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Nov 28, 2008 06:19 PM

Golden Tee @ Monterey Airport (MRY)

For those of you looking for a “something for everyone” old school kitchen type of place for visiting kin during the holidays, I thought I’d post about the Golden Tee restaurant, an old-timer complete with full bar in the Monterey Airport terminal. I got this one from Uncle Ty, who recommends the sand dabs and the prime rib here. The recently redecorated restaurant validates parking in the airport’s short-term lot just outside the terminal entrance.

Golden Tee Restaurant -

My mom and I tried it this summer for the first time, and scored a comfortable booth with a view of planes landing and the sweep of the bay in the background.

Runway view -

We were there on a Wednesday, when we learned that prime rib is one of the lunch specials on Mondays and Fridays only. The prime rib is available every night for dinner. Our waitress encouraged us to come back at dinner hour for a BIG slab of prime rib. She also explained that the same menu is available in the bar, from the same kitchen, when the restaurant dining room is closed between lunch and dinner.

Lunch menu -

Mom ordered the sand dab plate and I had the Monterey combo (calamari and sand dabs). These come with a choice of soup or salad, and we got one of each. The green salad had a bed of chopped iceberg lettuce topped with some fancier greens. While I won’t order the Italian dressing again, the vinaigrette made with red wine vinegar and served on the side is very good.

Lunch salad -

The clam chowder’s quite respectable too, made in the New England style with chopped clams, potatoes, celery, bacon, and thyme in a slightly thickened base. It needs more clam flavor though.

Clam chowder -

The seafood dishes are described as “grilled” on the menu. But I couldn’t have been more delighted when our food turned out to be served doré style. That is, the filets of fish and calamari steaks were egg-washed and griddled in butter staying quite moist. It’s been ages since I’ve had this old-fashioned type of prep, and this trip down memory lane was quite delicious especially accompanied by the killer tartar sauce. Fresh corn on the cob and some good mashed potatoes completed the plate. The Monterey combo at $16.95, was a lot of food, enough for two meals. Mom prefers the sand dabs, whereas I think the calamari is superior.

Sand dab and calamari combo lunch plate, $16.95 -

Back again for a Friday lunch, I had a chance to try the prime rib sandwich, offered as a lunch special for $15.95. The other daily specials were salmon, halibut, beef teriyaki, and a reuben sandwich. But I only had eyes for the prime rib, especially after I saw one and smelled the beefy aromas of an order for another table. An inch-thick slab of prime rib is perched on a buttered and grilled slice of sourdough bread. The fresh veggies this time were some very tasty French green beans, and again those good mashed potatoes. Medium-rare as ordered, this wasn’t the most tender prime rib, but it was as satisfying as any, especially when doused with the cup of jus and powerful creamed horseradish.

Prime rib sandwich, $15.95 -

There’s nothing earth-shattering here or trendy, rather well-prepared local classics. With very good and friendly service and attraction of runway views, Golden Tee offers a glimpse into this area’s culinary past that is very welcome today.

2001 Monterey County Weekly review -

Golden Tee
206 Fred Kane Dr, Monterey, CA 93940

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    1. re: toodie jane

      And here's local celebrity, Chef John Pisto, with his recipe for petrale sole dore'.

      My childhood remembrances are of abalone prepared doré-style, or sometimes rex sole or petrale sole.

      I'll mention that the two times I've been to Golden Tee, the bar/lounge area is busier than the restaurant, even when the restaurant is open. I imagine that's where the locals hang out. My brother said the crowd reminded him of the active seniors who frequent Westlake Joe's in Daly City. The bar has booths too, as well as the bar area and a TV for sports. Outside is a heated seating area right next to the runway if you're a real airplane junkie.

      I've also tried the vegetable soup, which was fresh and cleansing. I had a glass of Ventana Vineyards Pinot Gris, $7, that was very good. The winery is already sold out of the latest release. It was brought to me in a small carafe and poured into the wine glass at the table, a nice touch.

      1. re: Melanie Wong

        I learned this egg-dip technique from an 80's Sunset spiral-bound Basics Cookbook, but didn't know till now that it had a formal name. I used it on petrale sole most often, with a brown butter almond sauce. It is good, very subtle and fresh. Time I used it again--I've been in a cornmeal crust rut.

        1. re: toodie jane

          Ah yes, the time-honored sole amandine, another classic that has disappeared from menus!

        2. re: Melanie Wong

          Thanks for the link to the John Pisto recipes. I lived in Mty when his show was first on TV. Learned a lot. Unfortunately, that link has only a very few of his recipes from the original programs. I know he did bread and tomato soup and canned sardine pasta sauce among many other things.

          But I'd forgotten about Sole Dore - thanks again!

          1. re: Ed Dibble

            Here's a better link on the same site . . . five years later.

            The sardine pasta recipe is there. I've googled for the bread and tomato soup and looked at Pisto's recipe index, but not turning up a recipe for that.

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              Thanks, I appreciate, but the sardine pasta recipe is the only difference (I think). Don't worry about the tomato bread soup - I still remember how to make that - I just can't get stellar crusty Italian loaves and overripe heirloom tomatoes like in Monterey.

      2. After a break of a couple years, Mom and I were back there last night with some friends. This was my first time there for dinner and the runway lights and across the bay made for an attractive night time view.

        Mom had the sandabs, $18.95, and I had the prime rib, $24.95. Both came with choice of clam chowder or green salad, a choice of starch (mashed potatoes, rice or twice-baked potato), and sauteed veggies (broccoli, carrots and turnip). The twice-baked potato was studded with bacon bits. The sandabs were just the same as before with the egg wash. My prime rib was as rare as ordered. I had requested the bone so my piece was nearly 1 1/2" thick. Needless to say, I had a lot to take home withe me, and my waiter packed up some extra jus to go.

        The blue cheese dressing on my salad deserves a special mention. Our server said the dressings are all prepped in-house, no bottled stuff.

        Still delivering good value and wholesome, consistently good food. It's nice to know that some things stay the same.

        1. Last month, Mom, my brother and I caught an early dinner here. This time we took a booth in the cocktail lounge for a little bit different view of the runway and Monterey Bay. I'd been looking forward to a prime rib sandwich, but none available that day.

          New to us was a tabletop menu card of appetizers, most of the deep-fried to have with drinks variety. We ordered the tempura battered artichoke hearts, $7.95, and they were a stand-out. Very light though not exactly tempura-like batter, and a delicious aioli for dipping.

          Mom was happy with her big bowl of clam chowder, $6.95. It seemed to have more clam flavor this time.

          William had the Crab Louis, $14.95, though I warned him that it was likely frozen since Dungeness season hadn't started yet. A lot of crab, and rather light on greens.

          For me, the Caesar salad topped with griddled calamari, $12.95. Good garlicky dressing, crisp Romaine gems, plenty of shaved parmesan, and the seasoned croutons were top notch. Calamari was bland this day, hopefully a one-off.