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Wine Cask Restaurant Review: Ground zero for wine and cuisine in Santa Barbara County, this epicurean haunt was shuttered in 2009 before reopening under the dual stewardship of restaurateur Mitchell Sjerven and winemaker Doug Margerum, proprietor from 1981 to 2007. A trio of restaurant, wine bar and wine tasting room orbits one of the city’s most historical courtyards. While upscale, there is nothing priggish about Wine Cask. Chef Brandon Hughes’ food is not for the weak of palate. Blasts of salt bring out the flavor of a rosy-centered pork chop: double-cut and served with apple cider reduction atop a purée of local root vegetables and pancetta Brussels sprouts. Even a seemingly innocuous endive salad gets a bold kick from Point Reyes blue cheese and Spanish chorizo. Though Hughes mostly avoids culinary avant-gardism, dishes like a cassoulet “trio”---deconstructed and plated in sections: succulent duck leg confit falling off the bone in one section, braised pork cheek in another, then white beans and Farpoint Ranch sausage---reflect his city upbringing. Just enough creativity combines with local ingredients to keep this American Riviera dining experience from becoming too provincial. Consider a special of foie gras poached in Margerum’s M3 (a Rhône-styled red blend available only at the restaurant) and served between a rhubarb-blueberry tartlet and a cool scoop of bay leaf-thyme ice cream. Pastry chef Rosie Gerard turns out desserts like pistachio macaroons made with rosewater cream and candied nuts, and the sommelier guides patrons through a phonebook-size wine list with not a drop of pretension.