I’m clueless as to what took me so long to partake in the well-deserved buzz that’s surrounded The Black Sheep on East Ortega Street since it opened three years ago. But when my family needed to grab a quick bite before a Lobero show a few weeks ago, the gastropub popped up on my happy hour radar, so we poked our heads in right at opening time.
Owner Ruben Perez, whose dad took over the corner property in 2013, welcomed us in, and our “quick bite” became a much more lavish affair. As we sipped on cider, obscure craft brews, and special juices for the kids, the kitchen sent out everything from the anchovy crostini, potato croquettes, and roasted beets to the bone marrow bruschetta, boar spare ribs, and shoyu ramen.
The highlights, though, were the raw seafood dishes, including, from neighboring Oveja Blanca, the tuna aguachile, drizzled with an ají-amarillo/ginger/mirin dressing and Fresno chilis. But my favorite was the scallop crudo — rarely do I eat raw scallops, but these were incredibly sweet and succulent, served atop a candied carrot puree with ginger/chili-flake/mirin/white-soy vinaigrette. I won’t wait so long to return.
26 E. Ortega St.; (805) 965-1113; theblacksheepsb.com