With new chef, La Jolla’s 80-year-old Marine Room is spicing issues up

This yr in La Jolla, The Marine Room restaurant has marked two main milestones: its eightieth anniversary and the retirement of its common French-born chef Bernard Guillas, who stepped down in August after 27 years on the helm.

To honor its eight-decade previous, the oceanfront restaurant in La Jolla Shores rolled out an anniversary menu that features Guillas’ lobster bisque and Caesar salad recipes, in addition to some retro-inspired dishes akin to prime rib and a grasshopper sundae. However in a transparent nod to the long run, there’s a brand new govt chef within the kitchen, Mike Minor, who’s bringing new flavors, concepts and shows to the plate.

Mike Minor is govt chef of The Marine Room and different La Jolla Seashore & Tennis Membership restaurant properties.

(The Marine Room)

Minor spent 30 years in Las Vegas, beginning as a catering firm sous chef in 1991. He labored his manner as much as govt chef on the Mandalay Bay Resort and On line casino’s upscale Border Grill restaurant for 13 years. Alongside the way in which, he racked up a number of regional and nationwide awards, competed on a number of TV cooking reveals and ran his personal Mexican-style barbecue meals truck for 3 years.

Regardless of his success in Vegas, Minor stated, he and his spouse had one factor left on their bucket listing. For 20 years, they dreamed of transferring to San Diego. So when the COVID-19 pandemic upended each the on line casino and restaurant industries final yr, they determined it was time to make their transfer.

On April 17, new Level Loma resident Minor joined the culinary workers on the La Jolla Seashore & Tennis Membership. Just a little over a month after Guillas left, Minor was promoted to go the entire membership’s culinary operations, which embody the 160-seat Marine Room, 200-seat Shores restaurant, 100-seat members-only Membership Eating Room and the membership’s banquet program. His first precedence has been to reinvent The Marine Room’s menu. When that’s achieved, he’ll consider the opposite areas.

Whereas some Marine Room requirements just like the lobster bisque are staying put, diners seemingly have seen Minor’s affect on the meals. Guillas’ specialty was French-inspired fare. Minor’s ardour is seasonal, sustainable and humanely raised regional substances and dishes introduced with fashionable and kooky plating methods. He’s obsessed with Mexican and Latin American delicacies, and lots of of his new dishes are infused with peppers, spices and substances native to the Mexican areas of Baja, Oaxaca and Michoacán, in addition to Central America and Peru.

An instance of that marriage of latest approach, whimsy, native substances and south-of-the-border flavors is Minor’s signature Tuna Tartare Cones, an appetizer of uncooked yellowtail tuna, cubed and tossed with serrano-soy glaze, served in mini gold foil-wrapped wafer cones and topped with beluga caviar. He alternates the cone contents amongst tuna, salmon and regionally caught uni ($30 for 4 cones).

Chef Mike Minor's Uni Tartare Cones at The Marine Room in La Jolla.

Chef Mike Minor’s Uni Tartare Cones at The Marine Room in La Jolla.

(The Marine Room)

Minor additionally has launched a Creekstone Farms dry-aged prime New York steak with an Oaxacan spice demi-glace ($85). There’s additionally a brand new hamachi crudo dish with yuzu pearls and a coconut aguachile sauce ($24). One other dish in improvement is a salpicón, a Spanish and Central American chilled meat salad that Minor makes with poached lobster, mint leaves, fried tortilla strips, Fresno chiles, carrots and pink onions.

Considered one of Minor’s favourite dishes that he introduced from Las Vegas is an appetizer he calls the Good Egg ($20). Served on a fried potato “nest” sprinkled with thyme and rosemary sprigs, it’s an eggshell full of layers of corn velouté, a sous vide-poached egg yolk and an egg-white mousse, topped with much more eggs (beluga caviar). It’s served with tiny spoons, and Minor recommends stirring the delicately flavored contents collectively earlier than scooping it up for a chew.

Minor stated he’s been having a ball since arriving in La Jolla, assembly longtime prospects and attending to know his fellow cooks, who’re collaborating on the still-changing menu.

“What I’m so happy with is The Marine Room will not be about one chef, it’s about me and my crew collectively … creating a extremely nice expertise,” Minor stated. “They’re excited to have a say within the menu and to have the ability to put some aptitude on the menu as effectively. We wish to create a enjoyable, distinctive meal for you that’s one thing you’ve by no means had.”

Waves crash at high tide at The Marine Room in La Jolla Shores.

Waves crash at excessive tide at The Marine Room in La Jolla Shores.

(Renee Comeau)

Marine Room historical past

The Marine Room’s grand opening was Could 29, 1941, inside the previous Spindrift Inn, a four-bedroom roadside inn and restaurant inbuilt 1916 on what was as soon as referred to as Lengthy Seashore (now La Jolla Shores). The Marine Room was owned and developed by William Scripps Kellogg, whose household additionally bought the adjoining La Jolla Seashore & Yacht Membership, which turned the La Jolla Seashore & Tennis Membership.

When The Marine Room opened, it served lobster Newburg for $1.35, rainbow trout amandine for $1.25 and martinis for 35 cents.

Positioned just some ft from the surf at 2000 Spindrift Drive, the restaurant is thought for the high-tide waves that ceaselessly crash in opposition to its eating room home windows. Earlier than three-quarter-inch glass was put in in 1948, the home windows would get boarded up each time Pacific storms approached. Throughout an enormous El Niño storm in 1982, the thick tempered glass imploded and the ocean flooded the restaurant.

For extra details about The Marine Room, name (858) 459-7222 or go to marineroom.com.