Last month I was invited to attend a media dinner at the new Vessel Restaurant inside of the Kona Kai Resort out on Shelter Island. It was a stormy, rainy evening filled with delicious drinks and wines, great company and fantastic food! I brought Heather along to be my hot date for the evening.
These are the menu’s at each place setting so we could drool over the thought of the courses that would be coming our way that evening.
And a peek at the dining room at Vessel. I love how the lamp shades kind of look like planets in this photo.
[first course – tomato & burrata with onion, aged balasmic and jalapeno pesto]
I knew things would only improve from here and I got a look (and taste) at the first course. The creamy burrata paired really well with the delicious, bright tomato. I personally dig raw onion so I liked the sharp taste of the red onion contrasted with the sweet tomato and cheese. The sauces tied it all together in a lovely mouthful and I almost wanted to lick this plate clean. *Almost*. I do some some restraint!
[second course – “loup de mer” crudo with borage, finger limes and lava salt]
I’ve never had crudo before and I could not figure out what this dish was going to be just by reading the menu description. While I am a fan of food from the sea, I’m not so much of a fan when it’s raw (or still wiggling). I did eat this though just to try it but honestly it didn’t really taste like much of anything to me. I did dig the finger limes though and how they popped in my mouth with a tiny burst of lime flavor.
[third course – shrimp ajillo with garlic and smoked paprika]
Oh shrimpies! I do love you so, all nice and cooked. The smokiness was quite distinct here and the paprika helped bring that extra level of flavor to the dish. Heather even ate some of this and liked it, and she is not a seafood girl! I was so proud of her for trying.
[fourth course – mole marinated pork loin with bacon lardon, swiss chard, chayote & roasted corn]
This was the course that made everyone go quiet as everyone savored each tender bite. The flavors of the mole with the tender pork and veggies combined together to make a superb dish. Heather told me later this was her favorite of the night and I’d say it was one of the top courses for me, too.
[fifth course – braised short ribs, scallops and carrot puree]
While Heather was willing to try the other creatures from the sea that evening, she drew the line at eating scallops. That meant more scallops for me! Well.. except someone took it away before I could eat hers… but no matter. The scallops were perfectly seared and had that succulent, buttery flavor. The short ribs were insanely tender and I loved eating it with the bit of carrot puree artfully smeared across the plate.
[sixth course – whipped cheese cake & warm berry cobbler]
My favorite course… naturally… was dessert. The sixth and final course was Vessel’s most popular dessert, a hybrid mix of cheese cake and cobbler meshed together in one. It has layers of whipped cheesecake. The cheesecake tasted exactly like a super creamy cheesecake, but more airy and light. The berry cobbler was layered in and made this look a bit like a trifle. The warm cobbler was slightly tart and sweet all at once and was just so deliciously awesome. I would totally come back here just to eat this dessert again, but I’d also be happy to partake of just about any of the items featured here at Vessel.
Heather and I enjoyed all the delicious courses we had at Vessel and would love to come back to check out more of their menu!
Vessel Restaurant at the Kona Kai Resort & Marina
1551 Shelter Island Dr.
San Diego, CA 92106
Disclaimer: I was invited to dine at Vessel Restaurant on behalf of the Zimmerman Agency. Our meal and beverages were complimentary. I was not paid for this review and all opinions stated here are my own.