October 16, 2012
Chamisal Courtside Cafe (261-8834) is shifting its dishes.
For several years it’s been one of the area’s nice under-the-radar spots for fresh fare—nice because of its sunny Los Laureles Grade cradle looking at Castlerock cliffs and is above average wine and food, and under-the-radar because it’s off the beaten path in a beautiful tennis club many incorrectly assume has a restaurant that’s closed to the public (access to the pool, spa and courts, though, is $20).
New owner Eduber Bonilla, whose family runs Plaza Linda Restaurant & Cantina in Carmel Valley (where his brother Velis also chefs) has brought in Robin Sachs, who opened Le Biciclette in 2006 and also spent time Carmel’s Casanova and Carmel Valley’s Wild Goose Café.
Sachs says specials like tonight’s clever-fusion halibut ($19.95)—he lightly marinates the Alaskan filet in soy sauce and sesame oil, pan sears it with fresh dinosaur kale, caramelized garlic, onion and mushrooms, and serves it on top of grilled polenta beneath a grilled pineapple teryaki sauce with black sesame seeds—have been popular.
Same goes for the pizzas he’s doing with handmade pizza dough with imported “00” pizza flour from Italy like his favorite, the Southwestern chicken built on an orange sauce of dry ground chipotle, caramelized garlic and fried tomatoes with Mexican cotija and mozarella cheese
Here’s a look at what I'm liking most from the rest of his menus, available 10am-9pm Monday through Friday and 10am-8pm Saturdays and Sundays.
“I’m into fresh, local, seasonal items,” he says, noting it helps when there are farmers as close as two miles down the road helping contribute tomatoes to the caprese ($6.95) pictured above, with mozzarella he stretches in house.
Hopefully his next menus will lean more toward the halibut inventiveness they're calling "poly-ethnic cuisine" than the predictable items I'm seeing here:
New Zealand Porterhouse Lamb Chop • $8 • Served with french fries.
Shrimp Scampi • $12.75 • American caught jumbo white shrimp gently sautéed with white wine, garlic, green onions, butter, tomatoes and parsley.
Marianne’s Salad • $9.95 • Small salad with sand dabs gently grilled and placed over romaine, Sweet peppers and red onions. Tossed with balsamic vinaigrette.
Ahi Tuna Salad $16.95 • Seared medium rare and placed over mixed greens, red onions and sweet peppers tossed with a whole grain mustard vinaigrette.
Chinese Chicken Salad • $14.95 • House made sesame dressing tossed with edamame, Mandarin oranges, roasted cashews, crispy noodles and romaine lettuce topped with grilled chicken breast.
Homemade Fettuccini • $17.95 • With wild mushrooms, asiago cheese, and oven dried tomatoes. Tossed in a light sauce of roasted chicken stock, olive oil and butter.
Risotto • $17.95 • With roasted chicken, fresh tarragon, artichoke hearts & asiago cheese.
Ahi Tuna • $22.95 • Over crispy polenta with asparagus and Mediterranean roasted red pepper relish.
Jumbo Shrimp Risotto • $23.95 • American caught jumbo white shrimp with white wine, vine ripe tomatoes, Italian parsley and green onions.
Bistro Filet (8oz) • $21.95 • Served with hand cut pommes frites, sautéed Swiss chard. Finished with a red wine & shallot reduction.