Gourmet Artisan is a prime example of me coming up with a pre-formulated notion about a restaurant and then having them prove me completely wrong. While I have a pretty good radar based on years of experience and research applied deciding if I am going to check out a place it, as I am about to admit, it is not fool-proof.
Gourmet Artisan is one of those places whose exterior does a great job of masking the calibre of the food served within. unassuming, it does not stand out amongst the surrounding store fronts or display the offbeat character hinting at the potential of a hole-in-the-wall hidden gem.
Gourmet Artisan ~ 409 Mission Ave. Oceanside. ( Downtown Oceanside in the Regal theater plaza.)
Nice simple interior.
The Menu ~ A nice range of sandwiches, salads, pastas, flat breads, pastries and smoothies. Due to the breadth of the menu, its location, adjacent to the theater and the beach, it is a perfect place for family outings or groups, as everyone should be able to find something that suits their tastes. What sets Gourmet Artisan apart from the other surrounding food options near by, is the quality of the ingredients they use and the fact they have a Chef constructing and executing the menu.
“It’s a restaurant of course they have a Chef”. No, there are plenty of restaurants, some a stone throws a way, that while they may have cooks, and may have very talented ones, they do not have a chef. It is even more rare in a fast casual setting.
“Owner’s Favorite” Sandwich ~ Prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, marinated artichokes, confit tomatoes, fresh basil, and olive oil with a side salad.
I ordered this on my first visit and it is what brought me back for my second. The bread is delivered fresh daily from (funnily enough) Gourmet Artisan Bakery in Mira Mar (no relation) and is wonderful. The chibata had a crisp and flakey crust with a soft interior that is found in truly well crafted fresh bread. All the ingredients in the sandwich were of the highest quality, from the fresh mozzarella to the olive oil. It was a joy to eat.
Chicken Marsala with rice.
After my first visit, having realized the error of my ways, I went back a second time to try more food and write an article. Originally, I was going top go with another one of their great sandwiches or a salad but the owner steered me to a new dish the chef had just added to the menu and was quite happy with.
It’s been a while since I have had Chicken Marsala but this is easily one of the best examples I have had of the dish. The rice, chicken and mushrooms were perfectly cooked but the sauce was the real star. The sauce had a great depth of flavor, a silky texture, and just enough acidity from the wine without being boozy. It left me satisfied without being too full, which was great because I was surprised with a crepe for dessert.
Crepe ~ Chocolate, fresh berries, ice cream, and whipped cream.
Though not a sweets person normally, I enjoyed the crepe and ice cream.
Gourmet Artisan is owned and operated by Adrien Cotto and his wife with the kitchen being helmed by Chef Andrew Pinzon. It is definitely worth checking out and will be added to my normal downtown rotation.
409 Mission Ave. Oceanside
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