We were looking for someplace fun to celebrate our Sixth Date-aversary. That’s the sixth anniversary of our first date, and it happened to fall on a warm Saturday night. We are huge oyster fans, and The Brigantine Seafood and Oyster Bar in Del Mar had been on our bucket list since way before COVID, so this was the perfect occasion!
When I say “oyster fans,” I don’t mean foam-finger-and-team-shirt fans. We’re the kind of people who ask the oysters’ provenance before ordering. There is actually a name for fanatics like us: ostreophiles, true oyster lovers into the meroir of the tasty little bivalves. The Brigantine seemed like the perfect place to savor a great meal and drink in the view of the Del Mar Fairgrounds lighting up after dark.
A wonderful thing about The Brigantine is valet parking! In fact, they don’t even allow Uber to drop people off there! So you don’t have to worry about where you’re going to park. It’s $6, plus a tip, of course.
Thank goodness we made reservations in advance and asked for patio seating with a view! At 7 pm on a Saturday evening, you might find yourself hunkered over a bar if you don’t call in advance. With mask and social-distancing restrictions lifted, there was a definite positive vibe in the air from both diners and staff. It’s great to see so many people in such a good mood!
About Those Oysters…
We were seated on the patio with a panoramic view of the fairgrounds, the lagoon, and the ocean sprawled out before us. After some chit-chat, we ordered up a dozen oysters from Phantom Creek, British Columbia, served with cocktail sauce, horseradish, and mignonette sauce. These bad boys were big and bold! They had the fresh, clean taste you would expect from the icy cold waters of the Pacific Northwest. There’s your meroir! I chose a glass (or two, truth be told) of Daou Vineyards 2020 Discovery Chardonnay, a fruity wine with hints of honeysuckle and jasmine. Andy picked the cucumber jalapeño Margarita.
We chose the signature Grilled Swordfish with avocado-lime butter on a bed of parmesan risotto and broccolini and the Wok-Charred Ahi with jasmine rice for dinner. The swordfish was grilled perfectly, firm and moist with smoky umami directly from the grill. My Ahi was awesome with lots of veggies. I saw bok choy, red and green bell peppers, crispy wonton strips, and a wasabi-shogu sauce that was sweet-hot and tasted very lightly like curry.
The Perfect Finish
As dinner ended, the San Diego County Fair lights were glowing against a sunset sky. For dessert, we ordered two Aspen coffees, a flourless chocolate peanut butter cake, and a warm apple crisp. Aspen coffee is made with Kailua, Bailey’s, and Frangelico, topped with whipped cream. I found the recipe at Rserving.com. My flourless chocolate cake was solid delicious decadence! The server warned us that it might be too much for one person! It’s a disc of chocolate cake filled with chunks of peanut butter and topped with whipped cream. I snuck a bite or two of Andy’s warm apple crisp, which was drizzled with a tasty caramel sauce that reminded me of caramel corn.
As we wandered out the front door after paying our bill, and the cool wind blowing through our hair, we strolled south down the east side of Highway 101 to the lagoon bridge. We stood there, looking at the fair lights (especially the Ferris Wheel) and smelling the ocean. We crossed over to catch the last bit of sunset from north Del Mar Beach, then headed back to The Brigantine to claim our car.
Our experience overall at The Brigantine was wonderful. The entrees did come a little too fast, even before we were done with our oysters. But I am chalking that up to the excitement of serving a full house and being so soon after COVID restrictions. I definitely recommend getting reservations and asking for outdoor seating with a view if you are dining at sunset! We loved it so much we’re already thinking of our next visit. We plan to head there for lunch to dig The Brig’s Famous Fish Tacos, can’t wait for what date number 7 will bring us!