When it comes to seafood, call me a seasoned expert. You can blame spending every summer of my life on the coast of Maine and experiencing thrice weekly lobster and clam dinners on the back porch of the beach cottage. Seafood and I have a long and elaborate history. So, in all honesty, I'm a bit of a snob when it comes to eating seafood in a restaurant. I'm not one that favours elaborate dishes that end up covering the taste of seafood, but am rather interested in chefs that have the ability to enhance, or leave entirely unaltered, the natural flavours found at sea. Last week I found the place and the chef that would lead me to seafood glory from pasta dishes to grilled lobster tails, and all of it taking place right on the ocean itself at Catch at Hotel Casa del Mar.
It wasn't enough to simply introduce us to a few dishes on the menu. Oh no. The head chef at Catch took it upon himself to make sure that we had a taste of all the highlights. From the fresh catch platter of seafood that we marvelled over for several minutes, to the surf'n'turf serving which left us wishing our stomachs were actually 50 gallon fuel tanks, this meal was as memorable as the setting. Yes, at Catch at Hotel Casa del Mar, one's table overlooks the beach in Santa Monica. You are actually looking at the very ocean which provided you dinner. I guess you can't call that "farm to table." What would the equivalent be? "Sea to me?"
Now as far as preparation, well, the chef here at Catch can only be described as a seafood aficionado. This is a man that not only appreciates the natural flavors of beautiful dishes like lobster and shrimp, he also uses them as tools to take normal dishes to a new culinary level. In short, I would say this man is a genius. Too much? Don't think so. Ok, that could have been the glass of champagne or the wine to dish pairing talking, but I truly did feel as if I was in the hands of a man that had one agenda - to make sure I didn't leave the table without gaining 15 pounds first. Yes, beware. This is not an experience for dieters. Well, maybe Atkins dieters if you stick to surf'n'turf.
1910 Ocean Ave. Santa Monica, CA 90405
Fashion Foie Gras was a guest for dinner at Catch at Casa del Mar.