Oswald, Santa Cruz

It was better all together.

Though it is located on the corner of a seven story parking garage ($1 for two hours) – the outside view of Oswald’s still seemed more inviting than most of the restaurant facades in Santa Cruz. My travel partner, Ariel, did some restaurant research after finding out we were spending the weekend here. The choices seemed slim. It was either a standard steakhouse – that would have felt like we were on a seriously romantic date or a sort of alternative foodie place that had Yelp reviews complaining about the professionalism of the establishment.  The reviewer’s complaints were met with this reply from the restaurant: “If you want to critique a restaurant based on bread presentation….go to a bakery”.  It sounded perfectly up our alley.

The cocktail menu looked enticing – there was definitely something to satisfy both of us. Tequila and celery juice with lime for Ariel and whiskey with grapefruit for me. We ordered the Sherry Steamed Mussels to start and two of their special appetizers.

The fresh crab with Meyer lemon stood out as the best dish of the night – layered on mashed avocado and topped with a lovely parmesan crisp and a Meyer lemon relish. The foie gras appetizer started us on the joke that “it tastes better all together”. The components of the this starter weren’t great on their own.

And we said the same about the entree of Pan roasted skirt steak with parsley pesto with fried red onion rings – I was upset that they threw the parsley and anchovies into a blender to make the sauce. Both Ariel and I love making simple hand chopped herb olive oil based sauces.

We chose the one dessert that looked like it would please us both – an Almond custard torte. It arrived with a big scoop of ice cream on top which turned me into a skeptic right off the bat – I thought the menu read “custard”. I dug my fork into it and let out a big groan as the cake crumbled under my fork. Ariel replied “Not enough butter in that cake for ya?”. Exactly.

We loved our wines and our service.  The staff was sweet and accommodating without hovering over us while we ate.  The wine list looked amazing and well selected at an affordable price point.  The wine suggestions we received were spot on, starting off with a 2010 Sete Cepas Albarino – nice and bright, which perfectly paired with the crab and foie gras appetizers. Then we each moved onto a glass of 2010 Sarah’s Vineyard Central Coast Pinot Noir with our steak.  We both love a glass of Pinot with a steak and this Santa Cruz Pinot hit the spot. We were both really happy to eat here. I don’t know if we were starting to become intoxicated by the sound of the ocean or super excited to get back into our king sized bed and let the fireplace roar.