2100 Costa Del Mar Road, Carlsbad
Hanging out at luxury golf resorts isn’t exactly my standard scene. But when I had the opportunity to dine at Bistro 65 at the La Costa Omni on someone else’s dime, I didn’t hesitate to see what I've been missing.
After spending the day lounging poolside, my group headed to Bistro 65 for a bite. We arrived rocking wet hair, flip flops, and beach cover-ups, but were surrounded by guests clad in polo shirts, chinos, and sundresses. The varied dress code seemed lax for the price point but made sense in the casual resort setting.
Bistro 65 embraced the interior design of a typical hotel café, but added a few sleek touches that provide a modern and comfortable aesthetic. The white and lime green color scheme is vibrant while indoor and outdoor fireplaces cast a calming glow. The patio is the feature that makes this venue most memorable, highlighting a lovely view of the sprawling Omni golf course and surrounding La Costa valley.
The menu boasts shared plates such as flatbread and pulled pork sliders ($12-17), creative spins on conventional salads ($12-19), mains including beef brisket and lamb sirloin ($16-34), and an assortment of vegan and gluten free dishes ($14-17). Drinks include house cocktails like the ginger mojito and blackberry honey margarita ($14-15), wines by the glass ($9-24) and bottle ($30-300), and craft, domestic, and imported beers ($6-8).
I couldn’t resist starting with the curried calamari ($14), which was served with hot-as-hell habanero relish and cool cilantro aioli. The curry batter provided a warm and spicy twist on the appetizer, but the habanero relish was overwhelming and distracted from the flavorful preparation. I stuck to the aioli and found the combined tastes impressive.
The Niçoise salad ($19) was composed of blue lake beans, marble potatoes, soft boiled eggs, seared tuna, capers, and a basil pesto and lemon oil dressing. All ingredients were fresh and toothsome, with a perfect melding of simple, bright flavors.
The king oyster mushroom tempura ($17) was presented atop a spicy eggplant relish and garnished with micro cilantro and chili oil. I didn’t care for the chewy, fibrous texture of the oyster mushrooms, and would have preferred a traditional assortment of tempura vegetables. The eggplant relish was more reminiscent of ratatouille, and was the only redeeming portion of the dish. Chopped eggplant was combined with onion, jalapeño, and tomato sauce, which provided an appetizing addition to the monotony of the mushrooms.
An enjoyable meal wouldn’t be complete without a sweet ending, so our table opted to share the three-layer chocolate cake. The artful plating included a berry coulis and fresh strawberries and blueberries, which made the dessert all the more delectable.
A day and meal like this has me aspiring to include resorts in my scene. My mother always did accuse me of having champagne taste on a beer budget.