1601 Bar & Kitchen is a small, independent, husband and wife owned and operated casual fine dining restaurant, operating since 2013. The atmosphere is intimate and comfortable for conversation, while the noise level is low. Chef Brian Fernando refers to his technique-driven interpretations of Sri Lankan cuisine as ‘Contemporary Sri Lankan’ or ‘Californian Sri Lankan.’ Our cuisine is aromatic and vibrant, offering both mild and spicy items. We offer a very popular multi-course Chef’s tasting menu accompanied by optional beverage pairings that usually takes 1,5 hours for 2 guests. We also offer an evolving à la carte menu of small and large dishes. The favorites are the egg hopper, smoked salmon, chicken curry, okra, Mulligatawny soup, and goat stew. Our menu contains many gluten free and vegetarian items. Children are welcome to order from our regular menu; we do not offer a kids’ menu. Reservations and walk-ins are welcome. We are located close to the freeway and the street parking is easy; there is a parking garage within a block.
What kind of cuisine is served at 1601 Bar & Kitchen?
1601 Bar & Kitchen serves Sri Lankan inspired cuisine. We do not offer traditional Sri Lankan fare. We are comfortable with Contemporary Sri Lankan, even California-Sri Lankan labels. All dishes are inspired by traditional recipes and/or contain spices and ingredients specific to the island.
How does your menu work?
Our menu is divided in two sections or formats, Shareable Plates and Chef’s Tasting Menu. Shareable Plates menu works ‘family-style’ and we recommend ordering at least two dishes per person. We don’t serve all the food at once; instead, we course it out for you, lighter things first, heavier last, unless you request otherwise. Chef’s Tasting Menu is served individually and takes about 1,5 hours for two guests. Some dishes from the Chef’s Tasting Menu are available as a la carte selections, for example, the egg hopper.
How big are Shareable Plates?
The dishes listed at the beginning tend to be lighter and smaller in quantity, for example smoked salmon. The dishes listed towards the end are more substantial, for example chicken curry. A table of two usually orders 4+ of shareable plates.
How does Chef’s Tasting Menu work?
It exposes you to a variety of food products, flavors and preparation methods. It is seafood and vegetable focused, and usually contains one rice and curry course. It has some very traditional dishes, like the egg hopper and some interpretive dishes, like savory watalappam. All the items listed are served in that exact order with a couple of surprise courses. It takes approximately 1,5 hours for a table of 2 and could take longer for larger groups. We do not recommend ordering tasting menu for groups of more than 6, because the dinner can turn into quite a long affair. The price of the tasting menu fluctuates based on the amount of luxury ingredients featured on the menu at the moment. Most of the people comment they are ‘comfortably full’ or ‘very full’ at the end of the meal.