Top Choice Fish Market & Eatery ~ Carlsbad

Top Choice Fish Market & Eatery has opened recently at 6118 Paseo Del Norte in Carlsbad. Located next to Tip Top Meats the Top Choice Fish shares the same owners as the famous butcher shop and German market.

sign (1 of 1)

The interior is simple and clean as one would expect from a fish market. It is divided into two sides. The retail market and the eatery.

eatery (1 of 1)

The eatery.

case (1 of 1)

The fish case.

The quality of ingredients is apparent. Perfect flesh and also perfect butchery. All fish are provided by San Diego’s very own Catalina Offshore Products.

They also have a selection of whole fish. Every fish I saw head the clearest eyes.

fish (1 of 1)

The one at the bottom of the middle row looks pissed.

In addition they carry shellfish as well as a freezer case of other items like fish heads.

Taking a note from the butchery next store Top Choice Fish offers consumers the opportunity to buy 8oz cuts of fish and have it cooked and paired with two sides for cost of purchase plus $5. This what I came here for.

opah (1 of 1)

I selected a beautiful piece of Opah for my lunch.

opah plate (1 of 1)

Opah, grilled medium rare with coleslaw, Spanish rice, and a small salad

opah rare (1 of 1)

Perfect medium rare, as asked for.

They offer a number of cooking styles and bastes. You could have Salmon fried fish and chips if so desired. In addition a selection of seafood gumbos, and chowders are also able to be purchased.

The prices vary by choice of fish but my Opah plate came to about $15. I was happy with that. The quality of product and cooking would stand up to any restaurant kitchen worth their weight. The sides were a let down, not bad just OK. Because it is a market there is no sales tax on most items.

The fishmongers were on point but the staff, though nice, was still a little bit green. I noticed a few order mistakes, which were quickly and appropriately handled. All in all a great lunch.

There is now North County access to the same great seafood products used by San Diego’s best Chefs. Now just because you have a paint brush does not mean you are gonna be Picasso, but at least now you have a really good paint brush.

images

I drew a Opah.

Top Choice Fish Market & Eatery

6118 Paseo Del Norte, Carlsbad

#food #seafood #foodporn # fishmarket #restaurant

.

 

 

Easter Sunday Dining Options Around San Diego

Some great Easter dining options around the Greater San Diego area.

Lakehouse Hotel & Resort & Decoy Dockside Dining            

1025 La Bonita Drive

San Marcos, CA 92078

(760) 744-0120

http://www.lakehousehotelandresort.com/

Dining dockside on Easter makes for a true southern California spring holiday. Enjoy an Easter Sunday brunch buffet on April 16 with sweet and savory breakfast favorites, a chilled seafood display, hand-carved meats and a decadent dessert bar, all beginning at 9:00 a.m. The little ones can take part in free Easter egg hunts, taking place at 10:30 a.m. and at 1:30 p.m. Brunch-goers will listen to live music performances from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. for a truly relaxing holiday. The cost to attend is $60 for adults, which includes free-flowing sparkling wine, and $19 for children 12 and under. To reserve your spot, call (760) 744-0120. Be on the lookout for a special appearance by the Easter Bunny!

Photo Below: Decoy Dockside Dining

image008

 

TRUST

3752 Park Boulevard

San Diego, CA 92103

(619) 795-6901

www.trustrestaurantsd.com

Nestled in the neighborhood of Hillcrest, chic eatery TRUST is taking Easter brunch to the next level this year. Soak in the sunshine on the restaurant’s patio while indulging in the Lemon Meringue French Toast, a mountain of Brioche bread topped with vanilla Ricotta, toasted almonds, lemon curd, graham crackers and blueberry. Let the bartenders at TRUST work their mixology magic by making the perfect brunch beverage to pair with your meal. Brunch is served on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. For additional information and reservations, call (619) 795-6901.

