A group of friends and I gathered together for a dinner at Sbicca in Del Mar after the Family Winemakers Event. We were fortunate to be joined by some fine winemakers, John Cabot and his wife Kimberly of Cabot Winery (the most intoxicating nose on their syrahs, as many people have pointed out their Kimberly's Syrah One Barrel smells like liquid bacon with rocks and dark fruit) and Kathleen Inman of Inman Family Wines (who makes some really delicious pinots filled with length and acidity) as we collected around the backroom with a table full of wines and our stomachs ready to chow down.
Sbicca is well known for their friendly corkage policy on Sundays/Mondays (no corkage) and well prepared "modern American Cuisine". They had a second restaurant Meritage which was located where 3rd Corner now stands in Encinitas.
After tasting some wines, we sat down to some appetizers to share among the one of the three tables we occupied.
Grilled Stuffed Portabellini Mushrooms
The Portabellini is first grilled on one side, then stuffed with roasted garlic goat cheese and tomato cured basil. Olive oil and Basalmic Vinaigrette is lightly poured over the dish. I really like the deep dark earthy taste of the Portabellini mushroom. Due to its large size it has a nice meaty bite to it mixed in with the earth and the bite of the goat cheese really brings out all that dusty natural flavor.
Roasted Artichoke Tomato Bruschetta
The artichoke and tomato is served with grilled radicchio, fresh mozzarella, basil pesto, pine nuts, feta. I really enjoy feta is sparse amounts, otherwise the flavor dominates my palate.. but the scattered amounts were perfect with the otherwise light flavors of mozzarella and basil. I like the idea of using an almost flatbread style "pizza" dish, and they were easy individual servings to pass around and eat.
Burgundy Braised Short Ribs
The Shortribs are served with garlic spinach, buttermilk mashed potatoes, rich demi, spicy horseradish. Unfortunately, since I don't eat beef anymore, I have nothing to tell you.
Double Chop Porkchop
Didn't get to try this , since.. I also don't eat pork (duck, chicken, lamb, goat... anything land based). But MAN it smelled good. It was an ENORMOUS piece of pork chop, I just wanted to devour it. I was jealous. Half the party ordered this and it was scarfed down by everyone.
For myself I had the Seafood Fettucini
I have a love hate relationship with Seafood pasta. So often it has dry noodles with crappy small pieces of seafood over a bland overly acidic and sweet sauce. It's rare that there's a great combination of well cooked pasta, with a nice sauce, and great seafood. Beautifully cooked pasta tossed with shrimp, mussels, scallops, fresh seafood, tomato saffron sauce. Nice fat pieces of scallops , fish, shrimp, and mussels in a fragrant rich (not thick, but a great soup) saffron sauce. The noodles were cooked marvelously, the seafood pieces were so fresh and tasty.
I didn't have any expectations of the place coming in, just got together to drink wine and hang out with some friends.. but the food was really well prepared and executed well. I was really impressed cause they were able to prepare everything so well for a party of over 20.
Sbicca American Bistro
215 15th St
Del Mar, CA 92014