Saturday, July 11, 2020

Behind the Scenes with Creators of Serẽa at The Del

Guests can look forward to trying the stand out High Tide Cocktail at Serẽa with Blanco Tequila, Meyer Lemon Juice, Ginger Beet Juice, Thai Basil, and Liquid Nitrogen in Shell with Coconut Oil.

Sharing a passion for fresh whole fish, Andy Masi and Chef JoJo Ruiz are the perfect partners at Clique Hospitality, who will be debuting their newest venture, Serẽa, the third week of June in time for summer solstice at The Hotel Del. “Serẽa will offer an evolving sustainable, sea-to-table experience to keep the menu dynamic. We will focus on anticipating what diners want,” says Masi. “We want locals to ask what’s on the menu this week, so they can enjoy favorite dishes or try something new.”

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People in Coronado love good food and want to know who is behind this latest offering.  Clique Hospitality currently has nearly a dozen venues with most in Las Vegas, Lionfish at the Pendry Hotel in San Diego, and another opening soon in Florida. Masi got involved in the hospitality industry by working to pay for college as a bartender. He was studying to be a history teacher, but found that he had a passion for working in the hospitality industry and it paid the bills. Although Masi is not a chef, he has extensive experience travelling and eating at hundreds of restaurants around the world and it is safe to say that he knows what guests want in a dining experience. Ruiz grew up in Chula Vista, and always had a passion for food.  He completed culinary school at the San Diego Culinary Institute and worked his way up in the San Diego food scene, and was recently recognized by the James Beard Foundation as a Smart Catch Leader. He doesn’t have one signature dish, but loves anything from the ocean, joking, “Nothing is too fishy for me.”

Baked Feta Appetizer

Both Masi and Ruiz call San Diego County home, even though they have projects in other regions. They are focused on this latest project, Serẽa, which came together over dinner with executives and friends from The Blackstone Group, who own The Del. They had a working relationship on other projects, and this seemed like a natural fit. “We want to create a connection of what both residents and hotel guests want,” says Masi

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Masi and Ruiz collaborated on all aspects of Serẽa from concept, vibe, food, drinks, and even the tiniest details like color, to ensure a superior guest experience. They worked with award winning Studio Munge, who have clients from all over including Hong Kong, New York and Canada, and are known for their inspiring design esthetic. Together, they visited restaurants around the world with principal Alessandro Munge to capture the perfect feeling for Serẽa.

A wow standout factor will be the indoor/outdoor bar with talented mixologists serving creatively crafted cocktails in unique vessels.  The international wine list will feature European, California and Baja California offerings to pair with the coastal cuisine experience.

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Garlic Harissa Chicken Kabob

One of the outstanding attractions of Serẽa will be the beautiful display of fresh fish from which diners can select a whole fish and then have it exquisitely prepared to enhance the flavor. It can then be shared among guests at the table or enjoyed for an entree. Ruiz has a strong connection with local fishermen, and they often call him on their way back from a catch late morning and tell him what is available. That same fish arrives at the restaurant door later that afternoon and he and his staff create specials based on the fresh catch and seasonal fruit and vegetables.

Shrimp Al Ajillo

Highlights of the Serẽa menu include: Whole Grilled Local Spot Prawns with Local Seaweed, Mojo De Ajo and Grilled Lemon and a Wood Roasted Shellfish Platter with Baja and West Coast Oysters, Salt Spring Mussels, Mexican Blue Ship, seasonal Crab baked in Baugna Cauda, and finished with California EVOO and sea salt.

The two describe the vibe of Serẽa as elegant, bright and fresh. It will feel like it belongs in this iconic setting, reflecting the name which means mermaid in Portuguese. “Even after being involved with the project for a year and a half, we are still blown away by the design as we ready the restaurant for the public,” they both comment.

This week, Ruiz reports that the grill is operational, and he will fire up the kitchen to begin testing. When asked about the actual anticipated opening day, Masi put his flag in the ground saying that it will be open the third week in June, with the soft opening for locals held in the prior weeks to give a sneak peek and solicit feedback.

 

 

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Jennifer Velez
Jennifer fell in love with Coronado as a teenager while visiting a college friend. She vowed that someday she would make it her home, and that dream has recently become a reality. Fast forward through completing college with a BA in Journalism, Public Relations and Communications, she then went on to work with a variety of clients. She also taught Journalism and coordinated fundraising for her children’s school, and was a staff writer for San Diego Family Magazine and contributed to other parenting publications. Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: manager@coronadotimes.com
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