The restaurant at Harbor House has been on this site numerous times (3/23, 11/22, 3/22, 7/22, 7/21, 8/20) but I never get tired of taking photos and writing descriptions of the exquisite food produced in the 2- Michelin-star kitchen of Matthew Kammerer and his team. The Harbor House Inn is situated on a beautiful piece of property overlooking the Pacific Ocean and jutting rocks. The 1916 Craftsman-style house has around 20 ocean view seats for this Coastal-cuisine-focused tasting menu experience that is not to be missed. The place also received a Michelin Green Star for the sustainable nature of its processes. Now there are 2 farms raising produce for the restaurant and local farms and fishermen supply the rest. The staff treat all like royalty and the food is as delicious as it is stunning. With the addition of Sommelier Kelly Eckel, who most recently was at Single Thread, there should be some exciting new additions to their wine list also. I urge you to plan a trip here, stay a couple nights and enjoy the very fine food and ambiance. I know I’ll be back soon and post it again here.
Every meal starts with a warm moist cloth to refresh your hands for the upcoming meal. We started with a Savory infusion of sea vegetables. It is a dashi-based warm broth using both nori and other sea vegetables that is meant to open your tastebuds and palate for the delicate flavors of the upcoming meal.
Cured rockfish and hyssop (an aromatic herb) were in a beautiful configuration on a hummingbird mint vinaigrette. The herby vinaigrette perfectly accented the fresh fish and produced an outstanding flavor in your mouth. This was a great way to start.
Red sea urchin from Ft. Bragg was on egg custard and crowned with some crispy cornsilk. It was high corn season, so tiny ears of corn were grilled and served alongside, topped with some seasonings. The urchin was perfect, no funk just beautiful richness that was a great match for the custard. What a fun topping and tie-in to crisp the corn silk and top it off. The little ears of corn were splendid.
Maitake mushroom was fried tempura-style and served with a broth of lace lichen and zucchini and an infusion of the mushrooms. A slice of Meyer Lemon was for the mushroom. The mushroom is to die for – crisp with oozing fabulous mushroom flavor. The broth used nori and sea lettuce to blend with the fine shreds of zucchini and lace lichen. The mushroom broth had some chives introduced which brought another level of flavor to the clear liquid. A favorite that luckily continues to be on the menu.
Abalone steamed in ash dough is brought to the table in the shell of ash and sand. Carefully cut in two, the leaf containing the abalone is exposed before it is taken back to the kitchen to be plated. When served it comes with 2 house-made pickled vegetable slices and offal sauce mixed with Kalakaari rice. The slices of abalone are with some sliced green beans tied in a delicate package by ice plants (a coastal succulent shrub). The abalone is as tender as the beans and wonderful. The pickles contained a number of vegetables that add nice color and a flavor that contrasts well. In a bowl is the rice mixed with the offal sauce topped with herbs. Another masterful combination of flavors. A yummy course all around.
Black cod from Ft. Bragg was smoked over bay laurel and opened tableside so you can smell the bay smoke. The fish had been cured over kombu before it was lightly grilled. The silky fish was served on top of turnip and sunflower pieces. Something new to me were the sunflowers, which were fairly mild but a perfect match for the turnips. The fish was the star here.
Knight’s Valley sirloin wagyu tartare was plated with squash blossoms and tomatillo. The beef was from Sonoma and mixed with some smoked zucchini in a heirloom tomato vinaigrette. The silky beef was well seasoned with the vinaigrette and the fresh squash blossoms. This was not dull beef, it was outstanding.
Seaweed sourdough bread with sea lettuce cultured butter was the same delicious bread and butter as always – great crisp to the crust with a nice doughy center. This trip they added a cranberry bean miso spread dotted with some chive oil. It was nice too but I’m fine to eat that bread plain.
Lamb loin from Richardson Ranch was smoked and plated with king trumpet mushroom and blackberry jus. The trim was turned into sausage and wrapped in a nasturtium leaf for the centerpiece. Some cucumber melon halves provided additional accents. The tender tasty lamb was great with the fabulous sauce. Cooked to a nice redness it was a wonderful course.
Amazake (a drink made of fermented rice) was combined with strawberries and lemon verbena. The yogurt like bottom of the dish was topped with lemon ice and crushed verbena. This was ‘herbaliscious’ with wonderful textures and sweet and tart flavors. A yummy combo.
Marigold ice cream on honeycomb candy was covered with peach slices. The sweet crunchy bits of candy were a nice contrast with the smooth ice cream and peaches. The peaches had some firmness yet still were nicely sweet. Another delicious refreshing dessert.
The last dessert as before was an Infusion of Douglas fir served with grilled honey and sweet herbs to dip in it and then your tea. It is light and slightly sweet.
The plates of bite sized sweets contain an Umeboshi caramel which is sweet and chewy.
Candy cap mushroom macarons which are delightful. Choux filled with raspberry which was fine.
Blackberries and lavender were new, served on sticks – a fun sweet fruity bite. Mugwort jellies are almost crystallized on the outside and gooey on the inside.