 

Photo Below: TRUST’s Lemon Meringue French Toast

 

image09

 

 

The Westgate Hotel

1055 2nd Avenue

San Diego, CA 92101

(619) 238-1818

www.westgatehotel.com

The Westgate Hotel invites locals and weekend visitors alike to join in Easter Sunday festivities! The hotel will feature Easter-themed afternoon teas and a festive Easter Champagne brunch where a cotton-tailed guest is scheduled to hop in and say hello.

Easter Bunny Teas: Enjoy a European-style afternoon tea, featuring kid-friendly petit fours and mini pastries, along with an Easter egg hunt and magic show on the Riviera Terrace. Families can meet the Easter Bunny beginning at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, April 14 and Saturday, April 15. The price is $50 for adults and $35 for children 12 and under, plus tax and gratuity.

Champagne Brunch: On Sunday, April 16, experience The Westgate’s traditional Easter Champagne Brunch, complete with fresh seafood, made-to-order omelets, carving stations and a children’s section. Little ones will be entertained by a face painting artist and a visit from the Easter Bunny. Brunch will be served from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The price is $89 for adults and $35 for children 12 and under, plus tax and gratuity.

Reserve online today! http://www.westgatehotel.com/events-promotions/special-events/easter-celebrations

Photo Below: Easter Bunny with kids

image010

Parc Bistro-Brasserie

2760 5th Ave.

San Diego CA 92103

(619) 319-9472

http://www.parcbb.com/

Enjoy a lovely Easter Sunday brunch at Parc Bistro-Brasserie in the heart of Banker’s Hill. With classic French dishes ranging from sweet and savory crepes to steak, seafood towers, and more, there’s something to satisfy everyone at the table. Brunch offerings also include specialty cocktails and $13 bottomless mimosas. View the brunch menu by visiting www.parcbb.com or call (619) 319-9472 to make a reservation.

Photo Below: Parc’s Seafood Tower

image011

 

Monello

750 West Fir St.

San Diego, CA 92101

(619) 501-0030

https://www.lovemonello.com/

Make Milanese cuisine part of your Easter celebration this year at Monello. On Saturday, April 15 and Sunday, April 16, Monello is showcasing an “egg”-stravagant selection of dishes for their crowd-favorite brunch including Eggs Benedict con Agnello e Spinaci or lamb eggs benedict and spinach. They will also serve a special Lamb Pizza made with cheese, mushroom and spinach. Top these delicious dishes off with the perfect cocktail from their new brunch drink menu including mimosa carafes with your choice of juice or a Caprese Bloody Mary made with vodka, in-hour tomato juice and topped with a fresh mozzarella Caprese skewer. To make reservations, please call (619) 501-0030 or reserve a spot via OpenTable.

Photo Below: Monello’s New Brunch Cocktails

image012

Bencotto

750 W Fir St #103

San Diego, CA 92101

(619) 450-4786

https://www.lovebencotto.com/

 

The chefs at Bencotto Italian Kitchen, right next door to Monello, will also be serving up a few specials to celebrate Easter this year. Lunch and dinner specials on Saturday, April 15 and Sunday, April 16 will include Lasagna Agnello + Porcini e Fontina, homemade lamb lasagna with mushroom and porcini, and Stinco de Agnello con Patate Arrosto al Tartufo, lamb shank and roasted truffle potatoes. Bencotto is open for lunch and dinner every Saturday and Sunday beginning at 11:30 a.m. Reservations are recommended and can be made online or by calling (619) 450-4786.   

 

Photo Below: Bencotto’s upstairs dining area

 

image013

Giuseppe Fine Restaurants & Catering

700 Prospect Ave.

San Diego, CA 92037

(858) 581-2205

www.grnfc.com

Don’t feel like going out for Easter brunch this year? Giuseppe Catering’s Pronto Delivery program allows you to forget about the stress and cleanup that comes along with hosting, so you can sit back and enjoy your get-together, guests, and an exceptional meal. For formal or large-scale events, the Fine Catering team will be there every step of the way to make sure your event is unforgettable—in the best way. Find full menu details and catering options at www.grnfc.com or call (858) 581-2205 to learn more.

Photo Below: Giuseppe Catering Deviled Eggs

image028

Have a great Easter! North County options coming shortly.

