Last night I was taken to dinner at the Catamaran hotel by an elderly friend who lives on Mission Bay. I won't bore you with the negatives,but as someone once said of San Diego servers, if they must be so bad, can't they at least be beautiful?
Dining al fresco at the Catamaran isn't bad. If you squint, it's kind of Monaco-ish with the lights encircling the bay. My friend had brought us a bottle of wine, so the sad wine list didn't affect us. Unfortunately, the sad wine glasses did.
But here's the point. The food was lovely. Absolutely lovely. For first course, we had a perfectly poached egg on polenta with romanesco sauce. And a stunning crab-stuffed calimari with frisee and capers. For main course, I had a perfectly roasted piece of chicken with a stuffed poblano chili. My friend had smoked yellowtail on caponada. (The server described this dish as fish on "mush." It was anything but.) The food was simple but inventive. Fresh and well-prepared.
It seems there is a new chef who's been hired to nudge the hotel's food out of the 1980's. At least, for Restaurant Week, he does.
But the best part -- and of this I sing-- was being pleasantly surprised. The older I get, the less it seems to happen. So, here's to you, jaded Chowhounders! Happy Restaurant Week 2011! I've already had mine.
Catamaran Resort Hotel
3999 Mission Blvd, San Diego, CA 92109