Restaurant Review – “333 Pacific” is the flashiest kid on the block
Oceanside’s 333 Pacific is complete with an exciting bar and lounge specializing in 100-plus vodkas from around the world, specialty wines, big screen TV with breathtaking scenery featured daily, lively music, and an up-beat wait-staff going about their business with their cordial expertise.
The inside dining room offers a very nice ocean view, but the large outdoor patio is up close and personal with the majestic Pacific. In addition, two private party rooms can accommodate a variety of occasions, including wine tasting dinners.
As for the cuisine, nothing beats indulging in a California-centric menu featuring soups, salads and sushi, as well as signature steaks and chops and an array of seafood. In a collaborative effort with John Nye, Culinary Director for the Cohn Restaurant Group, Executive Chef Randy Miller creates a stellar menu highlighting local seasonal ingredients, wholesome preparations, and an all-around celebration of the pleasures of the table.
“The menu is reflective of my travels and Californian roots,” says Miller. “Local and organic ingredients are the freshest and have the best flavor profiles.”
A recent phenomenon in many restaurants is ahi in any form. Miller takes velvety raw ahi and serves it poke style (poke comes from the Hawaiian word meaning “small cut pieces or cubes”). For the Tuna Eggplant Tempura, ahi poke is nestled atop tempura-fried eggplant slices, rendering a charismatic blend of tenderness and spiciness with eel sauces and wasabi tobiko. The Ahi Stack for Two is equally innovative with sashimi grade ahi tuna, sushi rice, avocado, mango, cucumber, crispy shallot and soy vinaigrette.
“Ahi is my favorite fish, so anything on the menu with ahi is a winner as far as I am concerned,” says Miller. “I believe everyone that visits the restaurant needs to try something that they haven’t tried before. Being adventurous and trying new things makes dining exciting.”
According to Miller, a great dish has a depth of flavors and various textures. His philosophy rings true with the Prime Hangar Steak with 333 spice rub.
“This is a favorite dish of mine,” says Miller. “I like to recommend the hangar steak because it’s a less common cut of meat and not familiar to everyone. Plus, our signature rub makes it even more delicious.”
Another popular meat dish is the 333 Filet Trio presented with three filets, each with a different preparation including peppercorn demi, oscar, and blue cheese crust. “I love the assortment and variety a guest can experience in one dish, especially enjoying one item prepared in three distinct ways,” explained Miller.
Being of Italian decent, I asked Miller if he had any Italian-inspired dishes that might fit my fancy. He recommended the Sea Bass Barigoule with pesto broth, red and yellow tomatoes and artichoke hearts as well as the Linguini with Manila Clams, garlic, lemon-parmesan herb cream sauce and arugula. Words cannot adequately express my epicurean enchantment.
“My sole inspiration is the guest,” he said. “I enjoy taking their feedback and adjusting my dishes to please them.”
Dessert also proves an amazing foodie adventure with Chocolate Brioche Bread Pudding boasting chocolate on chocolate warmed with toffee, caramel sauce and vanilla ice-cream. In complete contrast, the Baked Alaska Colada, showing off pineapple sponge cake with rum sauce, coconut ice-cream, toasted meringue and blackberry coulis, proved that chocolate truly can have a nasty rival.
“I love seeing people walk out of the restaurant with a smile and a full belly,” concludes Miller.
Maria Desiderata Montana is an award-winning food and wine journalist, editor, and published author based in San Diego. She gained an appreciation of European cuisine from her parents who were born and raised in Calabria, Italy. Visit her website at www.sandiegofoodfinds.com.