Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Pelican Grill - Newport Coast

When a friend suggested we stop by for lunch last month, I was elated. The Resort at Pelican Hill (golf and dining only, no resort rooms until 2008) had reopened only the week before. I knew that only those who've been keeping an eye out would be in attendance.

Driving along PCH and down the coast was calming. We rolled down the windows and enjoyed the remaining warmth of autumn weather. Before two years of renovations began, the original dining room was perched with a magnificient view of the Pacific. Now, we discover that a new structure (quite a bit) further away houses their dining options. Our server explains the previous space will be rented out for weddings and special events, plus act as storage for facilities.

Nevertheless, it is a grand sight to behold. It's themed as an Italian villa. Creams and golds lighten and heighten the richness of our surroundings. As we approach the hostess, we are presented with Choose Your Own Adventure. The ridiculously plush dining room on our left, or the equally impressive but far more casual bar on the right? After going back and forth, we ultimately request and receive a patio dining table. The breathtaking view is what everyone expects when they are seated, and that's what we were getting. Below us, the occassional cart would drive over a connecting bridge leading to the first tee.

I half expected Robin Leach to begin his voiceover....

Chef Thomas Ryan's background includes studies at the CIA and a resume featuring Ritz-Carlton and Hilton brands. I can only hope his presence was reflected in our lunches. As we settle into our cushioned chaises, a glass of vino only seems fitting. "Cancel the ice tea!" Upon recommendation, we toast our Esca Pinot Grigio, sigh, and await our meals. I find myself gazing at the lattice work above and eavesdropping on the conversation next to us. A foursome of golfers is namedropping and doing their best to outdo each other. Ah, Newport.

He settled for the ten ounce fresh ground turkey burger ($17) with cheddar. I liked the alternatives of Jarlsberg or Point Reyes blue. The patty was rich and flavorful. I opted for the cedar roasted Pacific swordfish sandwich ($20) with lemon mayonnaise. To keep with our 'healthy' kick, we chose a serving of red oak, frisee, and butter lettuce with shallot vinaigrette to complete our meals (included with the entrees). Everything was succulent without being filling. Chef Ryan knew his body-conscious clientele well.

Other notable items include:
* Agnolotti pasta - curried lobster, green apple and tomatillo vinaigrette
* Tempura red king crab classic Louis - prawns, sun ripened tomato, organic lettuce and creamy brandied dressing
* Slow roasted oregano chicken from the olive wood oven
* Trio of chocolate (ask the server)
* Butter scotch peanut butter ice cream

Afterwards, we strolled the grounds and found the practice range, golf shop, and Caffe II. Caffe II provides a modest selection of refreshment in the form of custom sandwiches, fruit, hot (tea) & cold (beer) beverages, and even yogurt or hot dogs.

Champagne wishes and caviar dreams for those who do not mind pocketing a $75 lunch. Did I mention valet is complimentary?


Pelican Grill
22800 Pelican Hill Road South
877.735.4226
http://www.pelicanhill.com/

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Comments on "Pelican Grill - Newport Coast"

Blogger elmomonster said ... (December 27, 2007 at 2:34 AM) : 

Ah you beat me to it. I was going to review this for The Weekly. I'm going to postpone it though. The restaurant is open, but the resort isn't yet fully open right?

Blogger brekkie_fan said ... (December 27, 2007 at 9:05 AM) : 

Hey Elmo,

What? I beat you to something? :) You are correct, golf and primary dining are the only areas open. Everything else is slated for late 2008, according to the site. Happy New Year.

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