Sudo's taco trio comes highly recommended.
Restaurateurs Daniel Voskoboynikov of the Harbor Cafe and Mike Pitt of Motiv and Castaways have melded their minds and aesthetics and opened Süda, the new Pleasure Point hot spot. Locals will hardly recognize the old Rock of the Sea, which has had a major face lift (and for once the procedure really has left her looking younger and healthier). The open, light-filled restaurant incorporates recovered wood, stone and living plants into the design. Picnic tables serve as outdoor seating where neighbors in the know can be seen lounging over a pitcher of beer with their two- and four-legged friends.
The emphasis here is local, organic, sustainable and tasty. Ben Lomond–bred chef Anthony Dias, who has fed the masses at Blowfish Sushi in San Francisco, Mission Ranch in Carmel, Pasatiempo and many other restaurants, cultivates an eighth-acre at Ace Organics Farm, the fruits—well, vegetables—of which appear regularly on Süda plates. (Full disclosure: I worked at Süda briefly before joining the Santa Cruz Weekly staff.)
But first things first: I highly recommend the cocktails. I started with a Süda 75 ($9), a refreshing chartreuse concoction of gin, basil, cucumber and just a hint of lavender from the infused simple syrup. The tart orange, lime and grapefruit flavors of the Sun Also Rises ($9) are mellowed by the sweetness of Maraschino liqueur and Cruzan rum. My guest ogled the more than 20 beers on tap before choosing the Green Flash IPA ($6), but almost went for a glass of local wine ($5– $11).
Tasty starters include the lettuce wraps with rice noodles, toasted coconut and a salty-sweet peanut sauce ($9) and warm brie cheese plate with roasted garlic, fresh fruit and crostini ($13). Both are perfect for sharing with friends. The Süda Salad is meal-sized and loaded with fresh lettuces, sunflower sprouts, pumpkin seeds and veggies from the garden ($7). Get it with the sweet miso-plum dressing.