Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Bon Appétit in San Diego

Bali Hai Restaurant
2230 Shelter Island Drive
San Diego (619) 222-1181

Surfing on the popularity of the Broadway musical South Pacific, Bali Hai debuted in October 1954 as the town's first "tiki temple," offering up Polynesian floor shows, "island" cuisine, and a cocktail list replete with planter's punch and near-lethal mai tais. This Shelter Island landmark emerged from several months of intensive remodeling with the same tiki vibe and World Famous Bali Hai Mai Tai. But its owners also made some important updates, including more serious Hawai'i-accented menus, created by respected chef Christopher Powell, and an even more panoramic view that now extends to the seagoing Coronado Islands floating off Baja California. There are no murals of island life, since murals require walls, and Bali Hai instead offers windows covering about 300 degrees of its circumference. By day, views encompass San Diego Bay and distant Mount San Miguel beyond downtown; by night, the backlit honey onyx bar lends drama to the richly polished tree trunks that support heavy roof beams. For starters, consider the lili'i tasting for two, a platter of ahi tartare, coconut shrimp, crispy spring rolls, and teriyaki-flavored edamame. The kama'ilina crab salad, decorated with papaya and hearts of palm and spiced with a kimchee "consomme," is also clever and satisfying. One of several culinary holdovers from the old Bali Hai menu is the crisp, savory Chicken of the Gods. It's good, but better choices include the elegantly garnished Maple Leaf duck breast or sizable New York steak with soy-flavored pesto and garlic-glazed choi sum. Among seafood options, standouts include a wok-fried whole striped bass served with Szechuan-style vegetables and an excellent Alaskan halibut with tempura squash blossoms. For a dessert as lovely as a Polynesian princess, look no further than the vanilla poached pineapple with a rum-soaked baba.
- Review by David Nelson, March 2011

Setting: A remodeled resort like location on Shelter Island, with rare woods inside and panoramic views of San Diego Bay
Service: Very friendly and informal
Best dishes: Kama'aina crab salad; Alaskan halibut; New York steak with soy pesto
Dinner prices: Starters, $7-$17 entrees, $1b-$24 desserts, $7

1 comment:

marufhosen said...

I saw this site, always going in a very nice theme.such matters is very difficult to find many great subject now is really nice, but I really liked your site.
honey onyx