About 20 miles north of San Diego is the wealthy town of Del Mar, known for its beaches and rare Torrey Pines. The Grand Del Mar is a sprawling golf resort that opened in October 2007, with Addison as its flagship restaurant. The building is striking, a vaguely Spanish style building with marble lobby, leading through into the restaurant itself. Addison, named after the architect Addison Mizner (known for his Mediterranean revival style, which is reflected in the building here) has a very large dining room with widely spaced, generous tables with linen tablecloths ironed on to the tables. The dining room looks out on to the resort, and has a high ceiling, marble floor and luxurious fittings, with arches dividing up the room, and a central wine cabinet display.
Chef William Bradley worked as sous chef at The Phoenician in Scottsdale Arizona and as executive chef at Vu, also in Scottsdale, before returning to the San Diego area where he grew up. His team of eight chefs cooks classical food for up to sixty diners. The menu offered four courses for $98 as well as a lengthier tasting menu. The wine list was substantial, the list stretching over 100 pages, with extensive coverage of France and the US but also respectable coverage of Spain, Germany and other wine regions. Example wines included Walter Hansel South Slope 2005 at $85 for a wine that you can buy in a shop for $51, Williams Selyem Westside Road Neighbours 2009 at $210 compared to a retail price of $120, up to grander wines like Harlan Estates 2004 at $1,530 for wine that will set you back $675 in a wine shop. We drank the very enjoyable Weinbach Cuvee Theo 2004 at $75 for a wine that retails at $45.
Amuse-bouche consisted of verjus blanc (the pressed juice of unripened grapes) consommé with pickled cranberries, Muscat grapes and a little basil. This was pleasant and quite refreshing (15/20). This was followed by a well-made and nicely piped gougere, made with Gruyere cheese, with plenty of cheese flavour coming through (16/20). Bread was from a local bakery and the brioche was pleasant (14/20), though as ever at this point I will note that a restaurant on this scale would surely do better baking its own bread.
Langoustines were served in a crisp tuile with golden oscietra caviar. The langoustines were nicely cooked and the combination of flavours worked well (16/20). Next was an excellent foie gras pot au creme, with smooth texture and good livery flavour, served with a little garlic bread on the side (17/20). Squab cooked with bacon was correctly cooked and had nice flavour (15/20) but I much preferred short rib of beef. This was prepared using Australian black wagyu beef (incorrectly described on the menu as Kobe beef - it was certainly not from Japan). The beef was very tender, and the short rib as a cut has enough flavour to avoid the over-buttery taste that you can get with some grander cuts of highly marbled wagyu beef (18/20).
Passion fruit granita and lychee sorbet was a refreshing pre-dessert, the flavours coming through well (16/20). This was followed by enjoyably rich chocolate gateau with sour cherry marmalade and pistachio (16/20). The bill came to $250 (£160) per head for the à la carte, with a modest bottle of wine but also some champagne at the start of the evening. Service was impeccable throughout the meal, with faultless topping up and a helpful waiter. Overall this was a very enjoyable meal in a grand setting, showing that the team in the kitchen can really deliver.