By Elaine Hesser, Edible Monterey Bay
The wait is over.
For the first time since the Old Bath House restaurant closed its doors eight years ago, customers can dine at the beloved location perched above Lovers Point, enjoying the sunset over a delicious meal served with a beautiful view of the Monterey Bay.
Rechristened the Beach House at Lovers Point, the local icon’s latest incarnation offers an updated selection of well-priced small plates and dinners, but owners Kevin Phillips and Jim Gilbert have treated the location with the utmost respect for its history. Photos of the Lovers Point area taken between 1893 and 1966 grace the walls, including one of the Beach House’s earlier life as Slats Rooftop Dining restaurant: restaurateur David Bindel built the Old Bath House’s Victorian exterior right over Slats—a fact which comes as a surprise even to many locals.
But the art isn’t the Beach House’s only celebration of local. In the kitchen is hometown chef Chris Groves of Pacific Grove, a Le Cordon Bleu-trained veteran of The Sardine Factory and other local eateries, where he’s worked in both the front and back of the house. Groves is committed to using as much ingredients from the surrounding region as possible, including fruits and vegetables from Swank Farms and Golden Rule Produce. He’s also a professional mushroom forager, so the fungi will be fresh and local, too.
In a nod to all things PG, the appetizers menu includes a creamy, spicy “Feast of Lanterns Firecracker Shrimp,” a reference to PG’s annual summer Feast of Lanterns, which will take place this year July 24–28.
Groves’ menu is also surprisingly affordable, in keeping with Phillips’ and Gilbert’s commitment to making the restaurant a place by locals, for locals. Appetizers like Wild Mushroom Fricassee and Roasted Red Pepper Risotto with asparagus, slivered lemon and shaved pecorino are in the $12 range, while entrées range from a low of $11.90 for the Beach House Cheeseburger with pepper jack, pickled red onions and garlic truffle fries all the way to $44 for a hanger steak and lobster tail combo and $52 for the twin fire-roasted lobster tails with braised fennel and risotto. Most of the entrees, though, are in the under-$20 range, with soups, salads and sides priced under $10. Manager Jeremy Phillips (Kevin’s son) says the printed menu will change seasonally, and diners can expect nightly specials that will change often.
The restaurant’s opening had been a subject of much speculation among local foodies—Jeremy Phillips tallied more than 900 inquiries in one week using a clicker app he downloaded for his cell phone and he couldn’t set foot outside the restaurant without someone asking when it was going to open.
The Old Bath House was a sentimental favorite among locals who celebrated birthdays, anniversaries, proms and other milestones in its white-linen, fine-dining atmosphere. Waiters had to pass a nightly inspection that required shined shoes and crisp white shirts perfectly clean and pressed.
Beach House Construction during Summer 2012While the restaurant closed its doors in 2005, its spirit lived on like a phantom in its patrons’ memories, and the new Beach House is striving to preserve it: As the wait staff prepared for a private dinner in the more relaxed and casual surroundings on Friday, June 21, Phillips was heard reminding one of his wait staff on the phone to make sure his shirt was pressed. We can’t help but think the Phantom of the Bath House was pleased.
Beach House at Lovers Point • 620 Ocean View Blvd. at Lovers Point • 831.375.2345 • www.beachhousepg.com or www.opentable.com