Disclaimer: The photos in this post were taken with an old iPhone under harsh lighting conditions.
The vastness of the dark ocean draws me away. I stare out the window, mesmerized, but only for a moment. A small wave slaps the window and I’m snapped back to the reality of choosing my first course. While I was lost in the ocean my dining companion was lost in the thirty-three-page wine list. An impromptu trip from Laguna Beach brought us to The Marine Room in La Jolla (and found me in a new dress). The Marine Room sits on the beach so that each diner with a window seat enjoys the soothing sounds of waves lapping the windows every few minutes. The huge windows provide a nice view from any seat in the house.
After choosing our wine for the evening we dive into the menu, chat with our server, consider his recommendations and make up our minds, mouths slightly salivating as we guess how the Mushroom Torte will really taste. Mushrooms are one of my favorite foods and if they’re on a menu that usually ends up being my selection. It was an interesting dish at the first bite. I wasn’t sure if wanted more, then I took a second bite and devoured the entire thing. The earthy combination of three different mushrooms with the savory tang of bleu and goat cheese played across my palate and had me craving more. Lucky for me, I knew one of the chefs so I was given the recipe to recreate on my own at home.
Rack of Lamb and Elk Loin were our entrees. They were presented nicely and cooked perfectly. The lamb had a pistachio crust and a fig compote to balance nicely. The elk came with a tart cherry jam and cacao nib port gastrique which were the stars of the dish. Both entrees were cooked well and satisfying, but were also the least exciting portion of the meal.
What came next was the most exciting part for me. As I mentioned before, I knew one of the chefs. So instead of choosing dessert we were presented with a platter containing each dessert item on the menu, plus a new item that was being tested. If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time then you know that I love dessert. My dining companion probably had only a taste of each item because I’m pretty sure I ate all the dessert on my own.
Chocolate pot de creme, vanilla pot de creme, panna cotta, chocolate mousse cake, and tropical fruit cheesecake. Pot de creme is exactly what the name implies: a pot of cream. Well, there are other ingredients mixed in as well, but basically pot de creme is a decadent custard dessert. Heavier than creme brûlée and without the sugar topping. Panna Cotta is the Italian answer to creme brûlée. Again without the sugar topping, and is often topped with fresh fruit. Chocolate mousse cake. Need I say more? I favored every last bit of this little square of heaven. It was difficult to share. The tropical fruit cheesecake was a bright pink spectacle. It was the only tart dessert on the plate. It was a nice contrast to the other rich items we sampled.
The Marine Room is a lovely restaurant with a spectacular view. The menu wasn’t the best I’ve ever had, but the chefs know what they’re doing. I would come again for a special occasion if I happen to be in the area.