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STUDIO AT MONTAGE- LAGUNA BEACH

The food here is as stunning as the incomparable view of the pristine ocean.  We ate dinner outside under the bright stars of the crisp California sky and kept warm by the heating lamps amid the sound of waves crashing on the shore.  The world class culinary team is headed by Chef Strong, a San Diego native.  He is well known for his modern French cuisine which has a strong California influence. The first course was a tuna tartare served with a green bean salad in a kabocha (Japanese) squash consomme and topped with radishes.  The tuna tartare was simple yet full of flavor.  I chose a delicious creamed sweet corn soup for the second course.  The sweetness of the soup and the corn cake complemented perfectly with the salty flavor of the feta cheese and prosciutto.  The black cod with espelette pepper was the crowning glory of the meal.  Little sauce was needed for this wonderful fish cooked to flaky white perfection.  Served with prince edward island mussels and white beans, this succulent fish was probably one of the best I’ve ever tasted.   For dessert, I chose the decadent chocolate sphere.  The rich chocolate sauce poured over the melting chocolate ball with a salted caramel ice cream center was a pure visual and delicious delight.   The menu also offers a reasonably priced seasonal tasting menu paired with wine.  $$$$. 30801 South Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, California.  949-715-6420.

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