Les Marchands Smoked Mussels (Food of the Week)

Seafood Santa Barbara

I had no doubt that master sommelier Brian McClintic and vino-seasoned business partner Eric Railsback would deliver a compelling wine program to Les Marchands Wine Bar & Merchants, a business that’s new to Santa Barbara’s emerging Funk Zone neighborhood. What took me by surprise were the small plates from chef Weston Richards, a one-time colleague of Railsback’s at The Wine Cask, a Santa Barbara institution. You’ll only find a few options per day on the blackboard, and as soon as they sell out, a staff member flips the board over, revealing a mirror instead of chalk. My favorite small plate at the copper bar consisted of Smoked Local Mussels ($10).

Chef Richards steams, shells and brines the small mussels overnight. He smokes the plump results with hickory, but only for 7-8 minutes, so as not to overpower the bivalves, tosses them with herbs and olive oil, and serves them in a jar with sliced baguette. Paired with a bright Roark Wine Company 2012 Chenin Blanc, life is good in the Funk Zone.

Address: 131 Anacapa Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Les Marchands Smoked Mussels (Food of the Week)

131 Anacapa Street Santa Barbara CA 93101

Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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