Avalon >Catalina Country Club
warm breads, fantastic meals, rich peaty undertone, good ambiance, fresh sea bass, perfect creme brulee, full bottle
Best on Island....
I was a chef for 15 years in the Virgin Islands. I do not lavish praise lightly, and have never before been moved to write a review. Just happened on this site looking for a link to the restaurant so i could recommend it to friends.
Fantastic meals all over SoCal, but the fresh sea bass at the Country Club took it to another level. Absolutely fresh, bursting with ocean flavor, and not overworked or masked. Also astounding was the smoked salmon appetizer. Not your usual thinly sliced nova, but a large hunk of moist and succulent fish with a with a rich peaty undertone that enhanced the natural taste. Just wonderful. Accompanied by chopped red onion, a bit of creme fraiche, and amazing fried capers (!), this was a treat you shouldn't miss. Wonderful warm breads enhanced the meal. Most impressive are the flights of wines offered. Wary about committing to a full bottle you are not familiar with? For the price of two drinks, we got to taste six different wines. One of them happened to have impressed us in a wine shop the previous day, and we purchased several bottles to bring back to New York. No cheap swill here! All were good and two were really delicious. Wines are flights of three, grouped by region. Being tourists, we opted for the 'California' and the 'Organic California'. Both included two whites and a red. This worked out perfectly with our meal. Nice touch was the paper underliner identifying each wine and giving tasting notes. No bother trying to remember which was what. Great idea that I've never seen incorporated this way into a menu. Finished up with a perfect creme brulee.
Service was friendly and knowledgeable. No hovering or pretentious attitude. I'm not a 'country club' type, and was somewhat put off by the name. Came to Catalina to dive, and didn't bring much in the way of dress clothes. Dining was casual, and the ambiance was as good as the food.
Hats off to the chef. Keep up the good work, and thanks!
The island's most upscale restaurant offers dignified dining and hilltop views..
The dining room boasts cathedral ceilings, wrought-iron chandeliers, white-linen tablecloths and dark-wood accents. In the winter, a large gas fireplace keeps the space warm, while in the summertime, the patio's oversized green umbrellas provide shade. The continental-influenced menu includes appetizers such as spicy rock lobster in a scallion crème fraîche and crab rolls with mussels. Entree highlights are salmon in a mango-chili sauce, wild mushroom risotto and free-range filet mignon.
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