Joe Truskot, The Salinas Californian
The early evening weather on Lovers Point — a spot with a long history of happy times for many of us — was exceptionally clear and comfortable on Thursday. The location’s name, by the way, dates from Pacific Grove’s old Methodist retreat days when it was known by its longer name, “Lovers of Jesus Point.” The little sandy beach nestled below actually had three children in bathing suits playing in the water. Perched above the rocks, sand and waves is one of the Monterey Peninsula’s treasured spots — a classic restaurant that intermingles tourists and locals for a fun evening out. It’s The Beach House on Lovers Point.
On the site for many years was an old bath house — perfect for changing from one’s Victorian clothing into a nearly as extensive bathing suit. But that was many years ago. In 1975, the site became David Bindel’s The Bath House and sported a fantastic view across the Monterey Bay with Mount Toro in the distance. Many of us remember its creaking somewhat slanting floors, its bar, and the many delicious meals we ate there. History took its toll on the old restaurant and although sad, most folks understood the news when it closed in 2006.
Kevin Phillips and Jim Gilbert realized the uniqueness of its location, its history and its ability to draw visitors to the area and people from just up the street. This duo took on the task of modernizing it. It opened its doors 18 months ago and has continued to attract enthusiastic fans ever since. Many of whom were enjoying a cocktail in the bar area as their tables were readied.
The two-story Beach House sits about halfway out onto Lovers Point with ample street parking usually available. The restaurant occupies the top floor and contains a main dining room, a heated outdoor balcony, an extensive bar and a warm ambiance that makes the best of its location without ever sailing into cliche. Most seats, in fact, enjoy a view of Monterey Bay or Pacific Grove.
Chef Evan Lite has created a menu that emphasizes freshness, locally sourced items and perfect execution with fresh seafood, steak, chicken, pork and even meatloaf options. Sides are interesting and organic.
“The most popular appetizer on the menu are the FireCracker Shrimp,” Deborah, our waitress, noted as we examined the menu. She was knowledgeable about the food and always available and responsive to our requests. When you observe busy restaurant personnel with smiles on their faces, it usually points to a supportive, well organized environment. Busy doesn’t mean chaotic.
My dining companions and I politely examined the Scallop Pot Pie as it sailed past the table to a lucky diner. Ditto the Filet Mignon Stroganoff.
The entrees we selected were seafood: King Salmon and Ahi Tuna.
I started dinner with a Garden Salad that ranked as high in beauty and taste — every mouthful fresh and delicious with a subtle dressing that enhanced the tomatoes, cucumbers and baby lettuce — as the main courses. My salmon was cooked to perfection with a delicious herb sauce that joined the green watercress in shouting out its blended flavors. The sides were organic peas and carrots and smashed potatoes. The grilled Ahi Tuna from the special menu was a joy. Topped with two FireCracker Shrimp, the fish rested on a bed of rice surrounded with a sumptuous coconut/pineapple cream sauce and topped with sprouts. Truly a wonderful meal. Kudos to the Chef!
The dessert we shared was a house-made butter pecan ice cream cake — a perfect way to end a summer day.
The Beach House also sports a wonderfully easy on-line reservation system. No kidding, this really works and will assure you a place in the peak hours if you book ahead.
For those folks who love to eat an early supper, The Beach House continues to offer its Sunset Supper Menu — a special list of items between 4 and 5:30 p.m. including sand dabs, pasta primavera, salmon, chicken, and meatloaf all for $9.90. For a few dollars more, you can add soup and a salad.
One last thing to praise the restaurant, the majority of its wine selections are local!
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Beach House plays to packed houses nightly in Pacific Grove
Ricardo Diaz: PG’s Beach House has it all
Place: The Beach House, 620 Ocean View Blvd, Pacific Grove, 831-375-2345, beachhousepg.com.
Hours: 4 to 5:30 p.m., Sunset Suppers; 5:30 to 9 p.m., daily
Cost: Sunset Suppers are $9.90; Entrees range $16.90 to $34