Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Cutting Horse Restaurant - San Juan Bautista, Ca
If you want to check out one of the most beautiful buildings in San Juan Bautista wander downtown and visit the Cutting Horse Restaurant. With a full bar, live music and rustic décor this is like the old west, all over again. Monday is their Rib Special Night and Wednesday’s they have a unique Wine Special. It excited my brother and sister enough to come check it out for ourselves.
The salad has been quoted by my brother as one of his all time favorites salads. He enjoyed a beautiful plate of greens tossed with Continental dressing – Blue Cheese and Italian dressing. Jennifer and I both ordered baby pots of French Onion Soup. It tasted as though the onions were cooked longer, and at a lower temperature allowing them to reach optimum flavor.
I ordered the Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms. Really, really excellent vegetarian dish. I was surprised how meaty they actually were, making it a great alternative for those who are not craving a steak. The smooth and creamy cheese was rich and laced with garlic, creating a decadent dish enough for one to enjoy.
James ordered the Rib Special. I was lucky enough for James to throw me a bone and got to try what the Cutting Horse had to offer. The ribs were delicious, a very familiar version of what my mom makes. They just melted off the bone. The outsides just slightly crusty, the insides meltingly tender. Covered in a tangy BBQ sauce that was not overwhelming to the meat, just enough to wet the palate. The sides were perfectly cooked cowboy beans and nicely buttered corn on the cob.
The next dish ordered was Jennifer's Chicken Marsala, with chosen sides of cole slaw and a baked potato. Which I found funny, unique choice of sides JD! The Marsala wine sauce had its own distinctive, complex aroma that tantalised the taste buds and sent the olfactory senses into a spin. I am serious, it did! The chicken breast was quite large and pounded to a uniform thickness, lightly coated and rested with enough perfectly cooked mushrooms to finish off the chicken with a bite of each. The baked potato was fine, and the cole slaw had a tartness to it that kept you coming back for more.
Next up was the dessert portion of this little rodeo. We were brought Creme Brulee and Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding with complimentary after dinner cappachinos. The Creme Brulee was thick and cool, how it should be. The Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding was something I had never had before, I enjoyed the chocolate syrup it rested in, and was cooked perfectly throughout. The after dinner cappachinos are a long running tradition at the Cutting Horse and are a perfect ending to a fabulous meal.
The service our visit was smooth and unadorned. Classic, no-frills attention never stopped pouring. Condiments found their way to my table without special requests. Orders were delivered hot and fast. I liked that the wait staff did not have a bag of tricks to nudge their tip percentages up, like complimenting my clothes or stooping to make eye contact. They were friendly without being patronizing, always more focused on doing their jobs than being my buddy. This is the telltale mark of service industry lifers.
All in all, I recommend to everyone a visit to this local landmark. There is an old time feel to this mission style restaurant that other places cannot even come close to. The walls are adorned with brands of local ranches and other western memorabilia, as salute to San Benito County. They aim to please and put out a nice spread. Not too much more a person can ask for. I give it two thumbs up.