Lunch with Louie at Chase
Santa Barbara food reviews with Louie the pessimist food critic
Jun 23, 3:02 PM (PT)
When I left my dentist’s office this morning I had every intention of canceling my weekly review. My dentist decided to use a wholesale quantity of anesthesia and as a consequence, I was left with only one nostril and only partial use of my talking and swallowing abilities. No fun. Have you ever operated with only half of your nose? It can change your outlook on life very quickly. Mine is not very optimistic to start with, so you can imagine my mood. Grrrrrrrrr. We take such simple things for granted. Try blowing your nose with one side in an inoperative mode - not very pretty and quite confusing as well.
By the time I picked up Ed, things were improving somewhat so we decided to make a go of it and away we went to our next eating adventure.
Chase Bar & Grill, another important and well-known name on the Santa Barbara scene is an Italian eatery located at 1012 State Street. The last time I ate at Chase was when our dear Angie and her husband Tony where at the reigns of the place. It was a classic trattoria with hearty dishes and a well-defined Italian feeling all around. They are gone now and whoever took over or bought the place decided to give it a “Christmas gift shop on sale” look. The place is totally covered with strings of bright tiny white Christmas lights that give it a kind of Macy’s ambiance. Lots of cherubs populate the place, strategically situated in makeshift balconies. They are of the winged and pink and green varieties, and are performing various different duties. We have the provocative one, lying on its side with his hand holding his head and a very mischievous look. We have the self-rewarding cherub with his hands resting on his legs, and the begging cherub with his hand extended in a “please give” gesture. We are on State St., so that one is probably in honor of our homeless friends. The two green ones are at the end of the place, taking a bath. Just celestial. The menu came in unison with the return of my nose, and happiness was all around me. I’m back, baby!
We ordered a chicken Milanese with fettuccini, and in honor of Rocco’s mama, (The Restaurant) a plate of spaghetti and meatballs. While we waited we perused the pictures of Hollywood stars that adorn the walls, as usual, I stop to marvel at how wonderful Marilyn was. The food came quickly, and even though Ed found it to be average, I was so happy to have my senses back that I actually enjoyed almost everything. Nothing excelled and nothing was memorable, but the chicken was all right and the pasta was almost al dente. The single meatball that sat on top of my spaghetti was pretty mediocre and had the texture of compressed semolina. The bread was good as was the olive oil that came with it, and there were no complaints when we asked for seconds. Overall, another average Italian restaurant. I miss the Chase of Angela and Tony.
One more thing. If you believe in the separation of church and food, this place is not for you. There is no way you can avoid seeing the cross that hangs on the front wall; it is huge and a little intimidating. Is it to remind you that you should tip generously or else? Or, maybe its mere presence is to secure proper behavior from those rascals, the cherubs. Either way, I don’t get it. Not that there is anything wrong with it. Hey, did you see that, the sun came out!
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