#food # restaurants #easter #brunch #easterbrunch #sandiego

Wicked Poke ~ oceanside

So, my older brother was down from Olympia Washington to handle some house selling matters for the estate. While here I kind of gave him a tour of the food scene in Oceanside and mentioned Poke and its recent proliferation in North County and San Diego.

Apparently the Poke wave has not crashed in Olympia yet, I’m sure Seattle has seen its share with their abundance of seafood.

So, I used the opportunity to check out a new place called Wicked Poke in Oceanside. Based on word of mouth and some research I was pretty sure of the quality and giving him a good experience. Plus I get a post out of it:)

20170124_124513_6_bestshot

Wicked Poke ~ 2401 Vista Way E, Oceanside

20170124_124539

Located in the center next to the huge LA Fitness (used to be Mervyn’s), Wicked Poke is a fast casual, build your own, Poke concept. Similar to Poki Poki if you are familiar with them. There will be a rant at the end about Poke vs Poki and trolls.

You can get a regular or large bowl. The regular is $8.99 and comes with three scoops of protein, the large is $10.99 and includes 5 scoops. You pick a base of salad, white rice, brown rice, or a mix. Your protein choices include salmon, tuna, spicy tuna, scallop, octopus and tofu. Then you pick through a myriad of topping and sauce choices. I liked that there was no additional charge for crab (probably Krab) or avocado.

20170124_125317_2_bestshot

Medium Poke Bowl ~ 2 scoops salmon, 1 scoop tuna, white rice, avocado, crab, ginger, seaweed, green onions, sesame seeds, masago, sesame oil, and house spicy sauce. You also get a free cup of Miso soup which is nice.

Everything was really good. The proteins were fresh and flavorful and I liked that the sesame and house sauce were not over powering. My brother liked his as well. He is a foodie (the one who got me into food actually) and understood the concept before going in. I’m sure a Poke place will make it into Olympia’s food offerings soon.

I would rank this slightly better than Poki Poki but it’s really “6 in 1 or half a dozen in the other” it’s so close. I would just put it down to what was ordered and personal preference.

If you love poke I would suggest Yoshino in Carlsbad (get there early they sellout and cash only) and The Lanai in Encinitas (more expensive but great ingredients and Chef driven, in the old Haggo’s taco spot).

Wicked Poke

2401 Vista Way E., Oceanside

Rant time: Poke, Poki, and Trolls……advert your eyes if so desired.

So, the spelling about poke vs poki is unclear. Poke is the original Hawaiian spelling meaning “to slice or cut” or “section”.  Poki is a little more hard to get a uniform answer on, some say it is poke with japanese ingredients, some say it is just an acceptable mis-spelling that upsets Hawaiians. It is also used as marketing, lets say you want to open up Poke Garden and it is already taken by another restaurant in another city or state, Poki Garden is born.

As for trolls, do not email me with trivial BS ” Poki? you obviously have not done any research.” Look asshat sometimes I do not mention things in detail because I do not think its pertinent to the post. Save us both time and instead of emailing me lay down on the train tracks and wait for the Sprinter…I can give you the schedule.

Funny thing is $100 says this kind of email, like the one “Your name Northcountyfood” is misleading or is this some kind of coastal elitism”, are most likely both from restaurant owners whose restaurant I have not covered, or I mentioned their competition not them.  lots of space out there in the blogoshere, start your own and try and keep up.

Constructive criticism is always welcome, lame comments not so much:) I was a semi pro video gamer for a number of years your not gonna rattle me by trolling,

Now go eat some Poke?, Poki? ….decunstructed sushi.

 

North County 2016 ~ A look back

So, while 2016 did not see the growth explosion of new places opening  that 2015 did, it did see some important restaurants open and trends take hold or fade.

While this post is too short to be all-inclusive, it hits on what I think was important to the North County food scene over the last year. You know things are good when you really have to edit your self. Other wise it would be “Things I love in North County, see entire website.”

I am going to start with some of the most important restaurant openings in North County (IMO).

