Friday, June 29, 2012

A little Estonian HEART with a Swede and a Russian at the helm in the HEART of the Point

well well well looky here ........driving down Portola last week and saw a sign and a grip of people sitting outside  of a restaurant space that has been doomed since the days of the titty bar SKINNY Mc DOUGALS......
Dan V (Harbor Cafe) and Mike Pitt(Castaways) had a vision and saw a void in outdoor dining with a full bar.
SUDA was born. Means heart in Estonian....Dan is a Russian and mike is Swedish yet the name says it all. The place is all Heart in the Heart of our beloved neighborhood...The Point.
We walked in with a happy visual surprise, the interior has been DWELLed Eames esque pod chairs with reclaimed (perhaps) wood tables with a family style feel. Large geometric wood lighting thingys and a bad ass (5Feet From The Moon?) cement hostess stand with succulents and air plants on the face of the dramatic statement piece to greet you. Local boys at the bar and a bevy of couples ,families and singletons enjoying a new space with libations to match.....
OK time for the nitty gritty. Granted Anthony has had only a week to de wrinkle his kitchen and service was a tad slow BUT our server was very sweet and communicative which makes a huge difference. I'd rather wait for yum that have hash thrown on the table for the sake of speed. We sat out side on a large wood table n bench with horse reeds to off set the design , and a caraf of ice water was promptly put on our table by a friendly lad lets call puffy hawk. We asked about SC Ale works and which was being poured and poor Puffy looked like I asked him to fart the Star Spangled Banner. So he went to inquire within and came back to let us know the kegs had yet to arrive. No problem.  Pints of Stella it was. There is a plethora of by the glass 12 oz(?) beers local and otherwise, fingers crossed Corrolitos Brew makes the cut.
Juices, kombucha, cocktails and pretty much what ever your thirsty heart desires is avail. Cool. Check.
Menu. Wonderfully simple and to the point with a nod to the season , Mexico to our south and a hint of  India. We were given both a B fast and lunch menu to choose from for our noon meal. I was pleased to see the Gluten free breads and meat alternatives for those who fear their canine teeth and  cant do gluten. BUT my eye went straight for the Bombay Fish Tacos....ohhhh my mouth began to water for the spice bomb I'd expect from the name. The city of Mumbai has over a million street food vendors and spice is the name of the game....My taco was paired with a jicima slaw with a lime and chili tang..mouth watering.  Boy Racer went straight for the Huevos Rancheros . Que to big grins. Our server a cutie who has definately has slung a plate or two, she was good had an opinion on menu items and was very friendly and inviting.
Five min ,ten min, twenty min and thirty passed. It was a bit busy but looking around most had their plates and or was settling up and only perhaps five tags were up for the kitchen. Our server noticed the lag and was great letting us know the kitchen is new and working out kinks. Good. Thats all I wanted to hear. Ofcourse this is what I thought and Anthony(Shadowbrook) wants the plates to be right rather than fast. Good job server. The food arrived two beers later and one application of sun block. Boy Racers huevos ......he was a happy pup. Instead of one fried tortilla with a pile of beans sauce and egg, he got a layered huevo love. Three small white corn tortillas with a layer of perfectly over easy eggs with black beans, cheese and in house ranchero sauce and a nice plop of fresh avo and crema. The server had asked if he would like some sweet potato hash which did not come with his plate. Have no fear a simple first week gaff of the details of the menu knowledge, but she rocked and brought him a side to check out and it was a nice burst of color with bright orange matchstcks of sweet potato and yellow creamer potato and red n green peppers. If I had to bitch it was a bit lackluster in seasoning. A hit of kosher salt a squeeze of a lemon and some fresh pepper would have lifted this beaut right up.Oh smoked paprika could have been a home run.....
My Bombay Tacos with jicima slaw looked wonderful . The engagement of the senses are a priority at SUDA I say bravo. OK Bombay.....when I hear the word Bombay I'm assuming intense spice combinations of curry ,cinnamon, coriander and chili .......the fish was lightly dusted in a spice mix(perhaps a madras curry blend) that didn't bring much to the taco party. The crunchy cabbage and sauce were nice and the fish cooked well but I did not feel the Bombay love. A shred of some radish, a hit of cilantro with the cabbage and a richer seasoning with a good blast of heat would have made my toes wiggle. Finessing details so this is not a complete negative in my book. The jicima slaw was a great contrast if the Bombay was bombing. The cool crunch and the citrus bomb of lime and chili  was a delight yet the raw red pepper chunks brought not much to the dish except color but some Persian cuke and some mint would have been kinda yum and something you would find in Mumbai (Bombay). Some times having a dish with color blocking is a great neutral to for the plate of such a colorful main item.  . Back to finessing details. The cut of the slaw was sloppy and the jicima was too big. small matchsticks or even a brunios (small dice) would be a great visual and texture that would absorb the marinade and have more symmetry for the plate. The over all is I really enjoyed my lazy Sunday on the Point. I did not check out the loo but heard the doors are very cleaver and the acoustical reverb on a busy day or eve could be a bit much for an intimate meal. This may not be the best spot for your MATCH.COM first date but kids cant do too much damage with this built to last restaurant in the heart of Pleasure point. Finally a spot that looks , feels and tastes like I'm not in Santa Cruz . Some day soon I hope other towns envy our food culture and restaurant scene.......soon and with SUDA here we might finally be on our way. Hipsters rejoice you have a watering hole for you to park your fixie  and a place to get crumbs in your big ass beard.....
See you on the flip side.....


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