The following are capsule reviews of some of the better restaurants recently visited by our critics:
Waterfront dining is alive in--of all places--inland Ventura County, at New Orleans West. On the Westlake shore, NOW does best with its appetizers, such as the tangy chicken fingers, and the more elaborate Seafood Casa Dorata is certainly full of seafood. At either the patio or the bar, it's a lovely environment. New Orleans West, 32131 Lindero Canyon Blvd., Westlake Village, (818) 707-9378. Monday through Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday brunch. Full bar, credit cards accepted. Meal for two, food only, $20 to $50.
The 24-page menu at Jack's Restaurant and Deli offers everything from Mexican and American to vegetarian and deli food. The beers come in 136 varieties. Try the sweet, tangy baby-back pork ribs or the Mexican dishes, which are particularly good. Jack's is in Westlake Plaza Shopping Center, Westlake Village; 495-8181. Open every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Monday through Thursday 7 a.m. to midnight; Friday 7 a.m. to 1:30 a.m.; Saturday 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m.; Sunday 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Dinner for two, food only, $19 to $52.
You can go to Santa Barbara's crown jewel, the Four Seasons Biltmore Hotel, for more than just the atmosphere or the Sunday brunch buffet. The kitchen is now among the best in town, turning out wonderful dishes from lobster sausages to a bittersweet chocolate souffle. Better at dinner than at lunch. Either the indoor La Marina or the sparkling outdoor Patio makes for romantic dining. The Four Seasons Biltmore is at 1260 Channel Drive, Santa Barbara; 969-2261. Serving in the Patio weekdays 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., weekends 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Serving in La Marina weekdays 6 to 10 p.m., weekends 6 to 11 p.m. Lunch for two, food only, $30 to $48. Dinner for two, food only, $50 to $70.