Campfire ~ Carlsbad

campfire-2016-coll

Campfire is important for a number of reasons. One it is a great restaurant and would be right at home in the East Village, North Park or Little Italy’s  Food scene. Two, along with Land and Water Company it adds a second ingredient driven, properly sourced, foodie destination restaurant to the mainly touristy, mediocre Carlsbad Village food scene. Lastly, along with Carruth Cellar’s tasting room and Babba Coffee, it is helping to revitalize the north end of state street.

608 ~ Oceanside

608-coll

 

Opening in June of this year 608 brought upscale food in a comfortable setting to Oceanside, and at a price point that made it accessible. Chef Will Eick, in my opinion, is one of San Diego’s most talented young Chefs. He is bringing fine dinning techniques and ingredients and making them approachable. He also just introduced a seven course tasting menu option on the weekends offering the first non Omakase tasting menu option in Oceanside.

Belching Beaver Tavern and Grill ~ Vista

bb-collage

Like Campfire did in Carlsbad, Belching Beaver joined the Flying Pig and added another farm to table, high calibre restaurant to the growing Vista food scene. Combine that with a talented Chef who focuses on farming and teaching children about food, where it comes from and how to grow it, you can not help love the place. Their beer is alright too:)

It is constantly on my visit, when I can list.

There were quite a few trends in the national food scene that were also seen in North County.

Some have hit their peak…

Fast Casual Poki restaurants. The trend actually hit last year and made its way to San Diego and in turn North County in 2016. You have Wicked Poki, Sunshine Japanese Food, and Poke Poke in Oceanside, Poke Waii in San Marcos, and soon to be opening PokeWan in Carlsbad. I think from the ones I have been to, Poki Poki is the best. If you want higher caliber, chef made Hawaiian food and Poke, I suggest checking out Lanai in Leucadia or Yoshino Japanese Deli in Carlsbad for Poke and Japanese.

Some trends are just continuing to grow…

The Artisanal Coffee / Tea scene has continued to show no sign of stopping for years now. It has finally hit Carlsbad and Oceanside. I should not say finally hit, but grown. The major players that have shown up recently are Banana Dang!, Loose Leaf Tea, Sleeping Tiger, Revolution Roasters, Copa Vida and Steady State Roasting. Who join a number of great coffee houses already in the area. For the first time, in its four-year history, Caffeine Crawl has added two North County routes in Oceanside and Carlsbad that are set to kick off this years San Diego event in January.

Caffeine Crawl San Diego

Declining and rising…

I think the fast casual Gourmet Burger explosion of the last few years is dying down. Not that I think these places will go away, I just feel you will not see as much of a proliferation of places like Habit Burger, Burger Lounge, and Pure Burger as you have.

I think the pendulum is on the up swing for fast casual healthy options like Lemonade, Flower Child, True Food Kitchen, Tender Greens and the like.

Best Dishes of the Year…

This is hard, but because these spring to mind instantly, I have to go with them. Two are from San Diego but deserve mentioning.

rw-scallops

Spicy Scallop Nigiri ~ Wrench and Rodent (Oceanside)

Made for me by Alex, this dish was perfect. Just a slight heat from the red Cyclops Farms jalapenos, and melt in your mouth scallops from Catalina Offshore.

fp-fish

Pan Seared Opah ~ Flying Pig . (Oceanside)

This was a nightly special, beautiful Opah ( one of my favorite, if not favorite, fish) on red farro and micro greens.

flying-pig-anniversary-plate-1

1 year Anniversary BBQ plate ~ Flying Pig (Vista)

Everything you could want (especially me) on a plate. Perfect Tr-Tip, Pork Loin, and Brisket, cooked over open flame and served with veggies and mash.

crack-shack-sandwich-1-of-1

Coop De Ville Chicken Sandwich ~ Crack Shack (SD but soon coming to Encinitas)

Apply named Crack Shack, so good. One of the best fried chicken sandwiches ever.

bigga-chicken-skin-1-of-1

Chicken Skin Sandwich ~ Biga (SD)

You think it would be heavy because the main ingredient is chicken skin, nope light and flavorful. I plan to return to Biga for dinner in the new year.

