It’s Mr. JOC here and hope your summer’s going well so far. As some of you may know, my family’s favorite escape for a quick weekend is the Monterey/Carmel area. It’s just a short drive (1.5 hr) from San Francisco so I highly recommend taking a side trip there if you are visiting the bay area. There are many excellent restaurant choices in the region, and one of the most popular restaurant is Passionfish in Pacific Grove.
Due to it’s popularity, Passionfish is often completely booked so I recommend using OpenTable to book a reservation if you are thinking about going. I’ve dined at Passionfish about 10 years ago after scuba diving in Monterey with friends and remembered it as a fantastic meal. I was really excited to go back with Nami and the children.
Passionfish is renowned for a few things:
- A leader in using sustainable ingredients and seafood.
- Voted best restaurant in the county in 2011 and 2012 (Monterey Weekly).
- Award winning wine list that sells the wine at retail price.
- Great food!
We started with a few appetizers for our meal. The sea scallop appetizer was served with an unique caper-raisin-walnut relish on top of a artichoke risotto cake. The scallop was flavorful and juicy, however the panko crusted shell on the risotto cake was a bit thick and heavy. We wished the risotto cake had a lighter thinner crust, then it’ll be perfect.
The next dish was the smoked trout ceviche and it was a bit spicy but I really enjoyed it. The soft texture of the fish contrasted well with the crunchy tostaditas, and smoked trout leaves a hint of smokiness on your palate. The last appetizer we had was the asparagus fries served with sesame aioli and it was fabulous. The thin layer of panko shell wrapped the asparagus perfectly and the asparagus was not overcooked. My family all loved this dish.
For the salad, we had the Dungeness crab & avocado salad with spicy ginger vinaigrette. The ginger and the spicy flavor from the dressing provided a very distinct taste from the creamy avocado and crab mixture. It was a really refreshing salad and delicious. Since we had a big lunch that day and didn’t want large entree servings, our helpful server recommend that we get the duck confit in the children’s portion instead. It was a great recommendation and I am glad we tried it, the meat was rich, tender and moist coated in a tangy sweet sauce.
The last dish we had was the basil stuffed rainbow trout. The trout was flavorful with essence of basil and just the right amount of salt. I loved how the fish was not over flavored so we could taste the natural goodness of the fish itself.
After dining at Passionfish with my family, we could see why it’s one of the most popular restaurants in the area for so long. I loved how each dish had contrasting textures or flavors that brings out the the natural goodness of the ingredients, without overpowering them. If you are in the area and looking for a great dinner spot, I highly recommend Passionfish.
Full Disclosure: Just One Cookbook was not compensated by Passionfish and all opinions are my own. The price and menu at Passhionfish were based on my visit in March 2014.