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Wine Cask Restaurant Review: Ground zero for wine and cuisine in Santa Barbara County, Wine Cask comprises a trio of restaurant, wine bar and wine tasting room orbiting one of the city’s most historical courtyards. The interior is dark and moody, sleek and sophisticated, though not formal and stuffy. Chef Brandon Hughes’ food is not for the weak of palate. Blasts of salt bring out the flavor of a rosy-centered pork chop, which is double-cut and served with apple cider reduction atop a purée of local root vegetables and pancetta-flecked Brussels sprouts. Even a seemingly innocuous endive salad is a textural triumph, with crisp apples, a potent and slightly sour blue cheese vinaigrette and candied walnuts. Though Hughes mostly avoids culinary avant-gardism, dishes like a cassoulet “trio” --- deconstructed and plated in sections of succulent duck leg confit falling off the bone, braised pork cheek and Farpoint Ranch sausage --- reflect his city upbringing. The menu changes seasonally, but you’ll find dishes like (oven-roasted) whitefish straight from the Channel Islands to herb-crusted rack of lamb with Tunisian spices and curried couscous. Pastry chef Rosie Gerard turns out desserts such as pistachio macaroons made with rosewater cream and candied nuts, as well as a margarita cheesecake with tequila-lime reduction. The sommelier guides patrons through a phone book-size wine list that includes a strong showing of Santa Barbara wines.