Monday, May 21 , 2018, 6:21 am | Mostly Cloudy 54º


Donna Polizzi

Here & There

Donna Polizzi: Mattie’s Bar & Eatery Already a Star of Pismo Beach Restaurant Scene

From clam chowder and bacon-wrapped dates to filet mignon and roasted rum raisin chicken, diners face difficult — but delicious — choices to order


Pismo Beach has no shortage of great restaurants, and now there’s another on the list.

Dining at Mattie’s Bar & Eatery, at 558 Price St., has locals and tourists raving about the distinct and delectable dishes prepared by Chef Rebecca at the restaurant, which opened over the summer.

Owner Madeline “Mattie” Moore and her longtime friend, “Chef Rebecca,” have teamed up to create a casual dining experience with freshly prepared, imaginative food that is delicious and delightful — from the very first bite.

Rebecca, who requested that only her first name be used, has an impressive résumé, which reportedly includes cooking for a state dinner hosted by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger as well as a private White House state dinner for President George W. Bush, and winning a culinary gold medal.

“We want to offer our guests a variety of fresh foods, healthily prepared in extraordinary ways,” Rebecca said. “Mattie and I are making this a special place to have fun, eat delicious and visually stunning food.

“Our guests have said that our food is seemingly too good to be healthy. We hear the word ‘WOW!’ a lot around here.”

If you’d like an appetizer simply bursting with flavor, try the bacon-wrapped dates. Flavors meld together when goat cheese is stuffed into plump dates, wrapped in bacon and grilled to crispy, sweet, salty and savory perfection. They are scrumptious when paired with a 2014 Tolosa Pinot Noir.

Many restaurants are offering deviled eggs as appetizers these days, but Rebecca’s will make your taste buds want to do the tango. Biting into the perfect, creamy deviled egg, topped with candied bacon and fried onion, is an experience of itself.

One of the most interesting, colorful and flavorful salads I’ve had is Mattie’s Grilled Watermelon, with roasted shishito peppers, goat cheese and red onion, along with a champagne vinaigrette in a balsamic glaze reduction.

The clam chowder, topped with crispy bacon and basil, is the best I’ve ever tasted. And you may soon have the opportunity to try it at home. The chowder is so popular that Moore is in the process of canning it and setting up a distribution network.

Ironically, Rebecca is allergic to shellfish. So how can her clam chowder be so good when the chef can’t taste it? She says she “just knows,” based on the smell, texture and color.

The main course is a difficult choice when you’re looking at a menu with options like roasted rum raisin chicken topped with sautéed raisins in a Malibu rum and demi-glace sauce.

If you’re a meat lover, Mattie’s has a tender, melt-in-your-mouth, 8-ounce filet mignon, with a savory Cabernet reduction and garlic butter. Two sides come with the entrees, and the cheesy polenta is the ultimate comfort food.

If you like seafood, the mahi-mahi can’t be topped. Unless, of course, you’re talking about the delicious, slightly spicy, tequila mango chutney, that crowns this delicious, fresh fish. Try the dish with crispy Brussels sprouts, prepared with cranberries, caramelized in white wine and a side of the coconut scallion rice. I could make a meal on the rice alone, it’s that fantastic.

Mattie’s serves Alaskan king crab or peel and eat shrimp by the pound, accompanied by roasted corn and roasted red potatoes.

“At Mattie’s, the service is friendly, it’s intimate and the food is scrumptious,” diner David Zavala said.

“It is a great place in Pismo for appetizers or to have a really good meal.”

When you go to Mattie’s, allow yourself enough time to relax and fully savor the mouthwatering dishes that will be coming your way. It will be time well invested.

Mattie’s Bar & Eatery is open 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, and is closed Monday. Click here for more information, or call 805.295.5295.

— Donna Polizzi is a regional travel expert and founder of Keys 2 the Coast, a free Central Coast travel resource providing honest recommendations on the best places that locals want to go. She can be contacted at [email protected]. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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