Food & Drink » Flavor

Good eats are just around the corner

The Corner View restaurant in downtown SLO serves a fabulous array of cuisine from the four corners of the globe.

by

comment
MAN ABOUT TOWN :  Chef Matt Beckett knows how to please the most-worldly, discerning palates. - PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
  • PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
  • MAN ABOUT TOWN : Chef Matt Beckett knows how to please the most-worldly, discerning palates.

If you asked me to name my favorite ethnic cuisine, I’d tell you I love good food no matter where it originates. That’s why I thoroughly enjoyed an opportunity to taste an array of appetizers from a worldly menu that included: sashimi style, seared ahi, crusted with sesame seeds and a good, crunchy Asian slaw ($12.95); a crunchy quesadilla with roasted Maple Farms duck, gruyere cheese, and fire-roasted pasilla peppers with a wonderful, chunky guacamole ($11.94); a grilled, ground lamb skewer served with housemade hummus and tzatziki (yogurt, cucumber and garlic dip); a grilled artichoke with chipotle lime mayo sauce ($6.95); and I enjoyed every bite.

If you’re wondering where I could possibly find such an array of eclectic dishes on one menu, I’ll confess I was surprised. It was all very well done by chef Matthew “Matt” Beckett of Corner View restaurant in SLO.

PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
  • PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
Those of you fortunate enough to live in downtown SLO have an array of many good restaurants in your neighborhood. But you’ll find the eclectic menu I’m bragging about only at the Corner View at the corner of Marsh and Chorro streets. It’s a comfortable little restaurant and bar with a great menu and wine list, at prices affordable for anyone’s budget. I first reviewed the Corner View Restaurant late in 2003, when owners William “Bill” and Patty Carpenter took over the site that was formerly Linn’s. They certainly earned a good review and they have become an integral part of the SLO County food and wine scene.

The Corner View, a favorite of local foodies and travelers, has survived the recession that’s caused several restaurants to fail. I credit the Carpenters for continually improving their restaurant over the past seven years since they opened their doors. And they have always been responsive to the requests of their regular clientele. During a recent interview, the Carpenters credited their new chef Matt Beckett for his menu of fresh seasonal foods, and his support of local farms.

PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
  • PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
Many locals know Beckett, who’s a graduate of the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco with 26 years of experience as a professional cook. He was executive chef at the SLO Country Club for more than nine years. Before that he worked at Ian McPhee’s Avila Beach, the Olde Port Inn, Apple Farm, and Seaventure. Those who remember his food at the country club will be happy to know he still makes his signature double-bone pork chop with See Canyon apple chutney and their other favorites at Corner View. He’s been there seven months and I love his enthusiasm for his job. The chef explained his cooking philosophy: “I like to keep our foods seasonal and local; I go out to Los Osos and Arroyo Grande to buy from farms. We’re planning to change the menu three times a year to focus on what’s fresh in the market.”

 When I sat down to talk with the trio, Patty noted that Beckett’s menu and specials have continued to draw new customers. “It was a real opportunity for us when Matt showed up; he opened our eyes. He’s got Canyon Ranch Farms, a Cayucos grower that farms organically (although they’re not certified), growing specialty produce for us. We’re changing our menu but not too fast. We have a lot of regulars who don’t like to see their favorite dishes taken off the menu.” That’s typical in most neighborhood style restaurants; fortunately, Beckett can introduce his creative new entrées on the specials board. Bill pointed out: “We’re not Blue or the fanciest restaurant in town. We’re the place where people can get a good meal that’s affordable. Now that we have Matt, we have the capacity to do really good, quality food.”

PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
  • PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
I had dinner there with my husband Dan Hardesty and we enjoyed perfectly executed entrées: The fresh wild salmon with a miso glaze was charred a perfect medium rare and was served with a butternut squash risotto that had a delightful crunchy crust ($22.95); the double bone Sterling Farm’s pork chop was tender and moist and perfectly matched with a See Canyon apple chutney served with a cheesy potato gratin ($18.95); and I loved the “all natural, grass-fed Angus New York steak, which was quite lean yet tender, with a roasted garlic demi-glace ($23.95). In fact, I was just as happy with the delicious leftover beef the next day, which I used to make a quesadilla for lunch.

Our sweet conclusion for that satisfying dinner was the housemade triple-berry crisp. A combination of blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries bound with tapioca with a crunchy oatmeal topping, vanilla ice cream, and raspberry sauce ($6.95), it’s a well made rendition of one of my favorite types of dessert. Beckett told me he makes nearly everything in-house, and the servers are upfront about anything not made by the chef. He particularly enjoys making Asian dishes, which give him an opportunity to be more creative: “The things I love about Asian foods are the umami, the chilies, the heat, and the curries; I’m really drawn to it. Besides that, it’s a healthier alternative to the usual foods.”

- HAVE A NICE MEAL:  The Corner View Restaurant is located at 1141 Chorro St., SLO, 546-8444. For more information check out cornerviewrestaurant.com. -
  • HAVE A NICE MEAL: The Corner View Restaurant is located at 1141 Chorro St., SLO, 546-8444. For more information check out cornerviewrestaurant.com.
“In this day and age, we’re trying to do everything we can to hold the bottom line,” Bill admitted when we talked. “We have a lot of regular customers here and we count on them.”  There are many terrific benefits the Carpenters provide for their customers year round: a happy hour from 4 to 6 p.m. with $2 off well drinks, drafts and specialty cocktails; they have a list of good wines priced less than $20, besides a good list of fairly priced wines by the glass or bottle. They offer a $30 prix fixe four-course dinner with several choices of starters, first and main course, and dessert.

“We still want to be the best restaurant in SLO but we don’t want to change being a comfortable place where mom and dad can get a filet mignon or fish special with a glass of wine or a martini and the kids can get their favorites like mac and cheese,” Bill said.

You can reach New Times’ Cuisine columnist at khardesty@newtimesslo.com

Tags

Add a comment