 

campfire-oysters

Char Grilled Oysters ~ Campfire (Carlsbad)

Great dish that reminds me of oyster festivals on the sound in Washington State. I get this every time.

608-pb

Pork Belly ~ 608 (Oceanside)

I love me some pork and this is a perfect pork belly dish. It is smoked before curing (usually it is the other way around.) making it full of porky goodness.

cravory-cookies-1-of-1

Assorted Cookies ~ The Cravory (Carlsbad)

Their cookies will change your life, they changed mine. You can get them at their shop in Bressi Ranch, or in Oceanside at Banana Dang! Favorites are the Red Velvet or Birthday Cake.

Special places that I was so happy to discover this year...

El Chapin

el-chapin-coll

Authentic and delicious Guatemalan food that can not be beat.

Sitaram

sataram-food

Family run, fixed daily menu, vegetarian, Indian restaurant that needs to be tried by all.

 

What I’m looking forward to next year….

Trying 608’s tasting menu, Flying Pig’s Brewery, That Boy Good / Alpine Brewing restaurant and  brewery, LTH’s second concept , and much, much, more.

What you can look for from North County Food. A 3 to 4 chef “Dessert Dinner” at Petite Madeline for Oceanside Valentines Week. Another Chef Wine Dinner in March / April, and of course more restaurant highlights.

There you go a short recap of a great year food wise. Happy holidays to all and thanks for your support.

 

 

608 Adding Weekly 7 Course Tasting Menu ~ Oceanside

Chef Willy Eick will be adding a 7 course tasting menu option stating in a few weeks. The menu will run $65 and feature 7 courses plus treats. It will vary slightly week to week based on seasonality and what becomes available that is exciting.

No one I know does a regular tasting menu option in North County. Omakase at Wrench and Rodent would be comparable. It is nice to see a non sushi restaurant bring this on board as it is pretty common in Sf and other culinary hub cities.

Here is a description from the Chef…

Tasting menu will be available Wednesday – Sunday nights, and require whole table participation, with no substitutes, no exceptions, etc. We will be charging $65/person for 7 courses

So far the tasting menu will look something like this:
Bread Service (house daily sourdough)
1. Local sashimi, sunflower/mushroom dashi, mustards in variations
2. Local Crab, Cactus, Sumac
3. ?????
4. Potato Nest, Norinade, Yolk Gel, Herbs, Beer foam
5. Chicken Roulade, Roast Chicken/Whey, puffed wild rice, wild herbs/nz spinach
6. Natal Plum Panna Cotta, Natal Plum Mousse, Honey in Variations
7. Petit Fours (daily selection)
Daily cookies/candy to take home

The tasting menu will change most likely weekly, but not in its entirety, mostly just one or two dishes changing at a time until we find what we are happiest serving. These will not be large plates.
test-dish
Work in progress ~ Crab and sumac dish. (egg yolk will probably not appear on end product)
608 Mission Ave. Oceanside
#food #northcounty #608 #oceanside

Top Choice Fish Market and Eatery Coming Soon ~ Carlsbad

Tip Top Meats is opening a new Seafood Restaurant concept next door to their current location. Looks like it will be a restaurant and fish market.

top-choice-fish

No time line yet but they are hiring at the moment if you are interested or know somebody who may be.

“Top Choice Fish – Market and Eatery needs cashiers, servers, food prep and experienced seafood chefs. Apply in person at Tip Top Meats 6118 Paseo del Norte, Carlsbad.”

Tip Top is highly regarded as a butcher shop and diner, I would expect nothing less from them in this venture.

#food #carlsbad #northcounty

 

Fish District ~ Carlsbad

So, while I was out at Bressi Ranch in Carlsbad covering Cravory Cookies, I popped in for lunch at Fish District. I had heard good things, and while I would not make it a destination, it is a solid lunch option if you are in the area.

fish-district-exterior-1-of-1

Fish District ~ 2675 Gateway Road, Carlsbad

Fish District is a small Southern California Chain of about 5 locations specialising, funnily enough, in fish.

fish-district-fish-and-chips-1-of-1

Fish and Chips

I broke the fish so you could see that it was indeed moist and flakey on the inside. I liked the batter it was in between an English beer batter and a Japanese tempura. While not a huge fries guy, the fries were great especially with the addition of malt vinegar.

