Went last night with a party of four to check out Blue Coral Seafood and Spirits in Fashion Island. Walking in, I was impressed with the room's decor. It has a good mix of booths and tables, and the lighting was perfect, setting a nice ambiance without being too formal. We were promptly seated an a booth and I had a great view of the spectacular blue wall of vodka by the bar. Looking around the room, I noticed it was pretty busy for a Wednesday night, with a good mixed crowd of young and older professionals, with a few couples on dates.
We were served water, with our choice of lemon or lime slices, and a basket of seriously addicting biscuits. I thought having biscuits in the bread basket was a great change of pace and a curve ball for a place that doesnt bill itself as a southern style restaurant. The biscuits were soft and crumbly and tasted very good. Definately homemade. We went through about 3 baskets of these.
The menu contains lots of tempting choices with several cold apps, hot apps and about a dozen main courses. The wine and cocktails menu is even longer, with a huge list of vodkas, cocktails and wine. (We opted for a bottle of J Pinot)
For my appetizer I got the yellowtail crudo, served with a bloodorange vinaigrette and sliced jalepenos (a la matsuhisa). Very good quality fish, and the bloodorange somehow didnt overwealm the fish. I appreciated how they gave me chopsticks for the appetizer so that I wouldnt be eating the think slices of fish with a big metal fork. I also got a bite of another person's app which was that night's special- "Seared Albacore Medallions with Ponzu sauce" These were several 2 inch chunks of fish seared on both sides (maybe cooked a little too much) and drizzled with a delicate ponzu sauce. Even though the fish was cooked to medium, it remained very tender and flavorful.
Although the menu has several different fish prepared in a particular way, the menu offers diners the flexibility to have any of the fish prepared in any style. I opted for the tuna prepared as suggested in the menu (grilled with a tomato tapanade). For sides the table got the apples and cheese slaw and grilled asparagus.
My fish was perfectly cooked and very flavorful. The tomato tapanade was more of a simple tomato salad, and though very light and refreshing, I wish they were a little more generous with the portion. The apple slaw was a hit at the table. The tangy diced apples played very well against the good quality blue cheese. The grilled asparagus had a nice char, giving them a good smoky taste.
Others at the table ordered the seabass (one grilled and one baked in parchment). The last person ordered the highly recommended Lobster en fuego which was dramatically presented in the shell and on top of a large pile of homemade chips. Though I didnt get a taste (it was a business dinner), I was definately eyeing it for a future visit. The lobster huge and was practically bursting at the seams from its stuffing and the homemade chips looked like the real deal.
Since we were all stuffed, we skipped dessert but they looked like they had the usual suspects on the menu.
Overall, service was very professional. The biscuit basket was refilled several times and our wine glasses and water glasses never went empty. I was very impressed with our server who was very patient with one person in our party who asked about nearly every item on the menu. Total damage with tip was about $420.
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