Point Pinos Grill in Pacific Grove: Ocean view, golf, local food
A late post, but hopefully someone can add more recent updates. Mom and I had lunch at Point Pinos Grill on July 20, 2011, the day after the official opening and ribbon cutting introducing the new restaurant management team, Aqua Terra Culinary. Aqua Terra’s committed to local, seasonal, sustainable sourcing and brought this philosophy here.
The Grill is essentially the clubhouse for the municipal Pacific Grove Golf Links, near the Point Pinos Lighthouse, and just a lovely spot. Here’s the view from our window table,
We shared the fried calamari appetizer to start. This was as good as it gets --- light and greaseless with calamari rings and tentacles, fennel, and lemon slices served with a strong horseradish-doused cocktail sauce and garlic mayo.
I especially loved the fried lemon slices.
Mom had the fish and chips, made with local rock cod. Despite the anemic appearance, the fries were crisp and intensely potato-ey tasting. The fish had a very thick and hard coating of batter that she pulled off. She felt the slaw had too much mayonnaise.
I ordered the roasted apricot, pine nut, arugula, fennel, and roast pork loin composed salad. The pork loin was very dry and the salad was underseasoned. Good quality veggies though.
Again, this was early on and I bet the faults we found have been corrected by now. Who else has been here?
Point Pinos Grill
79 Asilomar Blvd
Pacific Grove, CA 93950
Sunday through Tuesday 7:30am – 5pm
Wednesday through Saturday 7:30am – 8:30pm.
Warm and sunny on Boxing Day, I thought this was a good time to head to the Monterey Peninsula for lunch with Mom and my brother to see what was new here. The ocean view on a blue sky day still beguiles and one can even see white water spume from the dining room. The patio outside has new tables and chairs for more comfortable dining al fresco. Things were quite a bit busier than we expected at 1pm, and with just one server outside and one inside, probably took the restaurant by surprise too. The kitchen was probably on skeleton crew staffing as well, as there were some long delays in getting our food. Our server tried her best to keep up on this busy day.
Mom only wanted a cup of clam chowder, $5, and coffee, $2. The serving of chowder’s quite generous, certainly more than eight ounces. Tasting mostly of rich cream and bacon, this could use more clams and clam juice. But it’s not pasty and the flavors seemed natural.
Most of the other patrons were enjoying burgers. But William and I decided to split two appetizers and a salad, and that turned out to be more than we could finish. I had ordered a glass of Bernardus Sauvignon Blanc, and when it did not arrive before our food came out, I asked the server to cancel it. She brought out a half-glass compliments of the bartender with our next course . . . and saved her tip. That turned out to be just the right amount of wine for me and a good match with the seafood dishes.
Once again, the crisp fried calamari, $9.95, was the star. So sweet and tender with a delicately crisp and flaky batter, and I really love the fried fennel and lemon slices. The cocktail sauce was toned down on the horseradish end and had a sweeter finish. And the aioli was as lumpy as my first time.
The mussels with frites appetizer, $12, was excellent also and would make a satisfying lunch in and of itself. A large portion of plump mussels bathed in coconut red curry sauce with aromatic basil, mint, scallions, and cilantro gave this an exotic personality. The skinny French fries were great, though William commented that he would have preferred bread for mopping up the sauce.
The apple and endive salad, $9.95, was described as “endive, fresh apple, candied pecans, blue cheese, white balsamic vinaigrette” on the menu. I pointed out to our waitress that this salad featured arugula and radicchio plus a little bit of frisee and had none of the promised endive at all. And added that we’d keep it any way. The Granny Smith apples had a fresh snap to them, and there was almost an outsized proportion of blue cheese and candied mixed nuts. I’ll add a shout-out for the house spiced organic nuts . . . they’re freshly roasted, very rich and explode with flavor.
For dessert, the sweet potato bourbon bundt cake. Here’s the dessert menu,
When it was brought to the table, I told the runner that it was missing the whipped cream described on the menu. Our server soon returned to our table to say that the kitchen had forgotten to make whipped cream that day and was working on it.
If I’d been in a hurry, I would have asked for vanilla ice cream on the side instead. But the thick, freshly whipped cream was almost worth the wait. This cake was not that moist and needed the accompaniment.
This turned out to be an unintentionally leisurely paced lunch. Not a problem in the grill’s comfortable room with nice scenery. According to the receipt, our waitress’s name is Jody and she was a champ. My brother took care of the bill and I asked him to tip 20%, plus an extra $5 for the gratis wine, totaling $65 for the three of us.
New since my first time here is an extensive lounge menu that starts at 3pm daily and some happy hour drink discounts during the week beginning at 4pm. The restaurant’s dinner service is on hold until spring.
re: Melanie Wong
You nailed it, I don't play golf! This happens to be a public course, anyone can play there or eat in the restaurant. It lies in the shadow of Pebble Beach.
The current management took over in 2011, and I've heard the previous operators were nothing to write home about. It's a firm that's known for farm-to-table, or in this case, ocean-to-table cooking. I'm sure its not an easy contract as the neighborhood limits how many nights a year it can stay open for dinner service or private events.
Prices are quite reasonable for the quality and the seafood sourcing is sustainable, not a given even in this part of the world. The seating has thick cushions and the tables are large enough to spread out. One of the few places where one can get a casual burger and enjoy a full bar. And there's a parking lot. This is really a hidden gem. So far, PB and I seem to be the only ones on Chowhound who've tried it.
re: Melanie Wong
I was just going to say that!
I last ate at Stillwater Bar & Grill at the Lodge in 2011. Here's what the calamari looked like,
Don't recall the price, but I'm sure it was at least 50% higher than at PPG. And not as good.
Remember this spot for your next trip to Pebble. Here's the map so you can see how close it is. Just a little bit to the north.
Thanks for the reminder Melanie. We ate here in December and I meant to post on it but seem to have misplaced my notes.
I recall the mussels being excellent and the cioppino quite good as well. LadyPB doesn't remember what she had just that she loved it, pretty sure it was one of the fresh catch of the day offerings.
Our waiter did a good job, offering tastes of a nice selection of their wines BTG.
The space is very well done and not what you might expect to be found at a golf course. There were only two other diners on that Friday evening, but it was only about 10 days before Christmas.
Thanks for the update. I'd felt it had the potential to be very good but missed the mark early on. Glad to hear that the seafood and wine program satisfied.
Yes, the space is quite nice besides the view. Considering that this is a public golf course, even more unexpected. Lots of parking too.