Because I always want to report on as much as possible I totally over ordered and added a Poke Bowl. I was asked if I wanted the “lunch” portion, I think I thought that meant smaller so I said yes..turns out the opposite is true.

fish-district-poke-1-of-1

Poke Bowl ~ Tuna

The Poke bowl was good. The fish was fresh and all the accompaniments were tasty. I think I like the build your own bowl concept better because I like my stuff spicy.

Tip: Avoid prime time lunch hours, the place was packed, as was the parking lot. Service was still good and efficient, but all the little office worker bees were descending on the area for their break.

 

Fish District

2675 Gateway Rd, Carlsbad, CA

Bits and Bites..Plus Dish Of The Month & Stuff

So, this is a way for me to call out great food or places that either, I have covered at length or it was my day off. By the way, my days off look a lot like my days on, they still involve food and friends.

Let’s get started..

banana-dang

Hummer Toast—hummus, cranberry, pecans & white iced tea.

Mario and Ton Ton are two of my favorites and they bring passion to every dish and every coffee.

Banana Dang! 

pch-bar-and-grill-highway-to-hell

The “Highway To Hell” Chicken Sandwich ~ Grilled chicken breast tossed in wing sauce, topped with melted pepper jack cheese, crispy fried onions and jalapeño slices, lettuce, tomato, and PCH sauce, served on grilled sourdough slices.

Not the best pic, but I was getting too much attention. Look I’m cute, but that not cute:). I think I was made. These guys delivered elevated bar food and great local beer selection.

PCH Sports Bar and Grill

bagbys

Bagby’s anniversary tacos and margaritas.

Full Disclosure..never been a fan of Bagby’s. The food is passable. This day they shined, both the food and service were spot on. Plus for a brewery they make a great margarita.

Bagby Beer Company

sushi-encinitas-1-of-1

Ajito, a small and  hard to find Japanese bento box and sushi place, run by a husband and wife team who were disciples of Kaz from Kaito Sushi. It is located next to fully loaded juicery in Encinitas off the 101.

sushi-encinitas-2

Salmon bento box and Japanese sausage. Nice little lunch.

Ajito 

petite-madeline

Marinated beef omelet.

One of Chef Marc’s weekly specials @ Petite Madeline.

Petite Madeline Bakery

Dish of the month (really month and a half) …is a tie!

rw-scallops

Scallop Nagiri ~ red jalapeno, sesame seeds, mystery sauce.

Chef Alex ~ Wrench and Rodent

Wrench and Rodent

dsc04502

Pan Seared Opah ~ grains, organic micro greens (day off was not taking notes)

Chef Samantha Parker

Flying Pig /Oceanside

#greatfood #northcounty

Campfire (Lunch Report) ~ Carlsbad

I have been reporting on Campfire’s progress for a while now. They finally made their debut this week, opening for lunch and dinner Wednesday. While I have reservations for dinner on the 20th, I could not wait. I found myself with extra time on my hands and in the vicinity, so I popped by for lunch.

The dinner report will be more in-depth but from what I found it already looks like a winner.

campfire-interior

Campfire 2725 State St. Carlsbad.

campfire-lemonade

The bar has a pretty extensive craft cocktail,wine,and beer list. I went with my go to,lemonade, mint lemonade at that cause that’s how I roll. Made from scratch in a cocktail shaker.

campfire-oysters

Char Grilled Oysters ~ Myer lemon, chili butter, cucumber.

These are going to go on the must have list for each visit. They brought back memories of oyster festivals in Olympia Washington. Perfectly cooked, plump,juicy, with a slight hint of smoke. I almost ordered another plate before I remembered I was coming back so soon.

campfire-tuna-belly

Tuna Belly ~ Long beans, soft-boiled egg, olive, shallot.

