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We're always checking out new places for San Diego Restaurant Week and were invited to preview the SDRW menu at The Marine Room in La Jolla. This fine dining restaurant has huge windows facing the ocean, which is especially mesmorizing when it is HIGH TIDE. I never knew there existed a restaurant where you could watch the waves splashing at the heavy duty windows while dining (view depends on season/time of the year).
The restaurant itself is located in a residential looking area so you go through a little bit of windy streets to reach it. Once there, you can valet your car or find street parking nearby. We were seated by the hostess and were ready to eat.
The San Diego Restaurant Menu is attached at the end of the post and contains 3 appetizers, 6 entrees, and a dessert to choose from.
Pistachio Panch Phoron Wild Prawns / Tuxedo Barley, Eggplant chutney, Penny Royale, Pink Grapefruit Dressing
Back view of the shrimp with the fantastic seasoning!
Winter Corn ~ Blue Crab Bisque / Almond Coconut Financier, Chile Pearls, Vanilla Oil
Lemon Rosemary Bread / Butter, Sea Salt
To start, we received the complimentary lemon rosemary bread with butter sprinkled with black sea salt. The prominent lemon flavor was delightful and a nice contrast with the rich butter and salt. The shrimp appetizer was fun because of the different sauces. I would dip the shrimp into one, maybe two sauces and take a bite. Then switch over to something different for another taste explosion in my mouth. Even on its own, the shrimp had this non-salted seasoning mix which I rather liked. Another plus was that the shrimp was shelled all the way down to the tail! Yes! As for the soup, it was light and slightly creamy, and reminded Dennis of a holiday type soup. The floating cracker held cream which was mixed in to mellow out the soup. I was quite interested in the soft cake bread on the side, which I thought was unique with a slight anise-like flavor. Into the soup it went as well!
Robin’s Red Ale Braised Beef Cheeks / King Trumpets, Parsnips, Cipollini, Truffle Hazelnut Gremolata
We saw multiple bursts of flavor on each entree plate. In the beef cheeks plate, there was a robust reduced wine gravy surrounding a creamier white sauce. I found that I liked the contrast of a pomegranate seed popping in your mouth or even the sweet peas against the richer sauces. The beef cheeks were fairly well distributed with fat and that kept it tender. The intense marbling does make the beef a bit "sticky fat" but combining with the sauces helps out. More texture contrast is provided by the flaked parsley chimichurri flakes on top of the meat. This was definitely the favorite of the entrees.
Togarashi Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna / Black Rice, Mango, Avocado Fritter, Pinot Gris Hibiscus Infusion
For the ahi plate, the portions were generous but I would have liked a little more sear to the sesame seeds. We ordered the ahi rare which came out fresh and played best with the green wasabi-flavored dots. If only there were MORE green dots on the plate though! The deep red sauce actually tasted a bit like cheese cake with a balsamic edge to it!
Other goodies on the plate included a fanned out chip with a slight kick from the togarashi seasoning. The glutenous black rice was not particularly sweet or savory but was still better than our Seasons 52 visit. The snap peas had the perfect tenderness. Two thin slices of mango decorated another portion of the plate. The avocado fritter seemed a little out of place to me overall but did make me think of a deconstructed sushi dish!
Three Sweet Tastes / Godiva Chocolate Liqueur Pot de Crème, Classic Lemon Meringue Tart, and Black Currant Sorbet, Basil Crystals
We thought we'd be sharing but we each got a dessert platter!
The Black Currant Sorbet was one of our favorite desserts. Tastewise, it reminded me of a fruit roll up but without the obnoxious sugariness. The rolled up chocolate and passion fruit / raspberry sauces were nice additions.
I don't think I've had one before but the Classic Lemon Meringue Tart tasted really good to me. I basked in the glorious sugar lemon taste and was digging the tart crust under. Dennis commented that it's so sweet but he couldn't stop eating it!
The Godiva Chocolate Liqueur Pot de Creme was the richest of the desserts. That one had an intense chocolate taste and was super thick. Dennis coated his berry in chocolate and urged me to do the same!
Coffee and Lemon Macaron
Surprise bonus of the night! We received these after dessert and noticed the table next to us also got them!
Bar & Lounge
Pictured is the bar area and the lounge seating. Notice in the lounge how as many chairs as possible face the ocean? This was true with the main dining areas too and comes in really handy when they have their high tide dining.
We tried two items from their lounge menu on a different visit.
Pacific Blue Crab Cake ($18) / acorn noodles, persimmon, red radish sprouts, absinthe saffron sauce
Lemon Thyme Scented Avocado Fritters ($12) / sea salt flakes, ancho chile dip
The crab cakes are worth returning for! The crab mix was soft with a crust plus additional crunchies. It was really cool that they used a persimmon slice to hold the micro greens on top too. Underneath were these spaghetti thin noodles with this zesty, almost lemony fresh sauce. I basically licked the plate clean to get every last drop. This appetizer was like a little mini entree. The avocado fritters were very lightly battered and let the firm and just ripe avocado taste shine through. The ancho chile dip actually reminded me of sriracha mayo but with a richer, fattier feel to it.
During their happy hour, their lounge appetizers are only $10! Dennis recommends when you go there, order 2 crabcakes, then ask your date what they would like to eat. =)
Overall, we were amazed by the intricate and detailed components of each dish. The colors and presentation were fantastic as well as tasty. The renown Executive Chef Bernard Guillas and Chef de Cuisine Ron Oliver do a fantastic job here. Our waitress Kimberly was non-instrusive and kindly took care of our needs that night. This place definitely is a special night type of place. I also noticed that this year marks the 75th Diamond Anniversary! I couldn't help feeling a bit excited that we're celebrating such a huge milestone as well as enjoying the food for the first time! We think there are some great items available here so you better make reservations ASAP, especially if you want to try the SDRW menu!
Disclaimer: we were hosted for this visit but the opinions are strictly our own.
The Marine Room
2000 Spindrift Drive
La Jolla CA 92037