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Monday, August 15, 2016

Coastal Grill brings “farm & sea to plate” at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Mandalay Beach Resort in Oxnard, California



The Embassy Suites by Hilton Mandalay Beach Resort is a hidden gem and like no other Embassy Suites. It is built more like a luxury beach resort versus a tall tower with an interior atrium that you would be more accustomed to visiting. The Coastal Grill is the on-site restaurant and sports high ceilings along with a rustic beachside feel. This restaurant space is also used for the famous Embassy Suites breakfast buffet with made-to-order hot breakfast, baked goods, and more.

Chef Nikki Newman has recently relocated to Coastal Grill after being the Chef of the Doubletree by Hilton in Breckenridge, CO, where she transformed the existing restaurant into a locally inspired ‘Pasture to Plate’ fine dining destination. She is reinventing the menu at Coastal Grill as well, utilizing the fresh, locally-sourced produce and products from the surrounding farmlands in Oxnard and Ventura and also fresh seafood from the Pacific Ocean which lies just outside the doors of the hotel.

Strawberry Smash ($13) is made with Tito’s Handmade Vodka, muddled strawberries, ginger beer, and lime. This drink is definitely fitting for Oxnard. All of the best California Strawberries come from Oxnard. It’s sweet and tangy with a touch of tropical flavor. It’s the perfect afternoon or early evening drink to enjoy right before dinner. Rating: 5/5

Artichokes are deep-fried and served with lemon-dijon. This came from a dream that Chef Nikki had one night. She came into to work the very next day and tried it out. It’s been a hit ever since. The outer petals are crispy like chips with a slight briny, pickled flavor. The choke is soft and tender. This would go great with a pint of beer! This is also a great gluten-free option as there is no breading on these artichokes. Rating: 4.8/5

Mussels are cooked with chorizo and served with aioli and baguette slices. Surprisingly, the spicy  meatiness of the chorizo pairs nicely with the sweet briny mussels. A few extra baguette slices would be helpful to sop up all of the leftover broth. I can see enjoying this served on a bed of pasta too. Rating: 5/5

Poached Lobster “Toast” is layered with avocado relish, radish, chimi, and cilantro. Chef Nikki described this to me as a modern take of the “French bread pizza”, this lobster toast is out-of-this-world delicious! It’s great as an entrée for one person or to share as an appetizer with friends. The creaminess and tartness of the avocado relish provide a nice contrast to the sweet lobster for a nice interaction of flavors. Rating: 5/5

Pork Ribs are served atop jalapeno cornbread with slaw. These ribs are so tender. The rub is a little heavy handed with the salt. These ribs are more savory BBQ versus sweet. The jalapeno cornbread is moist with a slightly spicy kick. Slaw is creamy and makes a perfect BBQ side. Rating: 4.3/5

Fish Tacos are topped with slaw, avocado, and jalapeno. The fish is succulent and flavorful with a spicy kick. The slaw adds a nice crunchy texture. Rating: 4.3/5

Burger is topped with green chile, cream cheese, chipotle honey, and a crispy onion ring. This burger is a recipe that Chef Nikki made for The James Beard Foundation’s Blended Burger Project™, which blends 25% fresh and chopped cultivated mushrooms with a ground burger patty. This project was introduced to create delicious burgers that are healthier and more sustainable for the planet. I judged the first Blended Burger Battle in San Diego earlier this summer. It is incredible how the mushrooms lend flavor while extending the use of the meat. In Chef Nikki’s version, the sweet, earthy mushrooms blend perfectly with the juicy beef. The green chile adds a spicy kick along with the chipotle honey. The cream cheese helps balance out the spiciness. The crispy onion ring adds a sweet flavor and crunchy texture. The brioche bun is buttery and holds up well until the very last bite. Rating: 4.3/5

If you are looking for a place to eat that is off the beaten path, Coastal Grill is the sparkling diamond in the rough.

Atmosphere: 5 out of 5 stars
Décor: 5 out of 5 stars
Service: 5 out of 5 stars
Food: 5 out of 5 stars

For more information:
Coastal Grill inside the Embassy Suites by Hilton Mandalay Beach Resort
2101 Mandalay Beach Rd.
Oxnard, CA 93035
+1.805.984.2500
Hours: Daily from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Parking: Validated garage parking

Coastal Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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