I have heard Drew’s name around the campfire when traveling with my Off Road buddies. It didn’t mean anything at the time, but clearly I wasn’t thinking clearly. My partner, Eric Morley, had been telling me for months that, just like the wine, Deckman’s was a “Must” experience in the Valle.
Eric and I finally found ourselves at Deckman’s, late in the evening, on a Sunday. They were happy to take us in as the last guests of the night. I dropped Eric and our guest off at the front entrance while I parked. Remember—in the Valle at night, it is pitch black!
This was where my love affair with Deckman’s restaurant and Drew began. As I walked into the open-air kitchen, I saw Eric talking to Drew like they were long lost friends. I assumed that Eric knew Drew and had just never eaten at the restaurant. That’s when Drew walked over to me with a big smile on his face, a firm handshake and a hug. He showed us a table right in the heart of the action and told us he had some special wine for us to try. We were given one of his best servers who quickly showed us around the menu and made some great recommendations.
At Deckman’s, the entire kitchen is outside and in plain view as you walk into the seating area. The flames roasting vegetables, the open fire cooking tortillas, and the variety of meats on the grill all make for an incredible aroma begging you to order everything on the menu. I am a steak person so I immediately notice a rib eye on the grill, the size of a small car. It’s perfectly seasoned with sea salt and flame. I already know that’s what I am going to order.
Drew is known for his seafood and, more specifically, his oysters. You do not want to miss the oysters. The corn tortillas and fresh bread show up to the table with a wonderful green dipping sauce. This is about the time where the grilled items start showing up along with more fresh seafood, eclectic vegetables seasoned and cooked to perfection, platters of yellow tail sashimi with peppers and fresh olive oil, grilled quail, and the most amazing, roasted, melt in your mouth, bone marrow you have ever tried.
It’s at this time that the grilled rib eye shows up. It is always cooked to perfection, served on a family size platter, sliced thin for the table to enjoy, and has the most incredible flavor I have ever tasted in a steak. The combination of sea salt, a hot fire on the grill, the wood used to make that fire, and the time it has been cooked, all equal absolute perfection.
On a few occasions the meal has been accompanied with the smoothest and most delicious mashed potatoes I have ever tasted. Drew was happy to share the recipe—Butter, Cream, Potatoes!
If you have room for dessert, order up. I have tasted a little bit of everything he has on the menu. I suppose it’s the farm to table aspect of collecting fresh eggs, milk, and cheese (and I am sure the list goes on) that makes his desserts stand above all others in the Valle. My favorite is his chocolate tarts and vanilla ice cream.
Deckman’s is a special place for everyone to enjoy. Plan on a wonderful experience that you will never forget. Come early and enjoy the landscape and the views. Stay for the food and wine. Introduce yourself to Drew and feel at home just like I have this last year. Hopefully I will see you there.