Shawn McClain is the executive chef and partner of Spring. The restaurant opened in 2001 and was nominated for the James Beard Foundation’s “Best New Restaurant” award. Spring is essentially a seafood restaurant ”juxtaposing Eastern influence with Western foundations.”
Chef McClain was not in the kitchen the night we were there as his wife had just had a baby.
Amuse – Spiced White bean espuma, beet chip, micro-basil – delicate, but well-seasoned.
Wine with beginning dishes
Cortes Island Oysters, coriander spiced ginger, tabasco and citrus caviar – excellent
Nori-cured Hamachi sashimi, spiced watermelon, cucumber-sake gelee, citrus and cilantro – first rate quality fish and I really enjoyed the pairing with the watermelon.
Tuna tartare, banana miso, toasted cashews, poached shallots, soy-lime dressing – the key ingredient in this dish was the banana – again a surprise element but excellent.
Charred Tuna sashimi, in the style of Nicoise, soft quail egg, black olive-lemon vinaigrette – In retrospect, we should not have ordered two tuna dishes, but as we were doing splits one for two, we thought it would work.
Hoisin Glazed Baby octopus, Thai Pancetta, caramelized onion and Japanese eggplant – this was so tough and chewy that 2 bites was all we could manage. Compare the above dish to the tender, flavorable squid at Mercat.
Barramundi, Chinese mustard and yukon gold potato gnocchi, shiitake mushroom, edamame – The gnocchi were excellent, but I was underwhelmed by the fish. To be honest, I am not sure why. Perhaps, it was under seasoning, but I don’t have a clear taste-memory of this dish.
For me, the chilled appetizer dishes at Spring were far superior to the warm appetizer and main that we ordered. It could be that we ordered badly and didn’t pick the best dishes to showcase Spring’s cuisine. This post is based on a one-time dining experience so it must be viewed in that context. As for service, it was absolutely stellar. Ann, our server, was superb as was Fletcher, the GM.