Every Sunday this August, San Diego restaurant Arterra's new outdoor lounge, atop the Marriott hotel in Carmel Valley (southeast of Del Mar), hosts San Diego's most exclusive pool party.
Arterra's Sunday BBQ attracts a young, hipster crowd, cooling off after a long weekend of partying at Downtown San Diego clubs in the Marriott's glistening, turquoise pool while listening to the funky blues of the Lenny "Fuzzy" Rankins Band. Hangovers are hidden behind oversized designer shades and quickly forgotten after throwing back a couple of Arterra's signature Singapore Slings concocted by general manager Tom Masticola.
Join in on the all-you-can-eat buffet hosted by the legendary Phil's BBQ from 2-5pm, which includes baby back ribs, chicken and various sides for a mere $20. Arterra also offers a full sushi menu from their bar, while tapas-sized small bites such as ceviche tacos, tempura tiger prawns and kobe beef sliders are available on the outdoor lounge menu.
The rooftop refuge is reminiscent of a Las Vegas club. Private cabanas line the backside of the pool, fully equipped with plush sofas, plasma TVs and bottle service. As the sun descends behind the hills of Del Mar, the sky turns into a Mai Tai colored blur--a great backdrop for the underwater light show within the pool after dusk.
Meet the Chef
At the Sunday BBQ, one may even be lucky enough to run into Arterra's Executive Chef, Brian Pekarcik, lounging poolside on his day off.
Chef Brian is a charming, 33-year-old Pittsburg native who has worked from the bottom up in his career. He began cooking in order to support himself through college in Cleveland, Ohio. He graduated with a degree in Psychology and Business Management--but later realized that his true passion was in the kitchen, not in an office.
He furthered his cooking career through apprenticeships from top chefs including Gary Danko of San Francisco's Gary Danko Restaurant, and Bertrand of Bertrand at Mr. A's. Chef Brian recently moved back out to California to take over the kitchen at Arterra from former Chef Carl Schroeder.
"The position here was just too good to refuse," Chef Brian smiles. "I am thrilled to be working with Bradley Ogden and such an incredible staff. Plus, the weather just can't be beat."
Intimate Fine Dining
Arterra's indoor dining room is just as appealing as its poolside lounge. Although one can't deny the slight hotel feeling, the dining room is delicately decorated in a purple tile mosaic and is dimly lit with glass-blown lamps. Chef Brian's real talent shines in his extravagant dinner menu, featuring seasonal creations made from organic Chino Farms ingredients.
The best way to fully appreciate Arterra's genius is by splurging on the Chef's Tasting Menu ($69) and Wine Pairings ($52). Knowledgeable Sommelier Ted Glennon complements Chef Brian's favorite dishes with his educated palate. A native of Northern California, Glennon has spent his life discovering hard to find wines that divulge what North American purveyors have to offer. The partnership of these two masters working together makes for an unforgettable dining experience.
A Match Made in Heaven
Arterra's unique new menu came to life on August 1, 2007:
- Yellow tomato gazpacho, a cherry tomato tart and bright array of sliced heirloom tomatoes drizzled with fresh Burrata cheese paired with Wedell Cellars Chardonay, Edna Valley 2001.
- Citrus glazed pork steamed bun that literally melts in your mouth, chased by a fresh melon shooter and an ultra-light 2005 Gewurtzraminer from Central Coast Vineyards.
- Enormous grilled day boat scallop covered in Sherry essence, spring onion puree and an intricately made potato Napolean cake filled with duck confit and Chevre. The presentation and the great Pinot Noir from New Zealand linger in your mind before Chef Brian hits you with the entrée.
- Duck three ways: seared foie gras, confit cake with strawberry compote beneath ever-so-tender slices of roasted breasts and a cherry-Port jus. A powerful 2003 Hill Family Estate Cabernet/Merlot from Napa Valley suits the rich duck just right.
- Strawberry basil ice cream served inside pistachio phyllo topped with white chocolate mousse, impeccably diced strawberries and green tea granite completes the meal. Savor the 2004 Bella LH Zinfandel and try to remember all the amazing flavors of the night.
Whether you visit to devour barbeque by the Marriott's hotel pool or to indulge in a five-course meal at Arterra's indoor restaurant, Arterra
will not let you down. The combination of California-chic and European elegance make for one of the best dining experiences in San Diego.