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We’ve been to Vessel Restaurant at the Kona Kai Resort a couple of times for media dinners, and it was so enjoyable that we returned a couple of times when our families visited San Diego. We first brought my dad here for his 60th birthday dinner (he flew all the way from China to celebrate his birthday here! Well, he said it’s because he wanted to avoid the big fuss that our family would make over it in China).
This apple salad is definitely one of my favorite items on the menu. The crispy, crunchy apples contrast perfectly with the tender butter lettuce, and the homemade granola and Humboldt Fog cheese add the perfect flavors.
My dad chose the seared scallops, which were plump and juicy and cooked perfectly. The accompanying sweet corn succotash and grilled asparagus were enjoyable, and the grain mustard butter accentuated the natural sweetness of the scallops very nicely.
The pork chop here is one of the Chef’s specialties, and after one bite it’s pretty obvious why – it was cooked perfectly and was just so flavorful and tender. My dad really loved this and said that he wanted to come back to this restaurant next time he visits, just for the pork!
S wanted the calamari, which were served with grapes, celery, and a chili-lime dipping sauce. These were nice and crispy, though not as spectacular as the other dishes we’ve had here.
It’s hard for me resist a dish that has the words “corn” and “mushrooms” in it, so we decided to try this side dish. I enjoyed the smooth, creamy, and corny polenta, although I felt that the wild mushrooms were a bit too greasy.
A month after my dad’s visit, S’s family and my mom and stepdad came to San Diego, and we decided to take them to Vessel, too. We ordered a couple of the same items – the heirloom apple salad and pork chop – and tried a few new things as well.
My mom and stepdad wanted the Scottish salmon, served with a creamy parsnip purée, greens, and a ham hock broth. I only tried a bit of the salmon, which was cooked nicely.
My stepdad wanted to try the tuna tataki – the flavor profile was pretty “Asian fusion”, with thinly sliced cucumbers, jalapenos, avocado slices, and soy sauce. The tuna slices were generous and tasted quite fresh.
S ordered the short rib this time – it was a beautifully braised short rib, and served with puréed Yukon gold potatoes, asparagus, carrots, and pan jus. I had just a bite of the short rib, and it happened to be the fatty piece which was delicious, hehe.
Overall, we’ve had some really enjoyable dinners at Vessel, and I definitely hope to be back again in the future. With a beautiful location and wonderful food at pretty reasonable prices (especially given the large portion sizes), Vessel definitely is one of our top restaurants around town.
(Inside the Kona Kai Resort)
1551 Shelter Island Dr, San Diego, CA