Out of the Way – Pacific’s Edge – Carmel, California
Some restaurants are so fortuitously sited that the wisest thing that a chef can do is to stand out of the way, not blocking the diner’s line of sight. This is the challenge of Chef Matt Bolton at Pacific’s Edge.
The Pacific’s Edge restaurant, located in the Hyatt Highlands Resort in Carmel-by-the-Sea, has an astonishing view. It was named as one of the ten best restaurants with a view by USA Today in 2006. The award is deserved. Looking out over, yes, the Pacific, the restaurant remind us just how fortunately those living on the coasts can be, and with its high perch even a tsunami would not diminish the romance of dining. All tables have a view of the Pacific, but some are nestled up against the windows, awarded on a first-come/first-served basis. We were grateful to have been informed of this policy, allowing us to snag a 6:00 p.m. reservation and a window view. The sunset was not as glorious as some, but was superb none-the-less.
Pacific’s Edge serves well-prepared, if somewhat conventional, modern cuisine. A four-course “tasting menu” ($99/person) is not overly adventurous, but is quite successful, never failing to please.
We began with an Asparagus Vichyssoise with a luscious Truffle Pecorino Grilled Cheese petit-four, crispy spring onions, and prosciutto de parma. While the soup was delightful, the two-bite sandwich was ideal.
The Wild King Salmon with Olive Oil Poached Artichoke, Oven Roasted Tomato, and Chanterelle was a pleasant, properly cooked piece of fish, if a bit minimalist.
Our main course was a well-conceived, evocative Pan-Seared Breast of Sonoma Duck with a five-spice pastilla (fried duck confit basket), English Peas and Shoots, and Duck Jus. The pastilla was unfortunately greasy, but the rest of the dish was sturdy and warmly evocative of a California April.
Dessert was a Meyer Lemon Semolina Cake with Pine Nut Sable and a sparkling Raspberry-Rosemary Sorbet. While this was not an elaborate creation, it was creatively presented and flawless.
It is perhaps unfair to note that the food at Pacific’s Edge is not among California’s best. That may be true, but it doesn’t mean that the evening isn’t as pleasing as any. Pacific’s Edge is a restaurant to see and to sea.
Hyatt Highlands Inn
120 Highlands Drive
travel: up high… (new york; 2017)
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