Savory Morsels

The Culinary Adventures of a California Girl

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

***June 14, 2006: Pacific's Edge***

Pacific’s Edge
120 Highlands Drive
Carmel, CA
Pacific’s Edge has one of the best views I have ever seen. Two walls of the restaurant are floor to ceiling windows and it’s positioned on a cliff looking out over the Pacific Ocean. The dining room is set up in two tiers in order to maximize the number of tables with views, which is important because I think most people would be very unhappy to not get a window table. The décor is understated and simple and mostly goes unnoticed; however the restaurant has a very elegant feel and seems beautiful because of the view. As I told my dad (who was my dinner companion that night), I usually hate being left alone at the table when the other person goes to the bathroom, but I didn’t mind it at all at Pacific’s Edge because I just sat there contently mesmerized by the beautiful sunset!

The menu is tasting menu style and you can choose to have three, four, or five savory courses (or the chef’s set tasting menu). They don’t scale down the portion size when you order more dishes so be wary of ordering more than three even though cost wise additional courses are quite a deal. I decided to order the “steak & eggs”, the day boat scallops, and the striped bass. My dad ordered the seared kajiki, the salt prawns, the braised lobster, and the smoked duck breast. Since we split everything, I basically got to sample nine courses (when you include desserts)! In addition, dinner began with an amuse bouche of sweet potato soup and ended with a little treat of a raspberry with lemon cream and a financier. Needless to say, I was stuffed by the end!

I started with the “steak & eggs” which was beef carpaccio and a little quiche. I really enjoyed the carpaccio which was well favored with peppercorns and a spicy mustard sauce. However, I wasn’t a fan of the quiche which was served room temperature, was quite bland, and just kind of mushy. I much preferred by dad’s first course which was the seared kajiki. The seared fish came with a fruity salad of fennel, green apple, and some dried berries. I thought the dish was light and fresh and the perfect way to start a meal.

The next course was my dad’s prawns (since he’d ordered one more dish than I had). The prawns were soaked in a butter sauce and were well cooked, but nothing phenomenal. Honestly, I think it was just a little too much butter for my taste. Especially when my dad’s next dish was the butter braised lobster, which I thought was a much tastier dish and more worth the millions of calories from the butter. It was a pretty simple dish, but my favorite way to have lobster is just plain with butter so I really loved this preparation. My dad who puts butter on everything, was more than happy to have two dishes full of his favorite condiment. Surprisingly though, he actually enjoyed my scallops with fois gras and celery root puree more than his lobster. I agreed that they were perfectly undercooked (which is rare since so many restaurants over cook them) and the celery root puree was a good match to bring out the sweet flavors, but I’d choose well cooked lobster over day boat scallops any day!

Our final courses were the bass and the duck. Both dishes were excellently executed, but at this point I was desperately trying to save room for my favorite course: dessert! The bass came with the skin on (which I really don’t enjoy eating) but underneath it was juicy and flaky. The red wine reduction sauce was a little heavy for me, but it still managed not to mask the flavor of the bass. The duck was cooked exactly medium rare, but still managed to taste a little chewy to me. However, I loved the maple glaze and the little round of duck confit. Still, I thought that my bass was the better of the two.

Finally it was time for dessert! After seeing the huge portion of malasadas (beignet like sugar coated balls), we decided to go with the chocolate, chocolate, chocolate and the apple tart tatin hoping that they would be smaller. The chocolate dish definitely was. It came with three little tastes of chocolate; a chocolate and caramel bombe, a chocolate cake with raspberry cream (pictured), and a really really tasty spoonful of cappuccino ice cream. Besides the ice cream, I found the chocolate dish rather standard and unimaginative and I didn’t exactly see how cappuccino flavor counted as a chocolate taste. But, I loved the ice cream and I’m always happy to eat chocolate. The apple tart tatin, was also a bit of a disappointment. The apples were spiced well and the 5-spice ice cream was great – but the pastry underneath the apples was not very good at all. It couldn’t hold up to all the liquids on top of it and had become soggy and chewy and didn’t have any of the buttery flakeyness that makes puff pastry normally so amazing. Additionally, the portion was way too big.

My dad and I were happy that we ventured over to Pacific’s Edge. I think it has the best atmosphere of any place in a 30 min driving radius, great service, and one of the best views I’ve ever seen. Overall I thought the food was prepared well and very tasty, but not quite up to the level of Marinus (a nearby restaurant at the Bernardus lodge). I’m sure we’ll be returning to Pacific’s edge soon and I’ll definitely recommend it to anybody looking for a restaurant to celebrate a special occasion!


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