Some dear friends from LA offered to drive down to Laguna Beach to meet me for lunch while I was out in California visiting my son Eric’s family. My daughter-in-law Casey recommended Splashes at the Surf & Sand Hotel as the restaurant is right on the beach with views of the Pacific waves hitting the shore. That and I had read that Executive Chef, Ron Fougeray served up fresh seaside cuisine.
While waiting for our lunch, we nibbled their fresh bread and homemade yummy sun-dried tomato and olive tapenade spread, being careful not to ruin our appetite by finishing it.
My friends started with the rich tableside lobster bisque ($18). The regular portion comes with a lobster salad in the soup bowl with the server pouring the hot soup over that. The smaller portion that accompanied a sandwich choice came sans the extra lobster. My very large portion of crisp octopus ($17) came with batter-fried sea beans, sliced daikon radishes, sunchoke creme, diced cooked rhubarb, diced poblano pepper and a cured olive coulis.
Their version of a Caesar salad ($17) included a small portion of charred little gem lettuce with tapenade tossed with a buttermilk & white anchovy dressing and topped with sourdough crostini; my friend added grilled shrimp (+$9) to that. I thought they could have included lots more lettuce!
I had the hearty blackened swordfish sandwich ($23) topped with lettuce, an heirloom tomato slice, pickled onions and fresh avocado on a rosemary ciabatta bun spread with ramp pesto and a cucumber and tomatillo salsa. I found that so very California dining. My other friend indulged in the grass-fed burger ($22), cooked as requested, topped with red wine onions jam, escarole, pickled Fresno chilies on onion brioche spread with five peppercorn aioli.