S Is for : Square One
Where: 14 East Cota Street, 965-4565, squareonesb.com.
What: Organic, sustainable, inventive event dining.
How much: Appetizers from $8-$17; entrees from $17-$30.
The dish: If you want to go to a fine dinner where you will be both surprised and pleased, you can’t beat what Chef Jason Tuley is doing at Square One. It’s hard to zero in on one dish, as he seems to have a deft hand across the protein spectrum and even offers a four-course vegetarian prix fixe. But what he does with sustainably farmed abalone from Goleta’s Cultured Abalone (say, set it in sharp relief with a uni-radish-plum salad) or with steak from Uruguay’s Estancia Beef (perhaps lighten its meatiness with a cup of sweet pea “cappuccino” with Parmesan foam) is take brilliant ingredients and make them part of an integral plate of deliciousness. Ever clever, never arch, he’s cooking at a level more commonly experienced in cities much bigger than ours. The wine list also offers fine surprises like Breggo from Anderson Valley, and Tuley has a way with sweets, too, so leave room for dessert.
This week at independent.com, S is also for: Scotch Bonnet (independent.com/scotchbonnet) and Shoreline Beach Cafe (independent.com/shoreline). And for all of our restaurants, see independent.com/restaurants. Next week, see what T is for :