Shades Restaurant and Bar in Huntington Beach
We visited as a guest of Shades
Just steps away from the crystalline ocean, in Southern California’s most coveted destination, Shades Restaurant and Bar, is exceeding the culinary desires of the most discerning travelers. Located inside of the premiere location, The Waterfront Beach Resort, Shades recently debuted a new Executive Chef, Ben LaFleche.
My husband and I set out for an epicurean escape, to explore the food and wine offerings being created by the new Executive Chef last week. What we discovered was healthy and irresistible family-friendly cuisine and dazzling desserts in an American fusion bistro style restaurant.
Coconut milk-braised pork slider with pickled mustard seeds and rooster sauce
The exquisite meal began with a lavish variety of appetizers. Our tastebuds were tantalized with the first bite of the coconut milk-braised pork sliders with pickled mustard seeds and rooster sauce on a freshly toasted bun. The sliders were creamy, comforting and a family-friendly favorite. When ordering these for the kids, we would recommend ordering them without the mustard seeds, but if ordering for an adult, it perfectly completes the dish.
Mini crab cake with roasted garlic aioli
Next we had one America’s favorite, crab cakes with roasted garlic aioli sauce. The rich classic appetizer had a sweet clean flavor allowing the crab to be the highlight of the dish. The melt in your mouth crab cakes were seasoned to perfection without the need of lemon zest to extenuate the flavor.
Italian sausage risotto stuffed piquillo pepper with chili aioli
My husbands favorite appetizer was the Italian sausage risotto stuffed piquillo pepper with chili aioli that packed a kick. The simple dish had complex flavors that would be worthy of an Italian culinary award. It is a 20th Century recreation of the traditional Italian sausage and peppers that my husband said his Sicilian Grandmother would have found irresistible.
Macaroni and cheese with Hook’s four year aged cheddar and pulverized duck fat crouton
PB&J with housemade Bourbon peanut butter and jalapeño jelly
The next course began with a creamy macaroni and cheese made with a four year aged cheddar and pulverized duck fat crouton. The comforting, classic dish was more creamy than cheesy and is our top pick to order for the kids. Our second favorite dish for the kids is their PB&J with housemade bourbon peanut butter and jalapeño jelly. It is a fancy modern twist on our kids comforting favorites.
Braised duck ragout and pappardelle pasta
Eight hour lamb belly with korean chili glaze, black beluga lentil salad and yogurt sauce
The highlights of our main entrees were the braised duck ragout over pappardelle pasta and the eight hour lamb belly with korean chili glaze, black beluga lentil salad and yogurt sauce. I have had lamb belly many times before, and always found it to be too fatty. The chef at Shades prepared it perfectly so that my tastebuds could savor the rich flavor of the delectable dish. This is the first place that I have discovered in Orange County, where I would recommend a guest who is nervous about being adventurous with their food, to feel comfortable knowing they will have a true epicurean experience.
Tangerine mini cupcakes with basil meringue icing
We ended the evening with the sweet satisfaction of their tangerine mini cupcakes with basil meringue icing. The dish was inspired by their “Ingredients of the Month” Facebook contest where they invite guests to challenge the chef to create a masterful creation using a seasonable ingredient.
Pan-seared barramundi with lobster risotto, pickled black grapes and pea tendrils
Shades is the perfect destination for your family to relax and enjoy the cool ocean breezes while savoring in the exquisite cuisine created by Chef Ben LaFlenche. Turn your visit into a staycation by reserving an oceanfront suite or an evening in one of their 290 recently remodeled ocean front guest rooms.
They are open daily for breakfast from 6:30am to 11am, lunch from 11am to 3pm, and dinner from 5pm to 10pm. The restaurant also offers a champagne brunch every Sunday from 11:30am to 3pm. Shades is located on the pool deck of The Waterfront Beach Resort at 21100 Pacific Coast Highway in Huntington Beach.