The James Beard Award-winning creator of Mustards Grill in Napa Valley and more than a dozen other critically acclaimed “farm-to-table” restaurants, Cindy Pawlcyn has earned a reputation over the past 30 years as one of California’s top chefs. She’s been the Aquarium’s culinary partner since 2010.
At Cindy’s Waterfront, Cindy and resident Executive Chef Jeff Rogers have crafted a menu comprised of dishes featuring fresh interpretations of her well-loved seasonal California “comfort food”.
Chef Pawlcyn has outdone her self with her new venue at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. We had a chance to stop by to sample some of the best local sustainable seafood on the plate not just in a tank. This unique upscale dining venture gives Aquarium visitors not just a chance to see the wonder of the Monterey Bay but also have an opportunity to taste some of the best fare on the Monterey Peninsula.
We were amazed at all of the culinary delights of ocean and land as we gazed upon the rippling waves of the Monterey Bay.
Otters Frolicked in the rolling waves as we enjoyed an abundance of stunning local dishes prepared by Chef Jeff Rogers with the best in menu from the James Beard award winning Chef Cindy’s Pawlcyn. Her insight into using “farm to table” ingredients is legendary .
She continues to lend her Legacy to an institution dedicated to making the World Aware of our most precious resource, our oceans. Partnering with The World Famous Monterey Bay Aquarium, this Dining venue is a marriage made in the depths of the Environmental awareness. Monterey Bay is one of the countries most pristine marine sanctuaries and the Monterey Bay Aquarium attracts tourists from around the world to learn more about this unique environmental area. Now, those enjoying the Aquarium can enjoy a meal that reflects respect for the land and the sea.
On This day we enjoyed several dishes that demonstrated this message over and over again. We started right in and enjoyed the view of harbor seals sunning themselves as if they were on the French Riviera.
Calamari was delivered table-side, crispy with a lovely aioli sauce. Chef is known for his attention to preparation and the perfectly prepared Octopi was a tasty way to start.
Pasta was the focus of our next dish and King Salmon was the co-star with a mouthwatering work of art on a plate. We were told throughout our stay that the King Salmon catch this year was one of the best seen in the area in years. So good in fact, the population is being monitored closely for sustainability reasons. Calamari and pasta would have been enough but Chef had more plans in store for us on this beautiful day overlooking the bay.
Of course , Chef had to showcase the King Salmon dish to keep our palates in focus . With the sound of waves crashing on the rocks below and the faint sound of harbor seals nearby , a master piece arrived at our table. A perfectly seared King Salmon was artfully placed on top of locally sourced vegetables. This dish indeed was a feast for our eyes and our taste-buds.
Everything thus far was simple , yet sophisticated in taste profiles ,showcasing Chef Pawlcyn’s mission of local sustainability.
We could not agree more, and Chef Rogers continued to showcase local ingredients with our afternoon dining adventure by the bay .
Our effervescent , efficient, veteran server extraordinaire appeared at our table with a roll . But this was not just any roll, it was a roll Cindy style .
Looking down at our plate was a large house-made roll stuffed with creamy, rich dungness crab topped with avocado. How California can you get ? This “California” lobster roll was perfect.
For the period at the end our visit , bread pudding and Cindy’s version of a S’More was a way to sweeten our day even more .
This dining adventure was an epicurean educational experience. In these times, sustainability is not just a buzz word, it is a way of life. A visit to the Monterey Bay aquarium and Cindy’s Waterfront demonstrates how respecting our environment is crucial to our own survival . After a day of looking at all of the creatures of the sea, Cindy’s brings it all in perspective as you dine above the cliffs overlooking the beautiful and pristine Monterey Bay.