I had the pleasure tonight of getting a sneak peek at masters kitchen and Spirits in Oceanside. I brought someone I respect along so I had a good sounding board. We both walked away very impressed, afterword I was talking to a very highly regarded North County Chef about tonight. I came away with two quotes from that conversation that sum it up. Mine was “This is good for Oceanside “ his “Oceanside is something to be proud of”.
I have been covering Masters for a while; I had my doubts at first..it was a very ambitious project. Everything is lined up for them to pull it off.
Here are shots of the finished interior…or the calm before the storm.
The finished bar.
Bar seating area.
Staff tasting. This was good to see. You would think every restaurant would do this…the good ones do.
The smart thing they are doing is focusing on a cocktail program. First it makes them stand out in the area market, second it fits their vision. When they open they will have 5 classic cocktails and 5 craft cocktails designed by their bar manager that will change with the season.
Rosemary lemonade ~ Tanqueray gin, fresh lemon juice, rosemary, St. Germain.
Basil Lemon drop ~ Citron vodka, fresh lemon juice, basil, splash of lemon syrup.
Cucumber Martini ~ Crop cucumber vodka, muddled cucumber, fresh lemon juice, Slash of lemon syrup.
Now we begin.
Chef Chris Gallo running the kitchen.
Amuse ~ Chilled cucumber soup.
Note ~ Great light way to start the meal. It was light and clean but still had a body to it.
Kale ~ Ghost pepper salami, crispy chickpeas, roasted fennel, spiced sultanas.
Note ~ Do not be put off by the ghost peppers, their presence was very mild. What did I think of the dish?
Caesar ~ Organic Romain, focaccia croutons, shaved pecorino.
Note ~ Solid rendition of a classic.
Roasted Bone Marrow ~ Melted shallot, herb salad, Sicilian sea salt bread.
Note ~ Just had a version of this dish at Sea & Smoke in Del Mar…this one edged it out.
Shrimp & Leek Crispy Dumplings ~ Lemongrass aioli, Kim-chi puree, cilantro oil.
Note ~ Very well-balanced dish, you could taste every element. I only got a taste because my friend devoured them.
Pan roasted Rib Eye ~ Pickled summer squash, smashed Creamer potatoes, balsamic.
Note ~ Only fault of the night..ordered rare and delivered medium. Staff handled everything perfectly. I still demolished the dish..no way I’m sending a still delicious steak.
White Sea Bass ~ cannelli bean relish, Melted eggplant.
Note ~ I know broken record; another great dish.
Signature Candy Bar ~ Milk chocolate and hazelnut mousse on a praline chocolate crunch bar.
Note ~ This is a recipe from the owner Ryan Masters. It is really good.
Gelato Special ~ Avacado gelato, Mexican chocolate ganache macaroon, chili spiced peanuts.
Note ~ This has my name written all over it…I love this kind of stuff…it challenges you and brings you back for more.
A special shout out to the pastry Chef Beau Bonham. One of the most creative chefs I know …who will change the way you think about desserts.
Masters is set to open Friday the 18th. I always give restaurants 3 months to find their “feet” but I have no doubt they will be a go to place in North County. They have set themselves up for success now they just have to get through the stress of opening.