Moonraker: Updated and Open Again in Pacifica
I read on a local Pacifica news board that they would be opening this week, so we stopped by this evening for a glass of wine and an app to check them out.
There is a little bit of background on grubstreet and a sample menu was posted a couple of weeks ago.
The chef also has Barolo restaurant in Pacifica.
The space, which operated as the Moonraker during the late 70's and 80's, was more recently called Portofino. It is in the Lighthouse hotel and has great views directly facing Rockaway Beach.
The new owners have done a nice job of updating the interior, while retaining the basic structure that makes this a great ocean view restaurant. There are two tiers of seating, so the windowside booths are a few steps down from the rest of the space. A second level of booths and a few 4-top tables still have panoramic surf views even through they are set back from the windows. You can still see the crashing waves from the bar area towards the rear of the room. The booths are semi-circular in tan leather, quite generously sized. There are smaller versions of booths in the bar area, cozy.
The menu that was on offer tonight was quite a bit abbreviated from the sample that was posted on grubstreet. I am hoping that they will be expanding it as they get settled in.
We had a couple of wines by the glass and a crab cake appetizer ($11) and a half chilled cracked crab ($14). Both were nicely presented and well prepared. The entrees on tonight's menu were in the $20+ to $30 range. There was a list of house cocktails that were all $10.
re: Melanie Wong
I've been three times since it opened and so far it is definitely better than decent food with a fantastic view. Since I live on the coast it is becoming one of my go to spots. I typed it into the search box this morning just to see what the Hounds are saying about it. Which turns out to be not much.
I think it is definitely worth a visit and you'll likely not be disappointed if you are looking for mostly refined California-French. I have especially loved the roasted dungeness crab legs and my husband has a hard time getting past the skate. The mushroom soup and composed salads are refined in the best sense of French technique bearing on California bounty. The Foie Gras was very good and very nicely presented. I posted a picture of it on Facebook and the consensus was that it was Food Art. I thought so too.
I've had some small service issues in the dining room-on one of my visits the waiter was just not at all knowledgeable about the menu and his English was only so-so. But his actual service was flawless. On the other hand the bartendress that was there last time was a passionate mixologist but in a very down to earth way.
The room is stunning-and the restaurant really can be almost anything you ant it to be-a date night, a client dinner, a family celebration, two friends rolling in after a beach walk for a snack a the bar.
It's not perfect, nor up to the standards of Chez Spencer (which for no good reason that I can think of it reminds me of) but I think it could turn into something of a local gem. Fingers crossed.
It should be a local gem. I hope they have found their niche since my early visit right after they opened. I found their menu very limited and too pricey.
No question that the view is stunning and they did a nice job on the decor. Have they expanded the menu since opening? The web site still looks the same.
BTW, the new place, Surf Spot, is opening today right across the road. I hope to try it one evening this week.
The menu has changed some. The veal chop is gone, replaced by a rib eye or New York at a lower price point. There is also a bar menu now available in the bar only that has things like burgers and truffle fries on it. I haven't eaten much from it yet but what I have seen looks pretty good. They also have happy hour pricing on drinks and oysters and maybe some other starters to0 (but I'm not sure about the latter.) I think they are trying to keep the high end vibe while giving the locals a comfortable more "day in and day" out alternative. Thanks for the tip on Sun Spot-it's now on the to try list.