I don’t think Ponsaty has fully found his footing here yet, after only a couple of months on-site. Oh, poor pitiful me, I guess I’ll have to drag myself back in a year or so to see how he’s progressed!

Mistral

  • 4.5 stars
  • (Excellent to Extraordinary)

Loews Coronado Bay Resort, 4000 Coronado Bay Road, Coronado Silver Strand, 619-424-4000.

HOURS: Tuesday–Sunday 5:30–9:30 p.m.

PRICES: Starters, $7–$14; pasta/risotto, $19–$26; entrées, $25–$29; desserts, $7.50.

CUISINE AND BEVERAGES: French-California with herbs and some veggies organically grown on-site. Creative, interesting cocktails (not sugar-bombs). Wine list in flux, still plenty for any size budget.

PICK HITS: Ahi tuna tartare with cucumber aspic; foie gras Napoleon (special); Maine lobster consommé; sautéed wild sea bass; sweetbread-stuffed Kurobata pork loin; “French kiss” dessert; chocolate bon-bons.

NEED TO KNOW: Valet parking with restaurant validation at porte-cochere. Nice-casual clothing (no glitz). Spectacular view. Few vegetarian choices but kitchen will accommodate dietary restrictions.

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Comments

kenpa48 May 12, 2010 @ 1:35 p.m.

I go to your column for excellent reviews and leads for new restaurants to try. For political comments and editorials I go elsewhere. Please leave the politics for others.

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millerowski May 13, 2010 @ 4:49 p.m.

Already have a weekday retreat at Loew's, so these details about Mistral are most welcome! Will report back next week!

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millerowski May 21, 2010 @ 12:58 p.m.

My BF and I checked into Loew's resort on May 17th, but Mistral is closed on Mondays, so we tried the other dining option, the Market Cafe.

Tuesday we had a 7 PM reservation at Mistral. The sky was brilliant, we were seated in the window facing the harbor and city. I ordered a glass of champagne.

We both received an amuse similar to the one described in the review--an heirloom tomato on a spear with a tiny blob of sharp, unidentifiable cheese atop a vial of tomato water. It was...entertaining.

I had hoped the foie gras napoleon appetizer would be offered, but it was not, so we stuck to the menu. My BF ordered the lobster consomme, and I chose the crab salad. The consomme was quite light yet flavorful and definitely herb infused. My tower of minced veggies and flaked fresh Dungeness crab was fantastic--moist and delicate.

I had a difficult time choosing a main course (Alas! I had wanted those halibut cheeks). The maitre d' (who checked on each table often) suggested the mushroom ravioli with diver scallops. When I had first noticed that dish on the menu, I had a mental image of one large ravioli (like the lobster ravioli at Pamplemousse) with one scallop perched on top. (The menu read "Mushroom ravioli with diver scallop"--singular "scallop.") I love fresh, gently cooked scallops, but ONE? However, since I did not crave a heavy meal (for instance, the Colorado lamb, which I had imagined ordering), I finally selected the mushroom ravioli.

And was not disappointed. There were perhaps four ravioli filled with a luscious, deep-flavored melange of mushrooms (I couldn't identify the varieties--they were minced and sauteed with herbs and maybe shallot.) The mushroom filling became the sauce for four diver scallops, each heavenly.

My companion ordered the risotto with lobster and asparagus and I-forget-what-else. It was presented in a white, tall, oval bowl and garnished playfully with a large lobster claw. It was very pleasant, comforting--but not extraordinary. It did contain some decent chunks of luscious lobster meat, and the asparagus was perfectly cooked. He preferred my dish, however.

For dessert, we shared the recommended "French Kiss" (see above). We were in chocolate heaven. Each bite was fantastic. And one dessert was more than enough for two people.

I will no doubt return to Mistral--maybe in August for my birthday. But before signing off, I'd like to note that the Market Cafe--the "basic" venue--which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, was really quite good. The menu is one of those that tries to cover all the bases, and, from what we experienced, it covers them well. Everything we tried was good or better--a wonderful deconstructed shrimp cocktail; nachos with carne asada and black beans; ahi tatake; grilled sea bass tacos with excellent guacamole.

And my compliments to the bartenders as well! Loved those mojitos. Nice wines by the glass.

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