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Monday, December 17, 2012

MAR' SEL - TERRANEA RESORT

MAR' SEL
TERRANEA RESORT
RANCHO PALOS VERDES, CALIFORNIA


TERRANEA RESORT
100 TERRANEA WAY
RANCHO PALOS VERDES, CA 90275
310-265-2836
HOURS:  5:30 PM to 10:00 PM 
                 Wednesday thru Sunday

Was able to enjoy a great meal despite the fact that the Terranea Resort Staff did everything possible to keep us away.  When we checked into the Terranea I visited the Dining Reservations Desk in the lobby of the hotel.  I asked to make a reservation at Mar' Sel that evening.  The desk clerk who had beautiful blue eyes informed me that the earliest time available was 9:00 PM.  That does not work for us so I asked about the next night availability.  Again she said 9:00 PM.  She told me that we could be put on a waiting list and they would phone our room if a earlier time became available.  I said please do and waited for her call.  The first night passed without a call.  I waited until around 3:00 PM on the second day and then called the hotels concierge.  I explained that we were on a wait list for Mar' Sel for two nights and had not received a call.  The concierge told me she would check with Dining Reservations and call me right back in our room.  I waited and waited.  No call.  During this time I went online and was able to make a reservation for that same evening at 6:30 PM.  How the Dining Desk and Concierge messed this up is beyond me.  I expected more from what is billed as a five star resort.  This was the only bad experience at Terranea.  The rest of the stay was perfect.  Now to Mar' Sel.  Wow....one of the best dining experiences ever.  Great service and food.  The wait staff here is top notch.  Always smiling, explaining the menu if you have questions and providing five star service.  The Manager named Neil was a Prince.  Came over to our table and introduced himself and asked if we were enjoying our meal.  Yes Sir I told Neil.  "This is great, fresh food and we love it".  Neil was all smiles and asked that we call on him personally if we required anything.  I was impressed not only with the service but also the food.  We started by sharing the Endive Caesar Salad ($16).  Our waiter split the salad onto two plates in the kitchen.  There was more than enough for two people.  The salad was unique in that it used Endive in place of Romaine Lettuce and included Prosciutto.  The White Anchovies, Shaved Parmesan and Roasted Garlic Aioli added great flavors and texture to the salad.  This salad was fantastic!  Next up was the Grilled Spanish Octopus ($18).  This was the most perfectly grilled Octopus on earth.  Served with Chorizo, Fried Potatoes, Preserved Lemon, Piquillo Peppers and Salsa Verde.  I asked the waitress how they can cook Octopus so perfectly and she explained that they use a $10,000 machine to pre-cook the Octopus to a perfect temperature.  Then they simply lightly grill it before serving.  The result is a soft and moist Octopus that melts in your mouth.  Another fantastic dish.  We also tried an appetizer that was Butternut Squash Ravioli with Sage Butter.  Delicious.  Just was not enough of them.  The Mediterranean Branzino ($38) was a whole fish minus the head served with Roasted Butternut Squash Puree, Bloomsdale Spinach, Pomegranate and Brown Butter.  Moist and delicious fish that the entire family loved.  The Grilled Trout was actually just like Salmon.  The fish was cooked to perfection, moist and delicious.  Cannot say the same for the Pork Chop.  Served with a smelly sauce that just ruined the dish.  The Chop itself was a bit bland.  The sauce was just too overpowering for me to recommend this dish.  My wife and daughter loved the Lamb Shank.  This huge piece of meat literally fell off the bone and was full of rich flavors.  Served with a hugh pile of buttery Polenta.  Dinner here was so good that we booked again for another night.  Neil was more than happy to make a 6:30 PM reservation for us so we did not have to go through Dining Reservations or the Concierge.  My hats off to the entire staff and chefs at Mar' Sel.  Thank you for providing one of the best dining experiences ever.

MAR' SEL AT TERRANEA RESORT - RANCHO PALOS VERDES, CALIFORNIA
RICH INTERIOR WITH LARGE FIREPLACE FEELS LIKE A COZY LITTLE LODGE
HOUSE MADE ENGLISH MUFFINS WITH BUTTER AND SALT
ENDIVE CAESAR WAS DELICIOUS!
GRILLED OCTOPUS THAT WAS COOKED TO ABSOLUTE PERFECTION
LAMB SHANK WITH POLENTA
FRESH TROUT ON THE MENU BUT TASTED AND LOOKED LIKE SALMON
BUTTERNUT SQUASH RAVIOLI
MEDITERRANEAN BRANZINO
PORK CHOP WITH SOME TERRIBLE RED SAUCE

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