After 13 years of heading the kitchen at Marinus, the formal restaurant at the 57-room Bernardus Lodge in Carmel Valley, Calif., chef Cal Stamenov is exploring the wild side. The restaurant reopened in May with a new 60-seat dining room—designed to feel lighter and more connected to the outdoors—and Stamenov’s new menu, which dives into the local landscape with themes such as Farmed & Foraged and dishes that shout the bounty of Monterey Bay.
A meal at Marinus might begin with halibut sashimi—pure white, with the sweetness and delicacy of crab—made with fish pulled from the bay that morning and embellished with briny uni and intriguing herbs such as tangerine lace. Monterey Bay abalone is served in a “carbonara” made with quail-egg yolk. Foraged mushrooms and wild watercress may complement rich slabs of Wagyu beef grilled over mesquite and oak.
Pastry chef Ben Spungin’s new dessert menu offers sublime finishes such as black-truffle ice cream served with dark-chocolate cremeaux or blackberry-and-lemon-verbena parfait with rough pistachio sponge. The restaurant is supplied by Bernardus Lodge’s expanded, 6-acre organic garden and orchard, and by the property’s winery (its tasting room is just down the road). But Mark Buzan’s 1,500-label wine list ranges far beyond the estate, with a deep selection of Burgundy, as well as inspired choices from Germany, which might make the best partners to Stamenov’s sprightly new menu.
Marinus, 831.658.3595, www.bernardus.com