Party Time — Private Dining at Pampelmousse Grille

| November 3, 2017 | 0 Comments

This year has shot by amazingly fast. I feel like it is April (perhaps because of the recent tax deadline) but it is really November. The holidays are just around the corner. Thanksgiving is coming up and Christmas is already being marketed by major retailers and catalogue companies.

It is also “party time” when companies and individuals start to think about entertaining clients and guests. Yet, in today’s busy life, both companies and individuals are reaching out to catering services and venues for their needs.

San Diego is fortunate to have a star chef, Jeffrey Strauss, who both owns a top local restaurant and also runs an active catering and private party business. The restaurant’s name is Pampelmousse Grille, located in Solana Beach, practically across the street from the racetrack. It is a great place to celebrate a winning day at the track.

The restaurant was opened in 1996 to offer diners an “upscale dining experience in a French country kitchen atmosphere.” Over the years, Strauss has won over customers palates as well as their hearts with numerous charitable events, giving back to the community. And, his catering and private party services have enabled him to broaden the public’s awareness of the quality of his cuisine.

Strauss trained at the Greenbriar Hotel culinary academy, where he won admission over huge competition. He was an award-winning student. Later, he worked as executive chef for Glorious Foods in Washington DC, creating a strong following among the power brokers. He then worked for Glorious Foods in New York City for a number of years but, during that period, also took time off to travel to Europe to train with eminent Michelin rated chefs, including Roger Vergé at Le Moulin De Mougins and Albert Roux at Le Gavroche in London. He also spent time watching and learning at such famous locations as such renowned restaurants as Marchesi in Italy, and France’s acclaimed Charcuterie Matu, Restaurant Guy Savoy, Vonnas-George Blanc, Restaurant Troisgros and Restaurant Bocuse.

That is the training, background and skill that Strauss pours into every plate that emerges from his kitchens.

Strauss has cooked for major corporations as well as for political and entertainment figures as George W. Bush, the late Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Prince Charles, Prince Andrew, Hillary Rodham Clinton, the wedding of Caroline Kennedy, and the 1984 inaugural luncheon for Ronald Reagan, Aaron Spelling, Tom Hanks, Elton John and Steven Spielberg.

I recently attended a private party in one of the private dining rooms adjacent to the restaurant that was hosted by a local financial institution to announce its performance and future economic outlook. The room was elegant and seating for the small group was very comfortable.

Strauss will create a special custom menu for an occasion. Our menu included an amazing number of choices for entrée. Dinner began with a seafood tower, filled with fresh prawns, shrimp and oysters, accompanied by an array of sauces. It was an wonderful introduction to the meal.

From the dinner menu, starters include ahi and crab lollipops, jumbo crab chunks wrapped in sashimi grade ahi, and lobster ravioli. Salads listed, among others, are lovely heirloom tomato, with Burrata cheese, and a melon and prosciutto salad, with crispy goat cheese and toasted pine nuts.

Carnivores will love the meat selections on the menu, with large portion sizes, high quality selections, well aged and prepared perfectly. Cuts include prime angus rib eye and prime angus filet as well as lamb chop and pork chop.

Seafood dishes include seared day scallops, Alaska halibut, and Scottish salmon.
The very fine dessert menu includes warm chocolate-caramel cake, key lime cheesecake, and bananas foster a la luba.

Dinner can be paired with wines, which Strauss will be pleased to help choose. Prices are expensive. But think of the training, skill and artistry that goes into the preparation. When one wants the best for entertaining or for personal dining, Pampelmousse Grille is a definite contender.

Pampelmousse Grille is located at 514 Via De La Valle in Solana Beach. Reservations are strongly recommended. Call (858) 792-9090 for information and reservations.

The lamb chop portions are very generous and flavorful.

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