By Judi Curry
I don’t remember the last time I went to a restaurant where I felt that I needed to dress up before entering their door. But last night one of my first Foreign Language Students—Corinne—graduated with her Ph.D and she wanted to celebrate. “After all,” she said, “I won’t be getting another degree any time in this lifetime.” To say that I was nonplussed when she told me that she had made reservations at the Marine Room for the celebration I was stunned. I figured eating there would only add to the student debt that she must have incurred over the past 3 years.
There is no questioning the beauty of the restaurant. Right on the water’s edge; quiet with subdued music playing so that you could hear everyone at the table without having to raise your voice, and a wait staff that was second to none. Friendly, knowledgeable, patient, and made suggestions that we listened to in selecting our entrees. There is also no question that the prices were high, but the food was excellent.
Our table was in the corner—quiet, and absolutely beautiful. The tranquility of the event is something that I will compare other restaurants to as long as I do restaurant reviews.
There were two menu’s: the special of the day and the regular menu. Prices for the appetizers ranged from $17-21. We elected not to have an appetizer. The soups and salads were either $15 or $16 dollars. We also elected not to have one of them. There were sides, all at $10; the entrees ranged from $27 for the Caramelized Organic Tofu to $29 for Mary’s Farm Chicken upwards to the Diver Caught Sea Scallops for $38 (which is what I had) to the Center Cut Black Angus Filet Mignon for $47, that the other participants ordered. The Maine Lobster Tail was also $47.
The Sea Scallops were presented beautifully on honey spiced farro, fennel confit, saffron infusion and sprinkled with red walnuts. (I am allergic to walnuts so it was served without that addition.) Suffice it to say that there were only three (3) scallops on the plate, but they were big and succulent. The Filet was served with truffle potato, angelino plum chutney, blue paradise, malbec and were cooked to perfection.
We each ordered a glass of wine – and they were $11 each. There is a very extensive wine list, with some prices for champagne more than I make in six months.
Since this was a celebration, we all elected to have deserts and they were phenomenal. Corinne had the Three Layers “G F Toffee Dacquoise” with guava coulis, Thai basil syrup, and topped with a meringue kiss. This was a gluten-free dessert. The price was $12. Her mother ordered the Spindrift Cobblestone Pie espresso and vanilla ice cream, toasted hazelnuts, maker’s mark bourbon sauce that was $15 because it was large enough for two. (In actuality it was large enough for four!) I ordered my standby – Canton Liqueur Crème Brûlée with anise pineapple confit, ginger snap turbinado sugar. It was excellent; very, very rich, and I forced myself to eat every last drop because I could not see it being tossed in the trash because it was too rich to finish. Like Corinne’s it was $12.
As we were getting ready to leave, I noticed that flocks of seagulls were coming into our view. As we looked closer, we could see that they were had their eye out for the grunion scouts looking for a place to deposit their eggs. Neither Corinne or her mother had ever seen grunion, and even though it was not a full run – it was an exciting end to a wonderful day.
Without being specific, I would guess that the meal for the three of us was approximately $275 with a tip. Was it worth it? Yes. Would I go back? Yes, as a guest of a very generous benefactor. It truly was a delicious meal.
The Marine Room
2000 Spindrift Drive
La Jolla, CA 92107