Dine | Splashes Restaurant

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swimming in freshness

The seasonal menu at Splashes Restaurant features dishes as refreshing as the ocean breeze.

“It’s very light, fresh, vibrant, simple,” says Executive Chef Jeff Armstrong of his summer menu at Splashes Restaurant. This approach is a perfect match for the chic décor and oceanfront location—directly above the sand just feet from the waves.

Chef Jeff is out to leave diners feeling good after a summer meal. “It really fits where Splashes is on the coast—and it has a little bit of a Mediterranean feel to it,” he says. “We’ve really tried to stick with the season and local farmers market products. Within the menu we’ve gotten rid of most of the starches with the proteins; they’re all very vegetable, fresh, fiber friendly. I think there’s only one dish on the menu that has cream or butter in it. ”

This trend toward light, fresh, seasonal ingredients is indicative of where Jeff has taken Splashes since coming on board last summer. If you haven’t dined there in the past year, it’s not the same restaurant you remember. “It’s a completely different style—it’s a lot fresher and a lot more modern,” Jeff explains.

“I just think you feel good after you eat it,” he says of the menu. “You can add a lot of flavor without a rich, huge coating of the palate. It’s like a good wine; in the summer you don’t want to drink a huge cabernet, you’d rather have a lighter white or red.”

And speaking of wine, the staff is happy to recommend an appropriate wine pairing for each course. The wine list features more than 200 wines from around the world, with an emphasis on California wines. Appetizers on the new menu include BBQ octopus, sourced from a quality supplier in Spain and made with white beans, plums and mint; tuna tartare; grilled asparagus; and smoked albacore. The heirloom tomatoes (pictured above, left) are an amazing choice—brightly colored with a bonanza of flavors to match, featuring Charentais melon, chili bread crumbs and elderflower. A favorite among meat eaters and vegetarians alike is the sweet corn ravioli (pictured above, middle) with basil butter and tomato shallot salad, which is simply perfect and will have guests fork-fighting over the last morsels.

To capture flavors at their peak, Jeff waited until summer was underway to create the menu. “I like to have a summer menu come out a week after actual summer starts and let everything ripen up,” he says. Then he finds the best of the season, trying to source locally whenever possible but focusing on the quality of the product first and foremost. “This style of food is really showcasing that main product, so that’s what important to me,” he says.

The summer menu features red meat, seafood, chicken and vegetarian entrees, such as grilled lamb sirloin with braised fennel and blood orange gastrique; seared ahi tuna with shitake mushrooms, chickpeas and sesame vinaigrette; roasted salmon with green beans, cherry tomatoes, green olives and basil aioli; and heirloom squash farrotto. Arrange each forkful carefully, as every part works together to create the perfect combination of sweet, salty and savory, Jeff says—advice certainly worth heeding on your next trip to this local gem.   LBM

Splashes Restaurant at the Surf & Sand Resort
1555 S. Coast Hwy.
949-376-2779;
surfandsandresort.com

Hours:
7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
(open till 11 p.m. Friday – Saturday);  closed 3 – 5 p.m. daily

Prices:
$31 – $42 (entrees)



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