Big Sur's Nepenthe on the 1

Nepenthe : 

1.  A drug or drink, or the plant yielding it, mentioned by ancient writers as having the power to bring forgetfulness of sorrow or trouble.

2.  Anything inducing a pleasurable sensation of forgetfulness, especially of sorrow or trouble.


Now that we are sure we all know what "Nepenthe" means let me begin by saying that this past Labor Day weekend Mr. Borscht and I headed up to Big Sur, north on the beautiful scenic one highway we drove for a couple of hours for a relaxing weekend in a cabin up on the mountain top above the fog, it was just beautiful... just me, Mr. Borscht, Friend Simon, a breath-taking view and... all the bugs.  You learn something new everyday, this past weekend I learned that you cannot simply laze around in the pool to escape the bites of the pesty bugs, and I've got the bites to prove them.

But of course it would not have been very adventurous of us to stay indoors simply because there were a few thousand bugs busy at work outside, and it surely did not stop us from hopping into the car and driving up the coast a little way to visit our favorite Big Sur restaurant, Nepenthe.

In the evenings the fire pit outside and inside the restaurant are lit and the ambience is romantic, comfortable and dim, the beautiful ocean view sunset if you're lucky has not passed, the place is always almost nearly full and a short wait is to be expected, however I've never found this to be an inconvenience as there is a bar where one can sit drink, talk and even order food.  Customers are always welcome to sit outside near the fire pit or on the line of cushions placed on the large stone steps where one can enjoy the breeze, fresh air and the twinkle lights that go twinkle-twinkle in the starry night sky.


Inside firepit

Tables are given the complimentary hot bread roll and butter, hot, soft and slightly sweet the bread is absolutely delicious, your kids will probably eat them too in spite the sesame seeds and the whole grain look of it.

Bread & butter

As you already know Tummy is a fan of french-fries and so a Basket of Fries it is!  $8.00 for the basket but it can easily feed 4-5 people.

Basket of french-fries

All entrees come with a dinner salad:
greens and a cherry tomato or two
very basic but fresh!

Friend Simon always orders the Ambrosia burger when he's here at Nepenthe, tonight is no different.  Though the Ambrosia burger comes with pickles, lettuce, special sauce and a choice of cheese Friend Simon likes his hamburgers dry, and so what we see here is the very sad & lonely looking Ambrosia burger with simply bread, cheese and patty.

I've never been enticed by the Ambrosia burger here at Nepenthe, but I've heard many say how delicious the burger is, I waved to our waiter to inquire what exactly makes the Ambrosia burger so special and delicious.  He was more than happy to take some time to explain it all, basically what it came down to was the delicious bread and the meat patty: the two simple key ingredients are perfect.  Surprising for me to hear the burger is the most often ordered here at Nepenthe.

The Ambrosia Burger

1/2 Roast duck

When I'm at Big Sur or passing through Big Sur I always stop at Nepenthe and when I stop at Nepenthe I always order the Duck.  I've tried other things here: the vegetarian lasagna, the fish, the chicken... but I always come back to the duck, in my opinion, it's the best thing on the menu.

The Duck entree comes with half roast duck with a Asian BBQ glaze on top of white rice, a sliced vegetable egg roll is meticulously placed and the entree is topped with a refreshing salad made up of bean sprouts, cilantro, lemon grass and cashews tossed in an asian chili dressing.  To some the Asian BBQ glaze may be too sweet but I find it to be perfect when eaten together with the rice, the eggrolls are crispy on the outside with cooked vegetables inside that taste, yes, like vegetable egg rolls.  The salad that tops the entree is one of my favorite features about this Duck entree if not the favorite.  You've got the crunch from the bean sprouts, the buttery texture from the cashews, a bit of sour from the lemon grass, the freshness from the cilantro and the chili sauce is light and tangy- all tossed together it really is... Nepenthe.

The cutest doggy bag I've ever seen!

The doggy bag

So, in spite the eight pesty bites I've been scratching ferociously ever since I've gotten back from Big Sur, one dinner at Nepenthe really made it worth the while.

The Damage:  $97.06 +/-

2 Glazed Duck
1 Ambrosia Burger
1 Beer

48510 Highway One
Big Sur CA 93920
(831) 667.2345

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