Not long ago, my husband and I went to one of our favorite local eateries, Shalhoob’s for a long-anticipated date night. Besides having really great steaks and cocktails, this restaurant has a long history in Santa Barbara. Shalhoob’s Meat Company has been a Santa Barbara staple since 1950. The restaurant’s location was once a Shalhoob’s Deli, but a few years ago, daughter Jill took the reins and turned it into a happening steakhouse and an immediate locals hangout. From the mixed grill to the turkey dip to the perfect filet mignon, this restaurant pretty much always knocks my socks off.
After all that hype, you’ll probably be surprised to hear how disappointed I was in the bacon-wrapped shrimp appetizer. When we saw it on the menu, we were shocked we’d never ordered it before. When it arrived at our table, we couldn’t wait to tear into it. The five shrimp were served on a bed of rice pilaf and looked like a work of art (although my iPhone didn’t do them justice.) The bacon was perfectly wrapped, a festive stripey ensemble. Unfortunately, it also had an overdone crispness to it, nearly burnt in flavor, and the shrimp were dry. The only thing we could figure was that they must have deep-fried them and left them in the oil too long. Deep-frying always seems like a good idea, but it can certainly be taken too far. Let this be a lesson to all you Fry-Daddy owners out there. Too much of a good thing can be…well, too much.
Having said that, the rest of our meal was outstanding; just thinking about their famous split-pea soup is making me hungry. To top it off, each and every bartender can make a killer Manhattan. If you happen to visit Santa Barbara, you have my highest recommendation for Shalhoob’s. Just don’t forget to invite me!