Marine Room is brightest jewel in La Jolla’s crown

With its majestic oceanfront views, world-class chef, and comfortable dining rooms, The Marine Room is one of the brightest jewels in La Jolla’s crown.

You just can’t get any closer to the surf than the windows of The Marine Room. In fact, waves pound the heavily-reinforced windows during major storms, and even during monthly high tides, you’ll be just inches from the sea as you dine. By the way, you can enjoy these dramatic surf shows during Summer High Tide Dinners on July 12 to 14 and Aug. 10 to 11.

But the views are just one part of the spectacular dining experience in store for you at this local landmark. Chef Bernard Guillas presides over the exceptional kitchen, which whips up gourmet treasures the likes of caviar on ice with buckwheat blinis, a trilogy of elk, antelope and venison, and abalone mushroom crusted organic salmon.

The dinner menu abounds with enticing and unique preparations, and the award-winning wine list is outstanding. It features a litany of selections in every category from champagne and chardonnay to port and other after-dinner wines. The wine menu itself is 25 pages long.

How appropriate to have so many fine wines, when the culinary selections are so exciting. This time of year, the appetizer list includes The Marine Room’s signature Maine lobster bisque ($16), a heavenly soup with enokis, pancetta and yuzu cream, Wattleseed rubbed ostrich fan filet ($19), seasonal forest mushrooms ($16), a marvelous mix enhanced by 20-year-old Royal Ambrosante sherry, and pomegranate ginger scented Baja prawns with eggplant jam, parsley tabouleh and harissa ($16).

Those are just a few of the mouthwatering offerings on the starter section. If you prefer a salad this time of year, you would do well to consider the Blue Heron Farm Magenta-Mache salad ($14). This wonderful salad features vintage Hollander gouda, sage ciabatta crisp and huckleberry banyul syrup. Who else could conceive of such a fabulous combination of flavors and textures?

Another hands-down favorite on The Marine Room menu is the Red Wood Hill goat cheese brulee with organic greens, malted fig marmalade and pecan tuille ($15). This unique salad boasts a tupelo verjus vinaigrette.

If you think it’s tough to narrow down an appetizer at The Marine Room, wait until you check out the entree menu. Seafood is a special forte of the restaurant, and along with the abalone mushroom crusted organic salmon and crimson fingerlings ($31), you’ll find sesame peppered ruby red ahi tuna with Thai rice ($36), Galangal Kalbi glazed pompano with Asian crab risotto ($34), fennel pollen dukkah coated Alaskan halibut ($35) and an Australian lobster tail basted with lemon verbena butter and served with barley timbale ($52). Talk about unique preparations, The Marine Room even puts its special stamp on old classics.

Meat lovers can dig into an Old Vine Zinfandel glazed Midwestern Black Angus filet, served with pickled red onions, portabellini and valdeon blue ($39) or savor perfectly cooked Fleur de Sel rubbed free range veal tenderloin ($36). The veal is accompanied by an irresistible savory corn cake, lady apple fritter and morels. If you love veal, this is the dish for you.

Rack of lamb ($39) gets paired with savory mascarpone bread pudding on this menu. The lamb is seasoned with violet honey mustard, pistachios and white sage. Chicken breast gets royal treatment with walnut suneli ($27). This tasty dish is served with bamboo rice, kumquat preserve and yellow wax beans. An aromatic Vya Vermouth puts the finishing touches on the dish.

The Chefs Table Menu ($125 for food only, or $175 paired with wines) is a great way to feast at The Marine Room. You can select from three different appetizers, including lobster cappuccino and spinach wrapped Pacific oysters. The entree and dessert choices are excellent as well.

Some restaurants have everything: internationally-acclaimed cuisine, impeccable service and a sophisticated decor that is also inviting and comfortable. The Marine Room is one of the greats, and we have it right here in this seaside community. There’s valet parking right outside the door.

The Marine Room is at 2000 Spindrift Drive. Call (858) 459-7222.