Bellamy’s on Grand Avenue just released their fall menu, and last week I tried some offerings. It was one of the most memorable meals I’ve had in years.
The fall menu is served Monday- Saturday. It continues the philosophy of Chef Patrick Ponsaty, who keeps his hand in even though he recently opened Ponsaty’s in Rancho Santa Fe.
Bellamy’s offers California Modern cuisine with French influences. Once, strictly French, it evolved into a slightly diversified emphasis that highlights the talents of Chef Ponsaty’s protege, Executive
Chef Jonathan Freberg. They have worked together for 11 years.
I tried several courses, each with a modest pairing of a vintage that set it off at its best.
My waiter was Jason Villacortez, a very personable young man who is working on an MBA at Cal State San Marcos.
The wait staff is very attentive but unobtrusive. They are always there when you want them, never there when you don’t.
I started with a salad of wild arugula and roasted figs with goat cheese, dressed with a truffle vinaigrette. It was paired with a Blees-Ferber River Bend Riesling. The fruity sweet white wine was a nice marriage with the roasted figs and slightly bitter arugula. The sweetness of the figs tussled with the goat cheese, while the wine united the flavors in a way that was fresh — yet sophisticated.
Kristina Miller, who has been the manager for five years, dropped by my table. She mentioned that the business also operates Bandy Canyon Ranch near Ramona,a venue that offers catering and a charming location for weddings.
Chef Ponsaty is committed to using local produce. The figs and greens are all local, and the goat cheese comes from the Jack Ford farm in in Valley Center.
“We like to emphasize farm to table,” said Miller. For example, the mushrooms in the Mountain Meadow Mushroom Ravioli I was preparing to dig into, comes from Mountain Meadows Mushrooms, which is located in Escondido. Besides Jack Ford they also purchase their greens from Be Wise Ranch on San Pasqual Road.
My next course was the escargot made with toasted almond shavings in a white wine butter sauce served with crusting, small bread slices. It was paired with a Quincy Sauvignon Blanc. The richness of the tender escargot was set off by the sweet orange tomatoes and the crunchiness of the almonds. Rich but not overwhelming. It provided enough time for some quiet conversation. The sauce was so subtle and delicious that I kept dipping the tines of my fork in it after the snails were history.
The Mountain Meadow Mushroom Ravioli was a high point of this meal, and well worth waiting for. Imagine porcini mushrooms stuffed into ravioli and smothered in a rich port wine sauce. Truly to die for!
It was paired with a Cotes Du Rhône, a red which complimented the earthy flavors of the porcini mushrooms. It was totally delicious. The red wine is a great compliment to the very, very rich red wine sauce. Iclosed my eyes to appreciate the flavor bombs going off on my palate.
I told Miller how much I enjoyed this dish, and she grinned. “There would be a riot if we took that off the menu.”
The entree was a signature dish of the new menu, the Scottish Salmon served with a mushroom risotto and a marsala porcini sauce. This was paired with a Beaucharme Chardonnay, a white burgundy, whose fruity notes danced perfectly with the fish, which was caught in Scotland, rather than being prepared with a Scottish recipe. The fish was perfectly cooked, pink and flaking and melt in your mouth tender, but with a crunchy crust on top. This is perfection!
The risotto was the perfect accompaniment to the fish. This is a new menu item, but I’m sure it will become a favorite.
I ended my adventure in fine dining with some a “surprise” from the kitchen, a chocolate bissau (kiss), which is a form of mousse, topped with 24 karat gold flakes and garnished with crunchy pralines. It was accompanied by homemade chocolate ice cream, and a tiny glass of 14-year old port wine.
Oh dear! What an evening.
The fall dishes feature the finest ingredients from local seafood and fresh herbs, to farmers and winemakers. Cisine is headed by Chef Patrick Ponsaty and Jonathan Freyberg and service and wine are managed by Derry Van Nortwick and Kristina Miller.
Bellamy’s is located 417 W Grand Ave, Escondido, CA 92025. Call them for reservations at 760.747.5000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.