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Blue Tavern Restaurant Review: L.A.-based chef Ricardo Zarate (Picca, Mo-Chica, Paiche) is behind Blue Tavern, which is decorated with polished rough-hewn tables in a minimalist environment with an open kitchen, a small bar and outdoor seating fronting State Street. Start with a pisco sour, the national cocktail of Peru. Sea bass ceviche is a signature dish, and rightly so. It comes with crispy calamari, rocoto leche de tigre (made of peppers, milk, spices and fish), celery leaf, onion and caramelized Peruvian sweet potato. There's a tart note counteracting the soft fish and crisp calamari, a cornucopia of texture. Or sample pizzas, including the pulled pork pie with grilled pineapple, jalapeño and serrano peppers. Blue Tavern uses olive wood for all of its pizzas, resulting in a nice sporadic char on the crust. Pumpkin and quinoa stew employs chunks of feta cheese, tomato sauce, yuzu salsa and soft quinoa topped with a pan-fried egg, crispy onion and parsley oil. The most popular dessert is the chocolate molten cake, which has a filling of chocolate and passion fruit, and comes with a house-made vanilla bean ice cream. Blue Tavern fills a culinary void in Santa Barbara, with its lack of fear in regard to spices and heat. A small but compelling wine and cocktail list rounds out the experience.