The iconic Bluewater Boathouse restaurant in Coronado prides itself on setting the standard for the freshest sustainably caught or farm-harvested seafood, innovatively prepared. Each month the restaurant mixes up its traditional menu by offering a special monthly tasting, introducing a unique style or type of seafood.
For their April and May tastings, Bluewater chefs in Coronado are going to great lengths — all the way to Alaska! — to create the restaurants’ all-new seafood tasting and pairing events. The menu, entitled “Inside Passage: A Seafood Journey,” debuts as the first Bluewater Second Tuesday Tastings dedicated to seafood and shellfish from the Pacific Northwest, Canada, and Alaska. The April 12 and May 10 chef-hosted tasting and pairing events at Bluewater Boathouse Seafood Grill offer samples from the Bluewater Inside Passage Menu debuting in May.
- Tuesday, April 12, at 6:30pm – Inside Passage Tasting: Pan Seared Alaskan Halibut. Executive Chef Jason Mazur serves his signature Pan Seared Alaskan Halibut with Parmesan polenta cake, oyster mushrooms, spinach, and oven-roasted tomato vinaigrette, paired with a glass of Bluewater house white wine. The cost is $34.95 per person.
- Tuesday, May 10, at 6:30pm – Inside Passage Tasting: Washington Cedar Plank Salmon. Chef Jason Mazur offers wild sockeye salmon cooked on a cedar plank and topped with shaved fennel, caramelized cauliflower and root vegetable gratin, and paired with an Acrobat Pinot Gris from Washington. The cost is $29.95 per person.
My husband and I had a chance to try the April tasting menu this week, and we thoroughly enjoyed both the creative menu and the dining experience at Bluewater. As we’ve come to expect from this excellent local restaurant, the staff were attentive and involved. We were seated and greeted by the manager on duty that evening, who walked us through the tasting menu and wine pairings. We also loved our skillful waiter, who made us feel at relaxed and cared for but was never intrusive.
We started off with our favorite Bluewater appetizer: the seared scallops with roasted jalapeño aioli, cilantro, and bacon — a burst of flavor sure to start any meal off well. Our wine pairings also arrived then: a bright Pinot Noir from Monterey and a dry, delicious Hermit Crab Viogner-Marsanne from South Australia. The latter paired especially well with the flavorful fish dishes we ate, and I liked it so much that I will be looking for a bottle to enjoy at home.
Our main dishes arrived with quiet fanfare: a long plate with the pan-seared halibut resting on a bed of Parmesan polenta, as well as a roasted salmon cake. We didn’t expect to also get to try the salmon — May’s tasting menu option — but were delighted to see that our meal also included this seared salmon cake topped with delicately shaved fennel and dill fronds.
I started with the salmon cake, which was a blend of smoked as well as regular salmon, coated with panko and served in a sauce of chive oil and tarragon aioli. The flavors of the dill, fennel, tarragon, and salmon paired beautifully. My only disappointment was that the cake was rather salty, but my husband pointed out mildly that it would probably be difficult to make a salmon cake from smoked salmon that wasn’t salty.
The halibut was a firm, meaty fish with a crisp exterior. I love fish but am not very familiar with halibut, so I was curious to see how the Bluewater Chef Jason Mazur chose to present it. The fish itself didn’t have too much flavor and has a very low fat content, so the chef had paired it with several “juicier” items that complemented the fish well: sauteed spinach and oyster mushrooms, a delicious Parmesan polenta cake, and a generous amount of oven-roasted tomato vinaigrette. As a result, I could enjoy the wholesome, fresh fish dipped in bright sauce or paired on my fork with many different textures and flavors. The large piece of halibut alone would have been overwhelming, but the meal was diverse and playful with so many different options.
According to Bluewater Boathouse co-owner and co-founder Jimmy Ulcickas, the two new tastings showcase Bluewater’s new Inside Passage Menu of seafood and shellfish selections debuting in May. “We host an annual Lobster and Clambake and very popular oyster and salmon celebrations – but this is the first time we’ve combined regional delicacies from Pacific Northwest, Canada, and Alaska all on the same seasonal menu. It’s the ultimate celebration for the seafood connoisseur.”
Like most Bluewater tastings and seasonal specials, the April and May events are timed to the opening of wild halibut and wild salmon fishing seasons, which allows Bluewater to offer seafood lovers the freshest, best-quality fish at the lowest prices of the year.
Ulcickas says that due to the all-favorites menus, the monthly events are expected to be popular. Advance reservations are strongly recommended. Consistent with Bluewater Grill’s commitment to seafood sustainability, all of the seafood and shellfish featured during the events and on the menu are sustainably harvested.
Offered on the second Tuesday of every month, Bluewater Grill’s monthly tasting events allow seafood aficionados to satisfy their cravings in a spirited setting featuring the latest seasonal fresh fish varieties and commentary by the restaurant’s resident seafood experts. During the April 12 and May 10 tasting events, resident chefs and seafood experts at each restaurant will be available to discuss preparation techniques, tips, and recipes.
For menus, locations and operating hours for the seven unique Bluewater restaurants in Southern California and Arizona, go to www.bluewatergrill.com. You can follow each restaurant on Facebook, or the Bluewater family on Instagram.