Sunday, May 13, 2012
1833 in Monterey
In a restored old adobe house (curiously from the 1840s), the bar and lounge space take over the rooms of the lower level while diners eat in one of the various small rooms upstairs. We had intended to go only for a cocktail before another dinner reservation, and wound up canceling to stay and continue tasting from the fantastic menu.
In the library room downstairs, we perused a long list of spirits and carefully crafted cocktails offering a nod to the pharmacy that resided in the building in the 1840s. We chose drinks called Penicillin #1 (scotch, honey, lime, ginger, and a bourbon floater) and Penicillin #2 (tequila, agave nectar, ginger, soda, and a mezcal floater), both garnished with candied ginger and both balanced and delicious. We also ordered bacon cheddar biscuits for a nibble, served with maple chili butter and a dish of sea salt. When we closed the bar tab, the check was delivered in an antique canvas-bound book, whose pages we signed with a healthy flourish.
Instead of leaving, then, we requested a table upstairs and wound up in a stylish booth near a fireplace. We shared an array of starters, including crispy pork trotters, hamachi with pickled jalapeno and avocado, and a stunning English pea soup. Although we tried a couple of main plates that were totally decent, they were not worth choosing over the widely pleasing appetizers we enjoyed. I would absolutely go back, for cocktails, shared plates, and the chic ambiance old town Monterey has been missing.