Ever since Mom passed away, Thanksgiving hasn’t been the same. With Kniki away in the military, it’s just the three of us: me, Tom and Kris. Cooking a big turkey dinner doesn’t seem worth it – especially when none of us particularly likes turkey. So we’ve been going out on Thanksgiving the past few years. Luckily for us, more and more restaurants are staying open for the holiday so we have plenty of choices.
This year, Fearing’s was our logical choice. We were big fans of the Mansion when Dean was there, and we followed him to the Ritz, attending the grand opening of his new restaurant back in September and then going again in October. The food was stupendous. When we found out they were putting on a special Thanksgiving event, we made reservations.
There are seven different dining areas in the restaurant. We asked for and got seating in the Sendero Room, a beautiful glass walled space that looks out on the poolside dining area on one side and the outdoor bar/patio with a lovely stone fireplace on the other.
With temperatures in the 40s, the outdoor space was almost deserted, but it’s a great place to gather in friendlier weather.
Even though we’d made reservations for an "off" time – 2:45 pm – the place was full; we obviously weren’t the only ones who decided to treat ourselves to a very special Thanksgiving dinner.
Our server, Josh, couldn’t have been more enthusiastic or attentive. Some people might be unhappy about working on the holiday, but he seemed thrilled to be able to cater to our every request. Like the last time we were there, Dean stopped by the table to say hello, too. This is something I really like about the new place. At the Mansion, you almost never saw him. Here, he’s out and about, mingling with his guests all the time – and always greets everyone like an old friend.
Dinner was $95 per person, with your choice of several different options for each course. I started with Nantucket Bay Scallops and a "hushpuppy" shrimp over rice, in a yummy sauce with Oregon white truffles. It was great. Tom had the sampler of griddled jumbo lump crabcakes, barbequed duck tamale and roasted chili-wild mushroom empanada, and Kris went with the roasted butternut squash bisque with pheasant confit and spiced pecan cream. They both seemed to thoroughly enjoy theirs, too.
The entrees, though, were the main event. Tom and Kris both opted for the Bone-in Tenderloin of Beef with "smashed" sweet potatoes, creamed spinach, Oregon black truffles and Madeira sauce. They both said it was the best steak they’d ever had.
Since I don’t eat beef, I chose the Pan-roasted John Dory over root vegetable gratin, with griddled asparagus and a lobster fondue. Oh. My. Goodness. I am a seafood lover and I’ve tasted a lot of excellent fish, but I have to say this was probably the best I’ve ever had, too. I had never had John Dory before; according to my web research it’s a mean looking little fish that comes mostly from New Zealand. It tastes wonderful, at least the way Dean prepared it. It’s a very delicate and tender, slightly flaky white fish that was surprisingly filling.
The third course was a dessert sampler that included miniature cheesecake, a tiny pecan pie with whipped cream and a small pumpkin pie (I didn’t finish the last one; by then I was so full I was ready to curl up and take a nap right there in my chair. Maybe the two glasses of Riesling had something to do with that, too).
Even though the portions looked small on the plates, we all felt appropriately stuffed by the time we were finished. Mom’s turkey and dressing it wasn’t, but it was a wonderful experience. I only wish Mom and Dad were here so we could’ve taken them there with us. If I were rating the experience (and I guess I am), I’d have to give it a 5 out of 5.
I didn’t want to take the "real" camera and make a production of it, so all these photos were taken with my cell phone. They might not be pro quality pictures, but I think they help to capture the essence of a great meal.