Last Monday, I celebrated my birthday at The Marine Room, located right next to the beach in La Jolla and known for its spectacular ocean views.
I’m pretty obsessed with sunsets, but since it gets dark so early nowadays, we actually completely missed the sunset already by the time we arrived. I still enjoyed watching the waves, though! The ocean always takes my breath away.
There were a few specials on the menu, to commemorate The Marine Room’s 75th anniversary – steak & lobster, prawns, and scallops. I believe there is also a 3-course Lobster Dinner menu available on Sundays and Mondays, but there were already things on the regular menu that caught my eye, hehe.
Trilogy of Lobster, Ahi Tuna, Kona Kanpachi [$22]
We started out with this relatively light appetizer, featuring: a medallion of perfectly-poached lobster topped with savory salmon roe; ahi tuna tartare paired with a delightful sesame brittle and pickled papaya, and sliced kampachi topped with caviar pearls and dashi gelee. I really enjoyed every component of this appetizer – the flavors were exciting yet also refreshing, a perfect start to our meal.
Maine Diver Scallops [$44]
These Maine diver scallops are a “Diamond Anniversary” menu item – this year marks the 75th anniversary of The Marine Room, so there were three special entrees: the diver scallops, a New York strip and lobster tail surf & turf dish, and a Baja prawn dish. J chose the scallops, which were cooked to tender perfection, and topped with an almond dukkah that provided a lovely contrast in texture and flavor. The scallops were served with a lovely vegetable medley as well as a pilaf of quinoa.
Ume Plum Wine Braised Kurobuta Pork Cheek [$28]
I was immediately drawn to the Kurobuta pork cheeks, braised in ume plum wine and served with smoked marcona gremolata, vegetables, pomegranate seeds, and sage jus. The pork cheeks were incredibly tender, but I felt that the braise was a bit too heavy-handed and salty. I was also a bit disappointed that the veggies in the pork dish were pretty much exactly the same as the pairings with the scallops – I felt that they could have been a bit more creative about the accompaniments.
Gianduja Chocolate Pyramid [$12]
Of course, what’s a celebration without something sweet? I had a hard time deciding between this chocolate pyramid and the Meyer lemon hibiscus tart, but in the end, chocolate won (it usually wins). The chocolate was silky smooth with a crispy rice base, and served alongside griottine (liquor-marinated cherries), raspberry puree, and a pomegranate rum mojito shot. I normally don’t like chocolate-fruit pairings, but I was really pleasantly surprised at how well the chocolate worked with everything – the cherry, blackberry, raspberry, and pomegranate. I really loved this dessert.
Lastly, we were presented with two mini macarons along with the bill – coffee and lemon. Two perfect little bites to end a great meal!
Overall, I had a lovely dinner at The Marine Room – while the dishes aren’t the most creative fine-dining that I’ve had in San Diego, I still really enjoyed the atmosphere and the food. I definitely hope to catch the sunset or high tide here sometime, since the views are absolutely spectacular. Lastly, many thanks to J who celebrated my 28th birthday with me. It has definitely been an interesting and eventful year, and a good reminder that life can be unpredictable in many ways, and that we can only give it our best and hope for the best. Here’s to another year!
The Marine Room
2000 Spindrift Dr., La Jolla, CA 92037