Over the past few years, a revolving cast of short-lived chefs have manned the kitchen at the Hotel Del Coronado’s fine dining enclave, 1500 Ocean. If there’s justice in the world, newly appointed chef de cuisine Meredith Manee will stick. A veteran toque with 16 years of resort experience gleaned across the nation, she brings with her a worldly palate and sense of adventure, making for one of the most interesting and scrumptious menus around. The seafood-centric bill of fare features fish and shellfish matched with unique setups that brilliantly convey myriad cultural influences.
Golden spotted bass plucked from local waters is afforded Mediterranean treatment with spaghetti squash and an earthy, restrainedly spicy chorizo and clam broth, while Onaga (long-tailed snapper Manee became familiar with on island time) is crusted in a unique layer of crispy rice pearls and given richness care of yuzu butter. Seasonality is lent to seared duck breast care of garnet yams augmented by Chinese long beans, Okinawan sweet potatoes, and candied kumquat. Meanwhile, unbelievably tender sous vide octopus may be the best in the county, and no meal would be complete without a side order of a soul-warming cauliflower and Gruyere gratin. The same holds true with the scrumptious pear financier for dessert. (619.522.8490, www.hoteldel.com) Brandon Hernández