Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Things I'm thankful for...

This Thanksgiving I'm thankful for new restaurants that know how to knock it out of the park with their food, ambiance, and service. Though it seems like such a simple task, it really is an art; and when a restaurant nails all three, it is truly an occasion to be celebrated. Lure Fish House, the newest addition to Camarillo's restaurant scene, is just one of these places.

The newest endeavor of David Cortina, owner of a number of restaurants in San Diego, Lure is artfully managed and nuanced by front of house executive, Stephen Schmidt, who can be found browsing the restaurant, greeting customers, making wine recommendations, and pretty much working the room with finesse.

The interior of the restaurant, which you would never guess was formally a Coco's, is all about attention to detail: over-sized sculptural light fixtures, small blown glass pendants, an oyster bar which offers a front row seat of the kitchen, a three-sided cocktail bar, deep booths, an extensive beer, wine, cocktail list, and a well-crafted modern feel. The service during our meal was impeccable- from the hostess opening the door for everyone entering the restaurant to the guy behind the oyster bar shucking oysters and rolling out both conversation and ceviche cocktails.

Now to the food. We sampled oyster's on the half-shell with spicy horseradish and cups of piping hot New England clam chowder (the recipe borrowed from a friend of Cortina's in Scituate, Massachusetts), alongside a Camarillo strawberry cocktail and icy cold Fat Tire Ale. For entrées we enjoyed the mesquite charbroiled halibut (light and simple fish with a vibrant kick) with a side of crispy shoestring potatoes and comforting creamed corn, and the seared ahi tuna (so perfectly cooked, it melts in the mouth). We rounded out the evening with a trio of sorbets in an icy cold cocktail glass - a surprisingly refreshing finish to a decadent evening.

Though they've only been open since last week, this is a restaurant with an old soul and a bright future. All of their seafood complies with the Monterey Bay Aquarium seafood watch standards, and all of their prices remain under $20. Lunch service starts next week and starting tomorrow, customers will be able to order live dungeness crab (prepared to order) from their front row seat at the oyster bar.