Ocean views and a new menu delight diners who stop by The Shores in La Jolla
By Daniel K. Lew
Living in paradise has its advantages and one of them is the opportunity to frequent The Shores Restaurant — a beachfront restaurant in the truest sense. Sandy beaches and waves reaching the shore are steps outside the restaurant’s picturesque location at La Jolla Shores Hotel.
Though located inside La Jolla Shores’ Spanish-style hotel, open since 1970, The Shores Restaurant bills itself as a “neighborhood American” eatery. Comfort food is served gourmet style with local ingredients and seasonal menus by Executive Chef Bernard Guillas and Chef de Cuisine Amy DiBiase.
DiBiase joined the restaurant in late summer, and since then, she and Guillas have developed a new menu that “brings out the cuisine” at The Shores Restaurant to give the establishment its own experience, said Guillas, who is also executive chef at the acclaimed Marine Room located next door at La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club.
A lighter and healthier approach on some of the restaurant’s new dishes brings out the flavor of the ingredients, said Guillas and DiBiase, who both have a love for farmers markets and keeping in touch with local suppliers for seasonal crops and the latest catch.
The number of items on the menu for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a la carte Sunday Brunch have been simplified, ensuring the kitchen staff maintains consistency in preparation and presentation. For instance, the dinner menu has been reduced to seven appetizers and eight main courses, while still covering its bases.
“But it’s not a small menu because we have also created a Sip & Savor menu which changes every month and it has been so well received,” said Guillas.
November’s Sip & Savor menu called “Autumn Treasures,” is a three-course dinner for $30, or $45 with wine pairing, available nightly. First course choices are Three Citrus Cured Sea Trout, Farmers Market Rutabaga and Ginger Soup, or King Oyster Mushroom Baklava.
Second course options are Sangiovese Braised Meyer Ranch Short Rib, Seared Albacore Niçoise, or Preserved Fruit Stuffed Pheasant Breast. Dessert is a Three Tastes platter with Hazelnut Pot de Crème, Gingerbread Donut and Chocolate Cherry Ice Cream. In particular, the gourmet Gingerbread Donut is extra tasty without being too sweet or over decadent.
Among the new appetizers, Steamed Carlsbad Black Mussels (with fennel, leek and Italian Salsa Verde) is a top seller. “The Black Mussels are to die for; this is a really good dish. It sells like crazy for lunch, dinner and in the bar,” Guillas said. Upon arriving at one’s table, the heaping stack of large, local mussels appeals to the senses with its big aroma from the Italian Salsa Verde topping, made of garlic and a wide variety of fresh herbs, orange zest and extra virgin olive oil. A touch of white wine is also added to the broth.
Guillas also recommends the Farmers Market Roasted Beet Salad (with burrata, watercress, orange, pistachio and beet emulsion), and Natural Beef Carpaccio (with artichoke, preserved lemon, and pine-nut brittle, and Pecorino).
For entrees, some of the most popular items are Parsley Leek Crusted Butterfish (with Kabocha Portobello Ragoût, Tarragon Pesto), Aromatic Vegetable And Fish Stew (with mussels and prawns in a heirloom pepper broth), 1855 Angus New York Steak or Filet Mignon (with cherry tomato, blue-cheese salad, gingerliness and Old Vine Zinfandel glaze), and Oil Cured Black Olive Braised Lamb Shank (with eggplant caponata, Israeli couscous and citrus gremolat).
If undecided on picking an entree, the Crispy Skin Salmon (served with crème fraiche, Brussels sprouts, and pine-nut Parmesan froth), is highly recommended. The salmon skin is light and crunchy; the filet is flavorful without being overpowered by a spice rub — but the pleasant surprise is the accompanying Brussels sprouts, cooked with garlic and shallot.
“Amy makes the best Brussels sprouts; when you taste it, it’s just wow,” Guillas said. DiBiase added that many guests have requested her recipe, which has changed the mind of a few who previously disliked that vegetable. “They’re cooked quickly, unlike the usual mushy kind people are used to eating,” said DiBiase, who does not cook the whole sprout, but uses shavings and cuts them by hand.
The lunch menu includes salads, sandwiches, burgers and wraps, along with five entree choices, like a gourmet macaroni and cheese — Humboldt Fog Macaroni Gratin (with orecchiette and garlic-herb crumb) — which some customers find big enough to share.
Even with a new menu, the neighborhood restaurant has kept a popular sandwich named after a La Jolla Shores resident and longtime restaurant patron: Judge Harelson’s Tuna Salad Sandwich (with Boston lettuce, apples and walnuts on wheat bread). “So many people love it; that’s one of the items we could never get rid of,” Guillas said.For the holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day buffets will be served.
The Shores Restaurant
• Address: 8110 Camino Del Oro
• Phone: (619) 236-0467
• Website: www.theshoresrestaurant.com
• The Vibe: Scenic, casually elegant, comfortable
• Signature Dishes: Crispy Skin Salmon, Steamed Carlsbad Black Mussels, Parsley Leek Crusted Butterfish, 1855 Angus New York Steak and Filet Mignon,
• Reservations: Yes
• Patio Seating: Yes
• Take Out: No
• Happy Hour: 4-6 p.m. Monday-Friday
• Breakfast: 7-11:30 a.m. Daily
• Lunch: 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday
• Dinner: 5-10 p.m. Daily
• Bar: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Daily
• Sunday Brunch: 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
On The Menu Recipe
Each week you’ll find a recipe from the featured restaurant online at lajollalight.com. Just click Get The Recipe at the bottom of the story. This week: The Shores’ Barbecued Short Rib with Stuffed Portobello Mushroom
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