Oswald Restaurant in Santa Cruz

When we have guests in town who appreciate upscale food, we usually default to Ristorante Avanti.    But Oswald Restaurant could be argued to take that place, so we booked a table for our 30th anniversary dinner in October 2016.

Reservations were simple to get via Open Table about a week in advance.  Nearly all times were available.  This was a surprise since the restaurant is somewhat small, seating perhaps 32 people.

Small is OK. Good sound level, great service, and a great menu.

Small is OK. Good sound level, great service, and a great menu.

Quite a lot of work went into sound dampening and it works well making conversation easy.  However we were surprised and disappointment at worn, uncovered tables and the cheap, sticky flatware.

Starters included Fuyu persimmon squash soup with smoked paprika-walnut oil, and butter lettuce salad with citrus, pecans & creamy herb dressing ($9 and $12).  Both phenomenal in flavor and presentation.

Karen ordered skirt steak with potato gratin, carrots, blue cheese butter & crispy fried onions ($30).  Cooked to perfection, tender with rich flavor, the crispy onions were a perfect combination.

I chose roasted duck breast  with cheesy spaetzle, cauliflower & tea-poached prunes ($30). The duck breast was tender and flavorful.  The prunes were an excellent compliment but difficult to combine with the sliced duck without cutting them up beforehand.

The servers were well-informed, attentive, and cheerful.  Our server recommended Chateau La Nerthe Chateauneuf-du-Pape Rouge 2011 based on what we ordered and it was perfect choice (and a new favorite).

Worn tables and cheap sticky flatware detract just a little from the amazing dishes.

Worn tables and cheap sticky flatware detract just a little from the amazing dishes.

The service, quality and creativity of the food overshadowed the maintenance-shy tables and flatware enough that we’d definitely return.  Oswald is highly recommended — especially if you value food and service over a few misses in the atmosphere.

Oswald Restaurant is at 121 SOQUEL AVE.@FRONT ST.SANTA CRUZ, CA, 95060831-423-7427

Michael Stebbins

About Michael Stebbins

Michael is an entrepreneur, world traveler, and tech geek.
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