Copus Family Unveils California-style Brasserie on Coast Village Road
Step into the al fresco dining area at Coast & Olive, the new California-style brasserie that recently opened at the historic Montecito Inn, and you get a sense of its history. The hotel, built by silent film star Charlie Chaplin in 1928, has been a beacon of hospitality for nearly a century with its Spanish Colonial Revival style architecture along Coast Village Road’s eucalyptus-lined byway.
Coast & Olive opened its doors in June with European-inspired, chef-driven dishes elevated by fresh herbs, sauces, and other quality touches. The restaurant’s website welcomes guests to indulge in California cuisine prepared with culinary techniques inspired by the French Riviera.
The new look and taste is a far cry from the past. The eatery has seen a few incarnations over the years, most recently as The Monarch and for 30 years prior to that as the Montecito Café.
“We wanted to create a menu that was accessible enough that diners would come back any day of the week,” said Jim Copus, whose parents Kathy and Dewayne Copus purchased the property more than three decades ago. Now, along with brothers Danny and Jason, he runs the hotel and new restaurant.
Interior renovations and menu development for Coast & Olive took nearly a year. With seating for up to 65 diners inside, the décor features muted toned banquette seating with mid-century modern furnishings (which is currently on the patio shaded by umbrellas), light blond wood flooring and plenty of gold accents. Outside, seating is available for up to 70 guests. A border of olive trees in large planters provide a sense of seclusion and serenity, while a professional and jovial staff dressed in white shirts and black aprons gracefully navigate around diners.
The fall menu will include a lineup of inventive dishes such as a butternut squash soup with quinoa and toasted pumpkinseed crust; pomegranate and shaved fennel salad; ricotta and organic egg ravioli stuffed with spinach and mushrooms in sage brown butter; and seared scallops with pumpkin risotto.
Like any great brasserie, Coast & Olive offers a nice selection of sizzling chops served hot off the flame. Two cuts of beef are offered here: filet de bœuf served with horseradish potato gratin, grilled asparagus, and béarnaise sauce; and Wagyu bavette steak dressed in a salsa verde dressing made with lemon, capers, and anchovies, served with Chianti butter and smoky cranberry beans.
Sauces are key here. The culinary team uses a variety of aromatic herbs, veal stock, oils, ports, and wines for a deglazing process that enlivens the flavors of the dishes.
Two local favorites include the pan-roasted king salmon (farmed off the coast of New Zealand), served with bacon-braised greens, roasted fingerling potatoes, confit beets, and blood orange tarragon beurre blanc; and a sous vide Jidori chicken breast poached in buttermilk, herbs, and truffle oil, served with pomme purée, roasted Brussels sprouts, baby carrots, and truffle sauce, finished with a sprinkle of chopped chives.
Coast & Olive pays homage to a classic era with ahi tuna tartare Waldorf Astoria, an ensemble of blistered plump red seedless grapes roasted in olive oil and balsamic vinegar scattered around a heap of chopped Japanese ahi tuna with diced shallots, apples, and celery and topped with microgreens. Similar to the iconic art deco building’s architecture, this tart creation is a marvel of design.
If you’re a burger lover, try the Snake River Farms Wagyu blend, seasoned, grilled and served on a brioche bun with a spread of balsamic mayo, rosemary caramelized onions, arugula, tomato, and Taleggio.
For dessert, a favorite is an almond cake served on a vanilla pastry crème, lemon curd, blueberry compote and a scoop of lemon sorbet. There is also a cinnamon-y apple cobbler on the menu for an autumn treat.
Find Coast & Olive at 1295 Coast Village Road. Open Monday through Friday, 11 am to 10 pm. Saturday and Sunday from 3 pm to 10 pm. Brunch is served on weekends from 8 am to 3 pm. For information or reservations, call (805) 690-3920 or visit coastandolive.com.