1 Monarch Beach Resort
Dana Point, CA 92629
Last week I was lucky enough to be invited down to Michael Mina's restaurant, Stonehill Tavern at the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort, to try the new tasting menu. I know that sometimes I review fast food joints on this blog. Well, Stonehill Tavern would be as opposite of a fast food joint that you can get. This restaurant is the epitome of fine dining. The food and service at this establishment are truly first-class.
The evening started out on the gorgeous balcony with the Seasonal Shellfish Platter ($29pp). This item is not usually included with the tasting menu. We were also given a couple of Stonehill Tavern's signature cocktails to try, the Violet Turning Violet and the Moscow Mule.
The platter consisted of some of the freshest shellfish from the sea served in a variety of imaginative ways. On the shellfish platter were (from left to right) a kumamoto oyster, giant clam ceviche, marinated abalone sashimi, spot prawn cocktail, dungeness crab leg and uni flan.
Next, we were moved inside to start the tasting menu. The tasting menu is $148 per person. You can add a wine pairing to each course for an extra $95 or a pairing of alternate alcoholic beverages (think cocktails, sake and more) for $65 per person. Below are the courses that we sampled (Selections may vary).
Ahi Tuna Tartar (image courtesy of Stonehill Tavern)
Smoked Salmon with Cucumber Dill Yogurt Sauce and Pumpernickel Toast
"Three Eggs" Layers of Uni Custard, Scrambled Chicken Egg and Wasabi Tobiko Caviar
Dry-Boat Halibut with Asparagus, Green Almonds, Ramps and Pancetta
Lobster Pot Pie
Grimaud Farms Duck with Black Barley and Baby Turnips
Wagyu Striploin with Porcini, Broccoli and Bone Marrow
Melted Camembert on House-Made Brioche with Rhubarb Confiture
Overall, I know this restaurant may be out of price-range for a lot of you. If you can swing it though, you are in for a real treat. I have been to many fine dining restaurants in my life and Stonehill Tavern has some of the finest service of any restaurant I have been to. The attention to detail and the presentation that the chef puts into each dish makes each plate a feast for both the eyes and your stomach. The next time you are looking for a fine dining restaurant, make sure that Stonehill Tavern is on your list of considerations.