The bold lines of the Frank Lloyd Wright-style Point Pinos Grill were perfectly framed by the setting sun, the clouds over the ocean glowing in beautiful shades of red and purple. As a friend and I walked towards the restaurant door, we paused a while on the patio to drink in the magnificent view.
Coming off a renovation and revamping of their menu, we were truly excited to see what Chef Tom Stutzman—a New England Culinary Institute grad and renowned meal-maker in North Shore Lake Tahoe—had in store. From the moment we were seated and began to peruse the menu, we knew we wouldn’t be disappointed.
The new seasonal menu, which makes its debut for Monterey Bay Restaurant Week, brings forth all the delights of autumn in Pacific Grove. Using a palette of infinitely fresh, local ingredients, the carte du jour was an exercise in simple grace. Although it was very tempting, we opted to forgo the prix fixe offering and order instead from the standard menu. Broiled Castroville artichokes with a bacon aioli (“bacon makes everything great,” our server beamed) and superb Parmesan cheese started off our epicurean adventure, the artichokes perfectly cooked and bursting with flavor.
The entrees were venerable. Torn between pumpkin ravioli and fish, I ordered the latter. The California white sea bass—hook and line caught in accordance with the chef’s philosophy of serving only sustainable foods—was broiled to perfection, plump and still flaky and accented by a wild mushroom and bacon mélange rolled up in leaves of fresh chard. The seafood paella was nothing short of spectacular. Beautiful bay scallops, fresh clams and shrimp and a not-too-spicy sausage blended perfectly in the Spanish tradition, and the portion size was impressive.An autumn salad was next for me. It featured a heaping pile of fresh greens with tart green apple, chunks of persimmon, real-deal California white cheddar and light vinaigrette. My companion went for the classic Caesar, bursting with the essence of local anchovies and a not-overly-strong dressing.
Coffee and espresso were all we had room for after the repast, but it won’t be long before we venture back to indulge in the “grown-up S’mores” and house made ice cream. And of course the missed apps and entrees—from salmon to ribeye, gnocchi to calamari—no doubt warrant a second trip to this cozy spot by the sea.
Point Pinos Grill, located at 79 Asilomar Boulevard in Pacific Grove, is open seven days a week from 7am until 3pm for breakfast and lunch. Happy Hour from 3-5 pm Monday through Friday. Dinner Wednesday through Sunday nights (last seating at 8:30 pm.)