Now open is Tidal, Chef Amy DiBiase’s new dining concept on the west shore of Paradise Point Resort & Spa’s 44-acre island, offering waterfront dining on San Diego’s Mission Bay. Its space is a redesigned 1960s home, and its craft is healthy-but-indulgent food that blends California Coastal with Mediterranean tastes.
The new 3,000-square-foot restaurant is set in what was once a private home in the 1960s, built by Hollywood producer Jack Skirball. The most challenging aspect of renovating the structure into a restaurant was removing the stone floors and mortar bed, lowering the overall floor by six inches.
“Much of the primary structure was left intact, including the beautiful barreled ceiling of what is now the main dining room,” Chef DiBase explains. “Repurposed wood from the original deck of the hotel’s iconic observation tower was added to both the bar and some interior and exterior walls. Wallpaper was removed, allowing the wood’s natural texture to show through a new whitewash.”
The interior combines industrial and mid-century elements, such as riveted aviator chairs, Capiz shell globes, and live edge wooden tabletops.The overall feeling of the restaurant is of an airy beach house, with a casual, social atmosphere encouraged by communal tables, an indoor lounge, and cozy seating around fire pits.
Tidal’s menu infuses California Coastal cuisine with a Mediterranean twist, spotlighting local seafood, seasonal ingredients, and craft beverages. “Most of Tidal’s dishes are prepared with little to no starch, resulting in light yet flavorful cuisine,” DiBase says. “We only use ingredients that are in season, and source as much seafood and produce from local vendors as we can to keep our menu fresh and wholesome year-round.”
Some dishes are healthier takes on traditionally rich foods that use purer ingredients to mimic the same taste, DiBase explains. For example, the Torpedo Onion Soup is actually a vegetable puree that imitates the essence of a typical meat stock-based French onion soup, and the Venus Clams with Purple Potatoes embodies the flavor of clam chowder by using blended salsify instead of cream.
One of Tidal’s current local seasonal offerings is “fish in paper” (also known as the French dish “en papillote”), sourced on a daily basis from nearby fish purveyors. The fish, which typically comes from Baja California, is then sealed in parchment paper with freshly made flower butter that uses in-season edible blooms. An example of a Mediterranean twist is Chef DiBiase’s Ricotta Gnudi, which is an Italian-inspired dumpling dressed with braised lamb and a dismantled caponata of eggplant puree, roasted heirloom cherry tomato, sautéed zucchini, and cured black olives.
Additional signature dishes include Half Chicken Confit, crispy confit made with duck fat, served with cauliflower roasted in anchovy butter, heirloom carrots sautéed in chicken liver butter, and a Madeira reduction; and Olive Oil Poached Halibut, set on top of a brandade cake resting upon pureed and roasted asparagus, with pommery mustard on the side.
Specialty cocktails also make use of fresh ingredients. They include Tokyo 75, sparkling Resling with Damrak gin, yuzu, ginger reduction, shiso leaf, and orange zest; Rainbow Fish Punch, feauring bourbon whiskey, smashed strawberry and rhubarb, lemon, molasses, and vanilla reduction; and Monkey See, Monkey Do, with rum, smashed banana, muddled cilantro, dandelion and burdock bitters, orange, and honey soda.
By Joann Whitcher