Saturday, September 17, 2016


World-renowned chef Pascal Lorange has brought his Michelin-star skills to Del Mar in the form of Crudo -- a Japanese-Mediterranean fusion restaurant specializing in seafood prepared in surprising ways to bring about new tastes, textures, and flavor. Located in the heart of Del Mar at the Pacific Highlands,  Crudo is already drawing a crowd of eager patrons to sample these delicious offerings.

The elegant atmosphere is perfect for a date night, or a celebratory occasion. The celebratory occasion can be Wednesday after work, of course! The decor is clean, white, opulent. The look is stately and chic, a perfect place to enjoy sumptuous fare and socialize. 

After oohing and aahing over the ambience, we got down to the business of starting dinner, and chose two cocktails from the list of drinks. The drinks also draw a lot of inspiration from Japan and the Mediterranean, using ingredients such as plum wine and kumquats. 

For our drinks, we chose the Crudo signature cocktail, and the True Blood. The Crudo is a concoction of plum wine, rum, kumquat, and Calpico, a milky drink from Japan. It was sweet and very refreshing. 

The True Blood was the perfect happy hour unwinder: rum, blood orange, and ginger beer combined to make for a sweet, tangy, invigorating mix. 

The menu at Crudo is filled with lovely bites that are perfect for starting dinner or just popping in for a cocktail and a snack. We started with the a trio of their Ricetini -- a toast with different toppings to get the meal started, wonderful to start things or to eat with cocktails. Pictured are the proscuitto, ricotta, dates, and scallions; the foie gras, smoked duck breast, fig chutney, scallions, soy balsamic; and burrata, tomato, sun-dried tomato pesto. Of the three, my favorite was the burrata and pesto, with the simple cheese and tomato paired with the pesto is classic, but the flavor was incredible. 

The date, duck, and foie gras was unlike anything that I've ever had, with the sweet date 
balancing the richness of the foie gras. The proscuitto, ricotta, and dates was a perfect sweet and salty treat, and definitely something I would order again. 

The signature dish at Crudo is of course, the crudo. Sashimi style fresh fish served with a unique, homemade marinade or sauce to accentuate the flavor in new and pleasing ways.  
The colorful beets carpaccio combined two types of beets, pesto goat cheese, slivered almonds, and tomato. I usually shy away from beets, but sliced thinly and served with pesto goat cheese, the salty, creamy flavor of the cheese accentuates a fresh flavor in the beets.
A feature of the Crudo menu is the papillote items, which is French for "cooked in parchment." Served in a tajine bowl, this is the lobster fish soup papillote, with salmon, shrimp, lobster, and vegetables. Baked and then swarthed in a rich lobster soup, this dish evokes some of the flavors of the beloved cioppino soup, but with more delicacy and brighter punctuation of herbs. A wonderful dish to share or to have as an entree.
The main course menu contains a variety of seafood and "turf" items, but the shining star is the grilled branzino, a light white fish similar to flounder, but not as flaky. Grilled in a lemony oil, the fish was simple and flavorful, garnished with tomatoes and served with couscous and asparagus.
Dessert was an incredible end to a memorable meal, with a fresh strawberry carpaccio, served with vanilla gelato and a strawberry yogurt sauce. The flavor of the three together reminded me of good childhood memories of a strawberry ice cream that my mother loved. 
The second dessert (yes, we each got a dessert) was a white chocolate mouse cake with fresh whipped cream and crunchy layer of chocolate brittle at the bottom. The cake sounds rich, but it was very fresh and light tasting, but rich enough to feel like a chocolate dessert! 

I highly recommend making a reservation for Crudo when you plan a visit, as it's already buzzing with excitement! It's a very interesting concept in fusion cuisine, executed in precise, enticing manner.  

September 17, 2016 / by / 0 Comments

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