This was another great dish. It’s a cold dish which you may not get from the description but it holds tons of flavor. The stars of the dish are the long beans, which still have a char taste to them. The smoked tuna belly, egg and tapenade work to contrast and set the flavors off.

Again, I will have more on Campfire soon but I was just excited to share. Service was great, plenty of staff and a lot of the key positions are people from Ironside Fish and Oyster. At least that’s what my eavesdropping, I mean research, tells me.

Campfire

2725 State St. Carlsbad

Decoy @ The Lakeside Hotel / Resort ~ San Marcos.

Decoy has a chance to bring great higher end dining to the San Marcos area. It has everything going for it, waterfront location, it is situated next to a 14 million dollar resort that was just voted one of the best in the United States, an experienced Chef with a good track record, and the build out of the restaurant itself, which is nothing but breathtaking in its design and originality.

decoy-exterior

Decoy exterior

decoy-bar-2

Decoy’s bar and lounge area serves as a mood setting pass through into the main dining room. The bar like the restaurant boasts interesting art pieces and accent lighting, I would lose the flat screen TVs though, they are a misplaced element in an otherwise beautiful room. If you’re out for dinner or drinks and just have to know the score of the game be an asshole and just look at your phone.

decoy-art-1

decoy-art-2

Some of the mixed media art pieces that adorn the restaurant. They call for a close inspection to reveal some of their intelligent detail. Like the deer cut out, that uses fishing lures and pieces of fishing rod embedded in the piece.

decoy-interior-1

decoy-int-2

decoy-int-3

The interior as I stated earlier is world-class in detail and execution. It reminded me a lot of Encuentro Guadalupe Restaurant in Baja as far as feel at night-time.

25333514

Encuentro Guadalupe Restaurant, Valle De Guadalupe, Baja

Tangent…I really want to stay in one of their eco-lodges…so cute and the view….

buena-vista

Ok, back on track…

The menu at Dockside, in my opinion, is perfect in its size, large enough to host a range of dishes without being overwhelming and still providing space for specials or alterations. The wine and specialty cocktail list follow suit in this.

decoy-bitter-orange-negroni

To start we split a burnt orange negroni as there was going to be wine involved later. My partner in crime thought it needed more Campari as it was shy on the bitter element. The bruleed orange was awesome, though.

Moving into appetizers…

decoy-strawberry-caprese

Strawberry Caprese ~ tomato, baby kale, burrata ice cream, balsamic.

Great combo of flavors, it needed more balsamic though as it sets off the dish and calling the burrata an “Ice cream” is a bit of a stretch.

decoy-sweet-breads

Kung Pao Sweetbreads ~ peanut, scallions, sesame, kung pao glaze, cucumber.

I love sweetbreads and order them every time I see them on a menu. These were OK. The dish reminded me a lot of a good version of orange chicken with a little bit of spice. With the exception of a little softer mouth feel the sweetbreads could have been mistaken for poultry.

The mains though shined brightly….

decoy-bass

Bass ~ roasted artichokes, Chinese sausage, braised beans & natural clam broth.

This was a rock star dish. Great product, cooked to perfection all playing off each other.

decoy-quail

Quail ~ fingerling potato salad, duck scotch egg, apple gastrique.

Though on the hot appetizer menu, we ordered this as a second main and it served perfectly in that role.

The addition of the scotch egg was a delight, the quail, and the potatoes were cooked perfectly and had a wonderful flavor. The apple gastrique added a perfect overall sweetness to the dish. A true winner.

The staff was friendly and attentive, and for being a new restaurant overall well-informed. My friend did challenge them a bit by asking a few questions regarding the food and wine. At one point I told our server he was walking into a trap when she asked for advice about a particular wine choice, he handled himself well, though.

Decoy is set up to become a great restaurant, right now it is a very good one. Being in its infancy that is fine and the path to get there is very doable. In my experience, the dishes we had for our mains outshined the appetizers quite a bit. I will definitely be back in the future to see where they land.

Decoy

Lakeside hotel & Resort

1025 La Bonita Dr., San Marcos