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By Michael Hepworth

The Ritz Carlton in Dana Point has always been a prime destination to visit, and Restaurant 162 is the main dining room at this sprawling hotel. Chef de Cuisine John Garcia has been running a Friday night Seafood Inspiration Tasting Menu for $65 for four courses, and a recent visit here confirmed the quality of the food and the preparation that went with it.  The dining room itself has sweeping panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean , excellent lighting and acoustics, and with a nice spacing of the tables conversations remain private. The menu changes every week, and a mixture of hotel residents and locals enjoy excellent service in a relaxed and comfortable ambience that canít fail to live up to the environment.

Being a great fan of chilled soups, especially in the hot Southern California climate, I was relieved to see a version of the chefís Gazpacho soup on the a la carte menu. I just had to try that, and this particular soup was very peppery, but absolutely spot on. My guest, originally from New England decided to try the Clam Chowder instead, and eagerly reported that his choice was full of flavor and not overly creamy.  First up on the regular tasting menu was King Wild Salmon from Alaska , submerged in a Japanese Dashi broth that I found perfect for my taste buds. The chef informed me afterwards that the salmon should only have been half submerged in the broth, but I guess the waiter got a little carried away, but it was still a terrific dish to start with. Accompaniments were also spot on-Matsutaki Mushrooms, carrot and asparagus.

Second course a Smoked Georges Bank Scallop (yes only one I am afraid) served with sasify, purple and orange cauliflower, mouselline and a pickled spring onion. Not quite as spectacular as the King Salmon but OK. Third course however quickly made up for that- A nicely breaded Sous Vida Swordfish with a superb side dish of lobster croquets, leek and a very creative tarragon foam. The swordfish was cooked to perfection and the perfect small/medium size, not the usual large slab of swordfish experienced elsewhere. The meal was rounded out with a trio of sumptuous desserts, maybe a little too heavy for some people. The only issue for me would be the absence of a sorbet in that selection, but still an excellent way to end the meal. Try this extravaganza when you have a nice room booked for the night, as that will make the experience even more palatable.

Fact Sheet

Address: Restaurant 162-One-Ritz Carlton Drive , Dana Point , Ca 92629

Phone: (949) 240-2000




























































































































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