Third visit to COMFORT MARKET in Arroyo Grande. What a gem. I think the combination of source-store–with a lot of the interesting ingredients–with resty is wonderful. You see people pick things up and talk about them. And food SHOULD be a conversation. Of course, none of the from-scratch items are for sale–including the pickles (think: bread-and-butter meets Asia) and the salad dressings, which are full and round and the acids kept low and balanced. This is FOREMOST in a restaurant serving wine. They have officially discontinued the counter-ordering and are full-on hostess/seated/menu now–which eliminates a plethora of issues. I have had the bacon-wrapped dates a couple times; Both appetizer and full-salad Brussels sprouts (with root veggies for the latter); Nicoise salad, Cubano, Meatloaf and BLT over my visits there and everything just blows me away with it’s freshness, innovation, and flavour integration. I am a hardcore classicist, but the tweaks to the classics at Comfort Market WORK. The BLT for instance: melted cheese and a tomato jam which came off so fruity and caramelized–more of a grilled onions/quince paste situation in the mouth than what I originally interpreted as little more than ‘ketchup’. Everything is SO local and sourced perfectly. When something runs out or arrives poor quality, substitutions are made and this has happened every time I have been there. A true ‘working kitchen’ and the effort and quality put into everything is obvious.
FOOD PIX: @ccrestaurantreport