It was a year in the making, but the new Pacific Coast Grill (PCG) opened in June and the result was worth the wait.
I’ve never been in a restaurant that is so perfectly matched to its outdoor environment than PCG, which is exactly what designer Georgia Goldberg, who worked with local architect Steve Adams, had in mind when they were in the planning stages.
It’s like hanging out in the most stylish beach house ever with a bunch of like-minded folks over tasty PCG drinks and cuisine. No pretension here, but definitely a sense of coastal cool.
Inside is all about the view, with natural beach elements of reclaimed boat wood, beach rocks and a neutral color palette.
There is a floor to ceiling message in a bottle mosaic tiled private dining room with a private deck and a wall of classic surfboards downstairs inspired by local shapers.
There are two levels of dining and drinking at the new PCG with every seat in the house carefully planned to have an ocean view.
There is a raw oyster bar and heated outdoor patio, and upstairs there is front row ocean view bar seating and a small lounge area in front of the spectacular, treasure chest wine cellar from the old location.
There is a large outdoor deck with one of the best views of the Pacific Ocean anywhere.
The good thing is, PCG did not rely on the ocean view and skimp on the design and menu. I’d still make it a point to eat there wherever they were located.
And speaking of eating, PCG’s new oceanfront home features the same unique Pacific Coast Cuisine with an oyster bar, select sushi rolls, black mussels with chorizo, baked oysters and a wide range of seafood choices.
I’ve always been a big fan of the hot appetizers at PCG and they brought my favorites to the new location.
The shrimp dumplings with port wine sauce are great and the Bag O’ Bonz which are apple-wood smoked Hawaiian style baby back ribs and fresh-cut Kennebec fries come with the fries in the bag and are one of the best apps I’ve ever had.
The hot appetizers do not come cheap, but they are not over the top either running between $9 and $16.
Fresh and local are not just new buzzwords to PCG; they have been cooking that way since they opened in 1995.
Some more PCG menu favorites include its best-selling lobster tacos and pan seared sea bass.
Newcomers on the menu include Margarita-Braised Short Ribs & Coconut-Crab crusted Mahi-Mahi.
The sea bass is served with mashed potatoes, sautéed spinach, tomato, basil, white wine sauce and has been my go-to entrée, preceded by the Bag O’ Bonz for that surf and turf thing.
They do a surprisingly good turkey meatloaf, and if you want to go big, go for the cowboy steak, a beautiful 20-ounce bone in Sterling Ribeye with house-smoked fingerling potatoes & fried spinach. At $39 it’s not cheap, but given the size, quality, and the view that comes with, it’s worth every cent. Most entrées are in the $25 and $35 range.
There is a nice selection for dessert but the delectable white chocolate bread pudding with caramel bourbon sauce is my pick.
Executive Chef Isreal “Izzy” Balderas continues on in the top spot running the kitchen at PCG.
His specialty is fusing fresh Pacific Costal Cuisine with hints from his Latin heritage resulting in a unique “PCG cuisine” as I like to call it.
It should be noted that PCG has a thriving lounge scene that offers world class margaritas made with fresh juices & premium tequila. The blackberry margarita mixes Don Julio Blanco, agave nectar, fresh black berries and organic blueberry juice. Why not load up on some antioxidants with your cocktail?
The valet parking can get a bit congested during prime time, so I’d suggest parking along the beach and having a nice beach walk up or down to PCG.
Other than that, I could not find much not to like about this coastal temple of cool design and culinary love.
Their menu, hours, and location can be found at pacificcoastgrill.com.
Lick the Plate can now be heard on KPRi, 102.1 FM Monday-Friday during the 7pm hour.
David Boylan is founder of Artichoke Creative and Artichoke Apparel, an Encinitas based marketing firm and clothing line. Reach him at email@example.com or (858) 395-6905.