Suzi Reed couldn’t hold back how thrilled she is with her restaurant since it was transformed from Hawgs to the Coldwater Bar & Grill.
“The remodel is so beautiful,” she said. “I’m so excited. I feel like it’s Christmas!”
Reed has a right to her enthusiasm—the remodel is indeed lovely and has accomplished what she set out to do: provide her customers with a “comfortable and lively environment.”
Reed has replaced booths that ran down the center of the restaurant with bar tables and stools, creating what she says is “neighborhood style seating” with a more friendly feel.
The booths that line the walls have been given a snazzy upgrade with classy textured upholstery and sea-green glass dividers.
Backing up the bar are panels of beautiful blue mirrored glass, which, along with oversized, bright fish-themed paintings and red glass light fixtures, add colorful elements to the restaurant.
For sports fans, Reed has installed five (count ‘em—five) large flat screen TVs hooked into both Comcast and Direct TV so you’re sure not to miss a game.
You can also enjoy outside dining on the patio, equipped with heaters for those chilly evenings.
Reed wanted to continue serving customer favorites, but also add daily and weekly specials as well as new “group-friendly appetizers.”
"We decided to make this change to give our customers more of the food and features they love and request,” Reed said. “This is our way of acknowledging their feedback and creating a place that will be appealing to a wider variety of Santa Cruz locals.”
And talented Chef Adam Becerra is making it happen with his casual yet inventive menu of appetizers, salads, sandwiches and entrées.
“He is such a master in the kitchen and has so much passion for the restaurant and the food he creates," Reed said. “We’ve been testing some of the new menu items with our regulars and they are all getting rave reviews.”
Are you a fresh oyster fan? Try them a variety of ways that include shooters with cocktail sauce, freshly grated horseradish and vodka or baked with sautéed spinach, garlic and asiago cheese.
For starters, you have lots of choices, including Becerra’s signature ahi poke, Portuguese style clams and sausage, crispy calamari with tentacles (applauding loudly), and hot smoked salmon, which Becerra smokes daily.
I tried Chef Becerra’s smoked salmon at last year’s Taste of Santa Cruz, and it was delicious. He generously has provided us with the recipe—see below.
Other menu items include salads with seared ahi, grilled skirt steak or seared shrimp and pear; shrimp po-boy; a grilled cheese sandwich on sourdough with brie, caramelized onion and jalapeño jelly; burgers, tacos and fish and chips; and pasta, fish, paella and other entrées.
At the end of March, the restaurant will start two daily happy hours--from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. and then again from 9:00 p.m. to close—with food and drink specials. The official grand re-opening will be the week of April 1 with events and specials.
But, as the final touches of the remodel are completed, the doors are open, the tables are set and the smoker’s heating up, so find your way to Coldwater Bar & Grill and enjoy some of Chef Becerra’s great cooking and the friendly setting envisioned by Suzi Reed.
Coldwater Bar & Grill opens at 4:00 p.m. daily, and serves until midnight on Friday and Saturday. For more information, check the restaurant’s website.
Smoked Salmon w/ Horseradish Cream Sauce & Mixed Greens
Chef Adam Becerra
Using an electric smoker, fill the smoke box with about ¾ cut of wood chips. An alder/cherry wood mix is best as it results in a lighter smoke flavor that won’t obstruct the delicate flavors of the salmon.
Prepare the salmon (one whole side of salmon is best to insure a consistent cook time): Season the salmon evenly with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the salmon and gently pat down the fillet for complete coverage.
Place the salmon on a smoking rack and insert into the smoker. Cook the salmon at 150 degrees for approximately 45-60 minutes. The internal temperature of the salmon should reach 140 degrees for a moist, soft and buttery texture.
While the salmon is cooking, prepare the Horseradish Cream Sauce:
Combine in a mixing bowl and stir until incorporated:
½ cup sour cream
2 T fresh grated horseradish (washed and peeled)
1 t prepared horseradish
1 T Dijon mustard
1 t sherry vinegar
½ t kosher salt
¼ t fresh ground pepper
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 t Dijon mustard
¼ t minced garlic
¼ t minced shallot
¼ t kosher salt
¼ t fresh ground pepper
Serve salmon with salad tossed with lemon vinaigrette, toasted baguette and horseradish cream sauce on the side.