It was time to spend time with the future in-laws on my most recent trip to see J. the fiance. We decided to meet for lunch in Dana Point at the request of J.'s mother. She loves a particular restaurant on the harbor called "The Wind and the Sea." Like most of the restaurants in the area, it features a killer view of the Pacific Ocean, an outdoor dining option, and a menu jam-packed with seafood selections.
J. and I arrived around 12:30 PM and decided to check if a nice table was available on the deck overlooking the water. Unfortunately, the wind was quite brisk and we decided to head inside. Since the interior was fairly vacant, we were able to snag a table at the windows overlooking the ocean. The interior of the restaurant is basic blue and white with lots of nautical allusions here and there. The tables and chairs are nicely spaced and a few booths for larger parties dot the interior floor plan.
We ordered some drinks while we waited for the future in-laws. Our server was young and energetic, but, as would become very clear, was also inexperienced. We surveyed the menu and I was drawn to the Fish and Chips ($10.79) while J. was busy selecting a shrimp dish, opting for the Fried Shrimp Platter ($13.99). The F-I-L's arrived and we sat and chatted while they reviewed the menu. As expected, the future mother-in-law selected the Halibut dinner ($14.99) which J. said she always gets at The Wind and the Sea. Future father-in-law went for a large tossed salad with Ranch dressing with a Halibut steak on top (since it was a specialty order, I was not privy to the price, but would estimate about $12-15).
Our waiter took our order but we had to repeat things several times as he kept missing some of the details. When all was said and done, we were ready for another round of drinks. These weren't cocktails, but coffee, water, iced tea and Diet Coke. From the delay between rounds of drinks, they should have been cocktails. Unfortunately, we had to ask for refills and then remind the server five minutes later that we were still waiting for our refills.
Luck was on our side as we didn't have an inordinate amount of time to wait for lunch. Our meals were served and we all were hungry and dug into our food. My fish and chips were good. My plate contained three large beer-battered fish fillets, a substantial serving of shoestring fries and a decent-sized serving of cole slaw. The batter on the fish was crisp and tasty. The fish itself was firm, but fully cooked and mild. However, each fillet was rather large and I thought it would have been more enjoyable if the pieces were slightly smaller. Although the fish was mild, it's taste overwhelmed the batter, even after I had sprinkled the batter with malt vinegar.
The fries were okay. They were crisp, but because they covered half the plate, they didn't retain much heat and were room temperature. The cole slaw was decent. The dressing was creamy and the cabbage crunchy. It wasn't going to win any awards, but it was satisfying.
J. was enjoying the shrimp and stated that the shrimp were tasty and well prepared, but felt the number was fairly meager (5 in total) considering the size of the shrimp (they were fairly small, in my estimation).
The future mother-in-law found the halibut to be quite good and ended up taking some home. Her other half really enjoyed the tossed salad with the halibut steak. For a simple and light lunch, it was clearly a winner. Oddly, we asked the waiter for some additional lemon for our seafood. When he returned a few moments later, we inquired about the lemon and he dashed off to the kitchen. Upon his return, we were presented with a serving bowl packed with lemon wedges. Not two or three, but about 10 or more wedges piled high in the bowl. I joked that we must look like we have scurvy.
We leisurely finished our meals and then sat and talked. I would have requested another round of drinks, but our waiter was completely unavailable at that point and we only saw him again when he set down the bill. After the normal skirmish about who would pay the bill had been settled, future father-in-law paid the bill, so I could not see what the final total was. I would estimate about $60.00 for four for lunch, not including tip.
I can see why J's mom likes The Wind and the Sea. It is not anything to write home about, but it is decent food. The seafood was fresh and the serving portions were more than satisfying. Unfortunately, the service was poor and while I know the server was trying, some more training was clearly indicated.
Of course, if you have scurvy, this is the place to be!
The Wind and the Sea
34699 Golden Lantern Street
Dana Point, CA 92629
Notes: Parking is in the huge shared lot in front of the shops and restaurants at the harbor.
(Next up: J. discovers that pinapple and vodka are a match made in heaven.)