By André Gayot
To count how many places in the entire world belong in the same class as The Grand Del Mar hotel near San Diego, you probably won’t need all ten of your fingers. Perched in the foothills of the Sierras, hidden within the rolling hills, this domain is nothing but majestic beauty.
Good enough, but how can we spend—without drastically breaking the bank — an unforgettable evening in this palatial Moorish style Kasbah spiced with a good ladle of Florentine art where no effort (nor money) was spared to erect this paramount of handsome hospitality? Follow me. Let’s walk to your table in the Addison restaurant, between the Porphyry columns sustaining the caisson ceiling over the encrusted marble floor.
Chef William Bradley has the responsibility to see that the food is at par with the décor. Although he is just 33, Bradley is neither a newcomer nor a chef in the making. Inspired by the great chefs Daniel Boulud, Alain Ducasse and others, he has consistently risen over the last three years of his tenure at the Addison to near the level of his idols. There’s no eccentricity in his cooking style, nor odd combinations meant to disconcert the placid diner. William has learned to master the classical French technique in which he incorporates his own personal touch to prepare the best products he can procure. The result is a four-course meal where diners can choose among a number of fine selections, such as a delightful melting baby scallop with golden caviar in a Champagne emulsion on a tomato confit for appetizer, then an Alaskan King crag leg with a Madras curry and passion fruit, followed by a butter baked wild salmon in a fennel marmalade and kumquat confit, or, for the carnivores, a spring lamb persillé, with burrata, black olives and lemon-arugula salad. For dessert, you shouldn’t miss the mille-feuille classique.
All of Bradley’s dishes, including the brioche he serves as bread, have a little twist of citrus flavor that confers to his food a personal cachet. “I always loved citrus fruits,” he contends, “and this is citrus land.” You are right, William! If you stay on course, you will be soon at the gate of the Gotha of contemporary American chefs.
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