To celebrate MK's birthday, the merry threesome went to Passionfish Restaurant in Pacific Grove, owned by the Carmel Valley team of Ted and Cindy Walter. The restaurant is rated Best Restaurant in Monterey County / Best Restaurant Pacific Grove / Best Seafood Restaurant / Best Sustainable Restaurant (2012) by Coast Weekly. We were definitely among the believers.
Our dinner was superbly over-the-top. We started tastes, with an array of appetizers including cheese gnocchi, salmon tostaditas, crispy smoked bacon fritters, and Morro Bay oysters with spicy red curry slaw.
Then we each had an entree. A pesto stuffed rainbow trout with vegetables, and the special shrimp over beans and feta cheese dish of the evening.
To accompany the meal, we had a superb Pinot Noir created by the daughter, and her husband, of the owners of Passionfish. Megan Walter Glaab and her husband Ryan Glaab met while working in wineries in Australia. Since 2007, they have owned their own winery called Ryme Cellars. We tasted from their second, and newer, group of wines called Verse, inaugurated in 2011. Our 2011 Pinot Noir was a beautiful garnet color and had a bright, light fruity taste that was the perfect accompaniment to both the entrees. The wine is listed under the Pinot Noir section called The Cool Kids.
The wine list at Passion Fish is varied, extensive and interesting. Certain wines are marked as sustainable and you can order a glass, half bottle or bottle. And the restaurant is known, rightfully so, for its fair wine pricing. This is a wine aficionado’s paradise.
To end our evening, we had three luscious desserts--the special of the night, a fruit cobbler topped with vanilla bean ice cream, with a birthday candle in it; a banana bread pudding that was divine; and a palate cleansing Meyer lemon panna cotta.
Passionfish serves, as their website says, "food from the heart." It's unique, inventive, lively and "dedicated to serving sustainable seafood harvested in a manner that does not harm the ocean floor, result in by-catch of endangered sea turtles or support fisheries with poor stock status."
This is the kind of restaurant we want to support. It offers everything that a good steward of good food and wines is all about.