Where to go: Monterey Coastal Cuisine
Address: 110 W. Main St., Carmel
What to get: Miso butter sea bass
Anna’s take: I was immediately impressed upon stepping inside Monterey Coastal Cuisine in downtown Carmel, and I imagine most diners’ reactions are the same as there’s a fish tank with a live jellyfish right inside the front door. My experience only got better as I sampled the high-class restaurant’s variety of seafood and non-seafood options. I started with oysters on the half shell, half from the East Coast and half from the West Coast, because not much is more refreshing to me than a spoonful of house-made mignonette on a fresh oyster. I also enjoyed the salmon avocado sashimi appetizer ($17), which had some of the creamiest salmon I’ve ever tasted, and the yellowtail sashimi. Be sure to ask for some of the real wasabi sauce rather and not the powdery, spicy wasabi often served. For the main course, my favorite dish was the sea bass, which is marinated in a miso broth and served over white scallion sushi rice with slightly fried Brussels sprouts and a sweet pea puree that was so excellent I kept dipping my fork tines into it again and again. My other favorite dishes were the pecan-crusted halibut ($33) with purple mashed potatoes, blistered cherry tomatoes and a parsley oil. The prosciutto flatbread ($15) is an excellent choice for those who aren’t fans of seafood. It is topped with arugula, prosciutto, Granny Smith apples, shredded aged cheddar and a white cream sauce.
Monterey is perfect for a date night or a family celebration. End the evening with a coconut flan, rich in caramel sauce and toasted coconut, or a slice of white chocolate macadamia nut cheesecake, topped with deliciously delicate white chocolate shavings.