Ranch & Coast Magazine

November 2022

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Page 47 of 91

San Diego's foodie community expelled a collective gasp last summer when Guillas announced he was turning in his apron to devote more time to his wife and newborn son. e thought of e Marine Room without its longtime capitaine was hard for fans to fathom. Surely it was every bit as difficult to envision, if not more so, for those tasked with replacing Guillas. In doing so, LJBTC brass promoted from within, elevating recently hired chef Mike Minor to fill their vacancy. Prior to moving to San Diego, Minor spent 30 years working in Las Vegas, 13 of them as the executive chef at the Mandalay Bay rendition of celebrity chefs Mary Sue Milliken's and Susan Feniger's acclaimed Border Grill. at time in Sin City, a haven for experiential diners in search of extravagance at any cost, helped prepare Minor for a key part of his new position, composing an over-the-top bill of fare for the recently unveiled "Lounge at e Marine Room" concept. Installed in the restaurant's centerpiece bar, which boasts floor-to-ceiling ocean views and has been outfitted in matching aquatic shades as part of a recent remodel, the Lounge is meant to provide an intimate, engaging dining experience, the likes of which one might find on, say, e Strip. Every facet of this Vegas show, from ornate and creative dishes comingling exotic and premium ingredients to cocktails combining top-of-the-line spirits, is chef- driven. While "worldly" best described Guillas' cuisine, "luxurious" is the adjective most applicable to Minor's small bites Lounge fare. Like his predecessor, Minor's menu primarily revolves around local and sustainably sourced seafood, the quality of which shines through in a variety of raw preparations. e essence of yuzu cuts through luscious mounds of Ora king salmon belly in a trio of amuse-sized, omas Keller-esque cones. A 14-to-20-day dry-aging period gives bluefin tuna enhanced flavor and a texture akin to a rare steak. Served as carpaccio with fragrant white truffle and faux ultramarine coral, it's a treat for the eyes and taste buds. at protein reappears as the filling of an edible "cigar" with its business end dusted in harissa spice. e playful illusion is served in a round crystalline ashtray so diners can snub their sushi-grade stogie into a mixture of charred onion and seasoned breadcrumbs, adding smolder and citric tang to the equation. e most substantial and eye-catching of the Lounge's menu items is Surf & Turf. Served on a custom, vertically arranged tray lending a certain seafood tower allure, it includes three plump Hokkaido scallops and three hunks of Kurobuta pork belly, all of which are topped with caviar and a bacon- espresso "jam." It's surf and turf topped with surf and turf for a tasty saline duality. Indulge dining << Chef de Cuisine Alex Pailles and Executive Chef Mike Minor @ranchandcoast ranchandcoast.com 48 NOVEMBER 2022 RANCH & COAST MAGAZINE

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