February 21, 2012
It's only appropriate that word come in the thick of Grammy-Oscar-award season.
The imminently ambitious, thoroughly delicious, new standout taste landmark Restaurant 1833 (643-1833) has earned the epicurean equivalent of the Academy Award nomination with a nod for Best New Restaurant from the James Beard Foundation.
I buzzed GM Tobias Peach for his thoughts.
"All I can do is reflect on my initial sit-down with [owners] Rob [Weakley] and Dave [Bernahl]," he says. "'What kind of restaurant do you want to open?' I asked. 'Do we want to win the James Beard award? Is that manageable? They never batted an eye. It was a goal from the first meeting."
To use an overused, often-abused word, the journey from that meeting has been an epic one made all the more monumental by this honor, which will bring millions of hungry eyeballs to lil' ol' Monterey.
The Weekly was there the whole way, from the close of its Stokes predecessor in the old historic adobe to the sudden rise of 1833 parent company Coastal Luxury Management to some of the inevitable-but-still-surprising bumps to sneak peeking into the much-anticipated place to the desperately welcome grand opening. Our food writer Jeanne Howard loved it, and now so will thousands more.
"Everybody in the food and beverage hospitality world looks at these as confirmation and appreciation of something spectacular," Peach says. "People who are pushing the boundaries, keeping at a level of excellence that the country recognizes. For Monterey, it's amazing. It puts a spotlight down here. There's positives all around."
In March the list is distilled to five by a vote from past James Beard Award winners. Those finalist head to New York for the awards ceremony. Here's hoping Chef Levi Mezick and friends are on a flight east.
In the meantime, I'll be heading down to the old adobe for a little ceremony myself. It will feature me eating at least one unbeatable bacon-and-cheese biscuit.