Thursday, August 24, 2006
Stokes Restaurant, Monterey
I was in Monterey last weekend for the annual car festivites; Concours d'Elegance, car auctions, and Montery Historic Auto Races at Laguna Seca. One of the meals we had was at an old adobe in downtown Monterey called Stokes. We had to go; Stokes is a family name. Only a couple of complaints: I made the reservation through Open Table, and the restaurnat had marked us in the computer as a No Show, so I did not recieve the points, and we were virtually ignored for a few minutes when we arrived, among the servers and even the manger. Once the hostess was ready to seat us, then our luck changed.
The restaurant is in an adobe, built in 1883, with many rooms, on two levels. Each room had a slightly different mood and atmosphere. The first room had a bar and some wooden tables, great for having a casual, light meal with some drinks. There were tables upstairs in the large hallway overlooking the bar area. The rest of the downstairs dining room was slightly more formal, and completly packed by the time we left. We sat in a small room upstairs next to the window so where could see all the Enzos drive by. Very comfortable seats, very warm atmosphere. The menu consisted of a small appetizers section - much like the size of a tapa. We ordered the fried potatoes with aioli, and crostini with fig and duck prociutto. The potatoes were incredible. Perfectly crispy, and piping hot. The crostini sounded promising, was but was jsut ok, the prociutto was cut too thickly, and the figs overpowered the dish.
For my main course I had duck breast, wtih a lovely fennel seed and lavender crust, with a spinach crepe. The lavender was very nice with the duck, the crepe was ok, a little heavy on the nutmeg.
The food was good, but not great. I really liked the idea of offering small plates enjoy before the appetizer, an excellent way to try as many things as possible. Stokes is relatively good; it is one of the best restaurants in Monterey, and I will happily return next year. But if Stokes were in Los Angeles, I would opt for something else.
Stokes Restaurant and Bar
500 Hartnell St.
Monterey, Ca 93940