Farm-to-table freshness at West Steak & Seafood in Carlsbad
By Kelley Carlson
From locally-grown ingredients to globally-inspired cooking techniques, West Steak & Seafood aims to offer the best of both worlds through its cuisine. Owned by Gary and Mary West of Rancho Santa Fe, the restaurant provides a farm-to-table experience with produce selected daily by Executive Chef Eugenio Martignago from his nearby three-acre property.
“Food sources, freshness and destination farming are becoming more important to people,” Martignago said in a news release. “Increasingly, guests are asking more questions about local sourcing to determine its quality and freshness.”
West Farm — less than 4 miles away — flourishes with edibles such as heirloom tomatoes, zucchinis and bell peppers, and is nurturing trees that will eventually boast peaches, apples, oranges and other fruits.
With such produce on hand, Martignago and Chef de Cuisine David DiSalvo are constantly concocting new dishes and keeping up with the latest cooking trends from chefs in Los Angeles, New York and other culinary capitals.
Martignago’s style blends traditional Italian and French influences from his days growing up on a farm in Italy. DiSalvo, a graduate of The French Culinary Institute in New York City, has a more contemporary approach. “Together, we make a pretty good match,” Martignago said. And the duo collaborates to offer a sizable menu for West guests.
Customers can get a taste of the restaurant’s seafood selection through the Sea Bass Ceviche, Ahi Poke, Salmon Tartare appetizer, which is served with toast points, wasabi aioli, pickled ginger and mini-vegetable crudités. Or there’s the unique Uni Tagliolini and Caviar, which features buttery house-made pasta served in a spiky sea-urchin shell. The entrees run the gamut, from the vegetarian English Pea and Carrot Ravioli to Skuna Bay Salmon and Wagyu beef imported from locations such as Japan and Australia.
One popular combination is the Filet and Maine Lobster: eight ounces of a broiled Angus-beef tenderloin in a port balsamic demi-glace and a butter-poached, six-ounce Maine lobster tail in beurre blanc. The dish is presented with sides of sweet potato au gratin, French beans, baby carrots and cipollini agrodolce.
If everything sounds delicious and it’s difficult to make a decision, a three-course sampling menu is available each evening, which consists of the chefs’ favorites.
Those who are adventurous can opt for “A Night With Chef,” a six- to seven-course meal of chops, steak, fish and pasta, created around freshly picked ingredients from West Farm. Martignago presides over the Tuesday menu, while DiSalvo selects the Thursday dishes — each incorporates his own cooking style and personality into the fare. To participate in “A Night With Chef,” 72-hours notice is required and it must be prepaid.
Another special menu at West Steak and Seafood is the slow-cooked Sunday Supper. Guests begin the meal with either Corn Chowder with crispy bacon, cheddar cheese and fresh basil; or the West Mixed Greens Salad with roasted tomatoes, Gorgonzola cheese, balsamic vinaigrette and tossed with caramelized walnuts. For the entree, there’s an herb-crusted Prime Rib garnished with au jus and horseradish cream, or Petite Filet Mignon, charbroiled to one’s preferences. And patrons can select two sides: creamed spinach, portabella fig balsamic mushrooms, mashed potatoes, creamed corn, mac & cheese, ratatouille or truffle french fries.
“Growing up in northern Italy, it was a family tradition to gather and enjoy a meal that had been slowly cooked all day,” Martignago said. “I wanted to re-create that experience for our guests and continue the tradition.” The cost of Sunday Supper is $36 per person.
In addition, West Steak and Seafood hosts wine dinners about four times annually; the next featured winery will be Cakebread Cellars on Sept. 24.
All of these dining experiences are held in an elegant setting. Reddish-orange lights cast a soft glow from wooden beams high above, and candles flicker on tables draped in white cloth. Lights that emphasize the stained glass windows slowly change color — deep shades of pink and purple, reds and blues — the intimate booths are lit by blue fiber-optic lighting panels.
West Steak & Seafood
Address: 4980 Avenida Encinas, Carlsbad
Phone: (760) 930-9100
The Vibe: Upscale, business casual, intimate
Signature Dishes: Ahi Tartare, Seared Jumbo Sea Scallops
Open Since: 2005
Patio Seating: No
Happy Hour: 4:30-6:30 p.m. daily
Hours: 4:30-10 p.m. daily
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: West Steak and Seafood’s Heirloom Tomato Carpaccio with Hamachi
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