Pacific’s Edge Takes Dining to New Heights: A Perfect Pairing of Beauty and Taste
By Kelly Grace Thomas
Pacific’s Edge, the award-winning restaurant at Hyatt Carmel Highlands, takes dining to new heights in every decadent and delicious way possible. Built cliff-side with soul-stirring views of the Big Sur Coastline, this restaurant is the perfect blend of both beauty and innovation.
With its glass walls for sweeping views and its outstanding offerings, Pacific’s Edge has found the perfect pairings to match natural beauty with culinary curiosity. To rival the jaw-dropping vistas is an equally impressive culinary cast. The restaurant is headed by Executive Chef, Chad Minton, who previously earned a Michelin Guide recommendation for his restaurant, Jerne and Executive Sous Chef, Alvaro Dalmau, who formerly studied at the world’s best restaurant El Bulli. This dynamic duo has crafted an impressive menu full of inspired eats and regional treats.
Pacific’s Edge was named one of the top 100 Restaurants in the U.S. by Zagat and has also won a number of awards, including a Four Diamond award and was distinguished as one of the Top Ten Restaurants with a View by USA Today. With more than 900 wines to choose from, Wine Spectator has lauded their wine list with Grand and Excellence awards. Pacific’s Edge raises the bar on craft and service. Therefore, it is no surprise that they hosted the 1986 Masters of Food and Wine, and have hosted world renowned chefs like Julia Child and Gordon Ramsay to cook on their premise.
Edible Skinny was lucky enough to sample some of Pacific’s Edge standout selections and one thing’s for certain, this place has done their homework. While some places are all view and no value, Pacific Edge has some stunning sophistication that showcases both talent and innovation of the area and staff.
Edible Skinny began our Pacific’s Edge dining experience with a stunning sunset and a Domaine Eden 2012 Chardonnay. Light, but still rounded with hints of oak, this was the perfect sipping wine to prep our pallet for Pacific’s Edge outstanding starters.
Being a lover of seafood, I just had to order the Octopus Confit. Being both local and sustainable the dish was served with Fingerling Potatoes, Smoked Paprika, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Maldon salt. This was perhaps one of the most impressive seafood dishes we had in California. Delicious. Moist. Cooked to perfection. Confit translates to cooked in it own fat, but for this dish the octopus was cooked in a terrine for five hours in Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The result: meat so tender you could cut it with a spoon. Octopus when not cooked well can feel like a tug of war in your mouth, instead this dish was both tender and firm without being hard. There was accents of salt and smokiness without being over pronounced. Thanks to the Spanish inspiration and amazing talent, Executive Sous Chef, Alvaro Dalmau, has created an exquisite starter that showcases skill, it knows its personality without apologizing, it plays on its savory strength without overpowering.
We also sampled some vegetarian friendly starters to report back to our more health conscious readers. The Zucchini Carpaccio, Wild Arugula, Shaved Parmesan Reggiano, Pickled Mushrooms, Lemon Olive Oil Vinaigrette is a new take on a old classic. They have adapted this meat dish to create a freshness of deliciousity. With rich but light flavors there are amazing mushrooms dotted a valley of wild arugula. We also sampled their Faro Burrata Cheese, Garden Herbs, Cauliflower, Crème Fraiche, Extra Virgin Olive Oil which was light and pillowy but in a savory way. This creamy cheese had cloud-like consistency, almost a whisper, like what the freshest marshmallow seeks to be.
While Pacific Edge we had some delectable samplings to start, during our main course it was clear that these entrees were perhaps one of the most delicious and detail orientated meals we have had to date. Paired with a Weingut Brundlmayer 2004 Cabernet Franc from Austria the dinner was filled with so many divinely delectable dishes.
Being born and raised within miles from Barnegat Light, New Jersey (one of the seafood mecca’s of the country) Edible Skinny tends to be a little snobby about their seafood, especially scallops. While they are one of our favorite delicacies, scallops are usually overcooked and over-flavored, but not at Pacific’s Edge. We were blown away by their Maine Dayboat Scallops served with Grilled Asparagus, Romesco Sauce, Shishito Peppers, Crispy Basil. All seafood at Pacific Edge is never frozen, from ocean to table within 48 hours and what a difference in taste. These scallops were graceful in taste and presentation, they had just the right amount of rich and round notes, while still being airy, difficult in craft but an amazing juxtaposition to experience.
To accompany these tastes we also ordered a their impressive Parmesan Potato Gratin. Built with the towered flakiness of a croissant, the gratin mix and cheddar and rosemary was the perfect invitation to autumnal flavors we seek take comfort in during the colder seasons. To satisfy the herbivore in us, we also enjoyed Haricots Verts and Wild Mushroom Ravioli with Garlic Spinach. With an impressive mix of vegetarian options, Pacific Edge serves an exquisite vegetarian fare showcasing that less options doesn’t mean less flavor.
Impressive until the last moment, Pacific Edge dessert selection could be a separate dining experience in its own. The Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding with Sea Salt, Praline, Balsamic Caramel Ice Cream, had the perfect texture and tenderness. With most bread pudding as hard and overcooked, this dish was moist and runny in a good way, like great scrambled eggs in which technique can be perfected over the years. We also sampled Peanut Butter Mousse Cake with Vanilla Crème Chantilly, Manjari Chocolate Ganache Caramel Sauce, Roasted Peanuts along with a Tawny twenty year old port.
This is one of our best dining experience in California, and perhaps the states. So it you find yourself near the Carmel Highlands or even Monterey Peninsula, make the trip to Pacific Edge, a restaurant centered around the beauty of each delicious flavor with an unbeatable view. It is sure to be an edible experience you won’t forget. As always we at Edible Skinny hope life is delicious.