Sea & Smoke, the newest restaurant by Chef Matt Gordon (Urban Solace, Solace & the Moonlight Lounge) recently opened and I just couldn’t wait to check it out. I was especially excited for this place because of the emphasis on seafood. It’s located in the Flower Hill plaza of Del Mar, near the Whole Foods that opened a few months ago.
After perusing the menu, we wanted to try almost everything. The dishes are designed to be shared family style, so we selected a variety of appetizers and main entrees to share. Luckily, we went with some pretty adventurous company.
Smoke Dip (cold smoked oysters, crème fraîche clam dip, squid ink crackers)
I loved the cold smoked oysters and the squid ink crackers. I wish there were a few more oysters and a little more sea taste in the crème fraîche clam dip, as I couldn’t taste any clam in the dip. I could nibble on those crackers all day.
Blackened Yellowtail Crudo (jalapeño ash, fresh lime, jicama, compressed watermelon)
This was light and refreshing, though none of the flavors really popped for me. I did enjoy the very sweet compressed watermelon.
Meat and Cheese Plate (venison-berkshire, duck prosciutto, black truffle wild boar, honeybee cheese)
Sea & Smoke offers a variety of artisan meats and cheeses and allows you to make your own combination board. We were really interested in the meat selection and it was tempting to get all meats. We decided to show some slight restraint, ordering a four item board, consisting of three meats and one cheese. It also comes with some grapes, candied pecans, bread.
The meats were quite interesting. I had never tried duck prosciutto. I loved the flavor but wished it wasn’t so oily. The black truffle wild boar, you could see specks of black truffle embedded in the meat. The venison had a mild gamey flavor. I thought the cheese portion was a little small. Next time, I might just order all meats.
Oven Baked Mussels (garlic, cumin rouille, cilantro, fresno chiles, grilled bread)
This was probably our least favorite dish of the night. There wasn’t anything particularly wrong with it, but it was nothing special and the sauce was quite bland. The grilled bread also wasn’t crunchy at all.
Niman Ranch Pork Belly (ginger-soy marinade, pickled fresno peppers, ginger)
The pork was moist, fatty, just like it should be. It was a generous chunk of pork belly and the ginger marinade went well with it.
Duck Duck Breast (sweet corn puree, corn relish)
The corn puree was sitting underneath the duck and given it’s pale white color, it actually looked more like congealed duck fat. I liked the thick-cut slice, making it reminiscent of eating steak, though it was overcooked since we ordered it medium rare and it was barely pink. It was a pleasant dish, but I’d try something else next time.
Clafoutis (Herb crust, berries, whipped brie, berry compote, toasted almonds)
The herb crust had a subtle herb flavor that curbed the clafoutis from being overly sweet. We enjoyed the this a lot. My one issue was that the whipped brie tasted like regular whipped cream.
Overall, we had a good time here and would like to come back and try some more dishes.
Sea & Smoke
2690 Via De La Valle, No. D210
Del Mar, CA 92014