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 its picturesque location at La Jolla Shores Hotel.
Though located inside La Jolla Shores’ Spanish-style hotel, open since 1970, the 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 new dishes brings out the flavor of the ingredients, said Guillas and DiBiase, who both have a love for farmers markets and keep 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 that changes every month, and it has been so well received,” Guillas said.
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 overly 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, and Natural Beef Carpaccio.
For entrees, some of the most popular items are Parsley Leek Crusted Butterfish, Aromatic Vegetable and Fish Stew, 1855 Angus New York Steak or Filet Mignon, and Oil Cured Black Olive Braised Lamb Shank.