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FIRST LOOK: Oceana Coastal Kitchen

Catamaran Resort unveils its new $2.1 million restaurant


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There’s a fine line between being “a classic” and being a little behind. When you’re an iconic property like Catamaran Resort in Mission Bay, the challenge is deciding when to pull the trigger on a massive overhaul. Reupholstering chairs won’t do. We’re talking a $2.1 million reinvention that requires blowing out walls, hiring renowned architects and designers (Kristine Smith Design Studio, who did both Disney’s Grand California Hotel and The Lodge at Torrey Pines), and building an 800-gallon vertical jellyfish aquarium smack dab in the middle of the room. That’s some change. And Feb. 3 marks their soft open when you can see and taste it for yourself. (Note: Soft openings are really rehearsals, so exercise a little patience.)

Named Oceana Coastal Kitchen, the 8,200 square-foot restaurant is the iconic property’s first new dining concept in 30 years, and continues the rise of good food in Pacific and Mission Beaches. They’ve expanded the al fresco seats looking out over Mission Bay, plus a 12-seat private dining room and a 16-seat semi-private room. The chef is Steven Riemer, who put in a decade-plus at the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel before spending seven years as executive sous at The Lodge at Torrey Pines. His menu is being called "a playful take on California cuisine." If food at The Lodge (owned by the same parent company, Evans Hotels) is any indication of quality, expect top-notch, local, seasonal ingredients. Riemer's debut menu includes dishes like duck risotto with Japanese squash, Niman Ranch pork chop with goat cheese grits and a California seabass with ancho chile, orange, beets, faro and baby kale. There'll also be a raw bar and a sushi bar. Pay close attention Riemer's desserts, since pastry was his specialty at The Ritz. At Oceana he's got banana pudding, apple empanadas with buttermilk ice cream, espresso brulee and Meyer lemon Rice Krispie treats.

And now for the unveiling. Please enjoy the first known photos of Catamaran’s multimillion-dollar overhaul:

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