oven, will be at the base of the Hotel Indigo, which will also feature room service from the restaurant.

Blue Tavern's menu will feature Californian dishes such as hand-tossed pizza, pasta and grilled meats, with Zarate's Peruvian inflections. 

"I always try to blend inspiration from my past and present when I create a menu," Zarate said in a statement. "To update classic Californian dishes with ingredients from my country, along with produce from local farmers markets, is a culmination of decades of cooking, which I am looking forward to introducing to Santa Barbara."
A beet, tomato and burrata salad, for example, is tossed in a huacatay-pesto dressing; seafood medley risotto features a tomato-aji panca base and salsa verde; and the traditional dish lomo saltado is mace with tagliatelle-style filet of beef, tomato-onion stew and Pecorino. Pizza might be topped with prosciutto, goat cheese, burrata and huacatay pesto. Expect to find aji amarillo butter and lime juice in the steamed mussels with chorizo, and potato tarte tatin next to anticucho-marinated grilled ribeye.

Cocktails from mixologist Deysi Alvarez also will reflect a blending of cultures, featuring classic drinks with house-made tinctures and small-batch spirits. A margarita features Espolón tequila, house orange reduction, fresh lime juice, agave nectar and Gusano salt. And in an old fashioned, mezcal instead of bourbon.

121 State St., Santa Barbara.


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