1187 COAST VILLAGE ROAD
In all his years as a chef, French-born patîssier Renaud Gonthier has never lost sight of what brings him joy: they include a colorful salad that stands tall on the plate but doesn’t overflow, a delicate rolled (not folded) omelet, a golden-crusted croissant, the idiom of French baking for which he’s locally famous.
Now he has brought that sensibility to a new location in Montecito. The space reflects a traditional bistro design with a gleaming, modern display case for his desserts and other treats. This Renaud’s is open for breakfast and lunch like the others, but also for dinner, and Gonthier is having fun with the familiar here.
He gives his croissant a savory turn as a pressed French Cubano sandwich with smoked ham, Gruyere cheese and cornichons. He makes a croque monsieur on a large slice of bread, cuts it into squares and serves it as snack fare at the beer-and-wine bar. He uses pâte à choux, the light éclair dough, to make Parisian gnocchi. He makes croquettes “because they’re fun and I like them.” There’s even a hangar steak cooked Sous-vide to perfection and then quickly seared on the grill.
Of course, the newest Renaud’s has all the usual pastries, macarons, cakes, pies, tartlets, cookies and other divine treats that have made Renaud’s everyone’s go-to for an authentic taste of Paris.