A Taste of the Sea

Seafood skewers at Cannons Seafood Grill.

Seafood-savvy chefs share the best locales to find the ocean’s freshest harvest this season.

By Ashley Schaefer

Nothing complements a warm summer day quite like a succulent lemon-squeezed scallop or a tart and tangy ceviche. For those in search of the summer sea’s sweetest bounty, however, it’s important to be aware of what seafood is in season within each region. Sleepy seaside wharf towns and bustling waterfront cities alike rejoice in the offerings from their region’s waters. Whether it’s Alaskan salmon and Chesapeake Bay blue crab or Spanish prawns and Japanese freshwater eel, seafood takes a starring role on plates around the globe during the summer months.

Seafood skewers at Cannons Seafood Grill.
Seafood skewers at Cannons Seafood Grill.

Pacific Ocean Palate

Stonehill Tavern

Along with views of the Pacific Ocean, chef Michael Mina’s Stonehill Tavern at The St. Regis Monarch Beach provides a seafood-centric menu that’s an instinctive nod to the natural beauty that abounds.

The restaurant’s seafood platters are a popular way to start the meal: Indulge in a canape selection featuring Dungeness crab and hamachi poppers. From the appetizer menu, the ahi tuna tartare, made tableside with pear, pine nuts, ancho chili power and habanero-infused sesame oil, is a must-try Mina classic.

Moving on to the main course, the lobster pot pie, comprised of lobster sherry cream, black truffles and baby vegetables, or Cape Cod scallops with Brussels sprouts are sure to please. (949-234-3318; stregismb.com)


Cannons Seafood Grill 

Perched on a cliff overlooking the Dana Point Marina, Cannons Seafood Grill offers sweeping views of the Southern California coastline. Head to the wooden outdoor deck and sample a tropical cocktail that pairs well with the red snapper ceviche spiced with jalapenos, lemon and cilantro.

Executive Chef Omar Ramirez recommends the seafood skewers for a true sampling of the restaurant’s ocean delicacies. The skewers are packed with shrimp, swordfish, scallops, mahi mahi and salmon, topped with a drizzle of creamy lemon butter. For those who prefer simpler fare, he suggests the grilled scallops in lobster sauce with asparagus and shiitake mushrooms. (949-496-6146; cannonsrestaurant.com)

Michael Mina’s lobster potpie at Stonehill Tavern.

Harbor Grill

Oyster-lovers are in good company at the family-run restaurant in Dana Point Marina. Stuffed with bacon, barbecued Louisiana-style or steamed with Thai seasoning are just a few ways to enjoy in-season oysters at Harbor Grill.

For lunch, manager Beverly Hinsey says the favorite among locals is the Caribbean spiced sea bass tacos with chipotle tartar. Popular dinner dishes include the swordfish marinated Japanese-style and grilled scallops with angel hair pasta in a serrano chili sauce.

On Sundays, start off the day with a plate of crabcake eggs Benedict or smoked salmon omelet and bottomless mimosas. (949-240-1416; harborgrill.com)
— Lanee Lee