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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Stonehill Tavern - St. Regis Resort, Monarch Beach

Stonehill Tavern
1 Monarch Beach Resort
Dana Point, CA 92629
Tel: 949.234.3318

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

Raspberry Curd

The menu included a variety of artfully presented delights. My two favorites for the evening would have to be the Grimaud Farms Duck and the Lobster Pot Pie. All of the above dishes are available in a larger entree size. I am told that if you order the entree size Lobster Pot Pie, it comes in a large copper kettle with an entire lobster inside. S's favorite dish of the night was the halibut.

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.
Stonehill Tavern on Urbanspoon


skyler said...

That ahi looks awesome. I also want some of that halibut right now!!

Kensington M. said...

Hey Griffin... I was reading back through several of your posts (yes, I know how to read!), and I just wanted to tell you that your reviews are awesome. I like your writing style and the pics help show exactly what deliciousness is out there in the world... =) I miss you... hope to see you sometime soon!

Anne Nunes said...

I'm craving just by looking at your pictures. They look like they came from an exclusive catering team for your party. Lovely!