You need to hop on Open Table and make a reservation at The Beach Café PRONTO. Their lakefront setting at Carillon Point has always been lovely, but now there is a new Chef, Brian Doherty (photo), who has elevated the dining experience. I have not been shy in the past about sharing my disappointment in the mediocre food and service at this restaurant, which is why I'm elated to share this delicious NEW experience with you now. It's a true turn-around, so I want you to enjoy this spot with a fresh set of eyes. This is no longer an overcooked burger/fries or cobb salad-type experience.
(Chef Brian Doherty, photo cred: Woodmark Hotel)
Since the Beach Café remained closed during most of the pandemic, Chef Brian had plenty of time to carefully plan their re-launch. Seafood abounds with a daily fresh sheet which currently includes items such as salmon, ahi tuna, halibut, and trout. But fear not carnivores, you can also find steak, chicken, and lamb. Steve and I sat under an umbrella on the patio with sweeping views. We started with the calamari ($15) which was perfectly crispy lightly fried and paired with lemon aioli (photo). My very favorite taste of the evening was probably the jumbo prawn watermelon salad. Not only was it beautifully presented with a skewer-sized shrimp, the lettuce, crisp watermelon, and feta all complimented each other for a showcase summer delight. Paired with the Erath Pinot Gris ($11) and some sunshine I was definitely in my happy place.
My entree was the Woodmark Seafood Cioppino ($40) which was an explosion of fresh crab, prawns, scallops, salmon, clams, and mussels in a rich tomato broth with some fabulous bread so you don't leave any juice behind. Steve had the salmon ($48) and selected asparagus and some ridiculously indulgent mashed potatoes as his sides. And then just when we thought we didn't have any room left for dessert, we decided to 'taste' the creme brulee. As you can see from the photos, this is a generous portion and we somehow managed to still lick the bowl clean. Our waitress, Cornelia, was on-point every step of the way.
The format of the inside of the restaurant is basically the same with some fresh paint and upholstery. Take note that this new and improved Beach Café is currently open Weds thru Sat 5-9 pm for dinner and Sunday 10-2 for brunch (closed Mon/Tues). Be sure to make reservations on Open Table. It was funny watching Steve's eyes light up with excitement as each course arrived and it was CLEARLY not the old Beach Café (perhaps they should have changed the name??). It was making us reminisce about the Third Floor Fish Café a little bit. He even declared this was now one of his 'Top 5" in Kirkland. Kudos to the Woodmark and Chef Brian for elevating this dining experience. And Open Table just gave them an award for making their "Best Overall Restaurant" list on the Eastside. We are excited to have this Beach Café as a new addition to our lineup. Dying to know what you all think! ~j