So, a lot of times Hotel restaurants get a bad wrap as mediocre or bland. I was recently invited to taste the new menu by Chef Teri McIllwain at Chandlers’s Restaurant located in The Cape Rey Resort at 1 Ponto rd. in Carlsbad. I had my chef friend Christine Loyola of Petite Madeline tag along as a sounding board.
First off the restaurant and resort itself are gorgeous. The restaurant has a modern clean feel, elegant but not stuffy and boasts a large open kitchen.
There are some nice touches , like the glass encased wine room that is set up to do small tastings and cheese pairings.
The view is not bad either.
What Chef McIllwain has done is create a modern and clean menu. Utilizing local produce while providing some interesting twists.
What we had….
Capeside Poke ~ Sushi grade ahi, rainbow quinoa, Thai chili aioli, cucumber,marinated seaweed, lime,and ponzu.
Poke is all the rage right now and this was as good of an example as it gets. The addition of the quinoa was a nice twist.
Beet and Citrus Salad ~ Grapefruit, orange, blue cheese, ricotta, pumpkin seeds, blood orange vinaigrette.
This was phenomenal. Both Chef Christine and myself were blown away by this dish.
Sesame Ahi Spinach Salad ~ Watermelon radish, citrus, cucumber, seaweed, wasabi peas, pancetta crouton, yogurt wasabi, sesame vinaigrette.
Great salad with a huge portion of perfectly cooked Ahi.
Texas Quail Knots ~ Buttermilk brine, cayenne honey glaze, blue cheese creme fraiche, celery and carrot slaw.
I had just come back from Valle De Guadalupe in Baja and eaten at Deckmans’En El Mogor, one of the best restaurants I have ever had the pleasure of eating at and had quail cooked on their outside grill. The version by Chef McIllwain stood up, which was pretty impressive.
Deckman’s ~ photo by wabisabigreen.com
Lobster and Shrimp Tacos ~ Chipotle slaw, salsa, sour cream, Cotija cheese, cilantro, guacamole, and lime.
Normally when you get a lobster anything you get a little bit of lobster…not in these. These were huge. I did not share these they were all mine:)
(Left to Right ) Chefs Christine Loyola and Teri McIllwain and part of me purposely edited out.
A little about Chef McIllwain: Prior to joining Cape Rey, McIllwain served as chef de cuisine at Omni La Costa Resort and Spa working in nearly all of the resort’s culinary outlets including Diversions Sport Lounge, Bluefire Grill, Catering and Banquets. While at La Costa, she also served as a nutritional chef for the onsite, wellness-focused Premier Fitness Camp and Chopra Center. McIllwain attended the San Diego Culinary Institute after entering the field as a private chef and Bon Appetit culinary instructor for Sur La Table stores in San Diego.
Chandlers is a great restaurant with a very talented Chef. I would recommend Brunch or Lunch only because of the views and location. It is not inexpensive but they are using the best produce available and the portions and quality of the food justify it.
Cape Rey Resort
1 Ponto rd. in Carlsbad