Stu-stu-Studio. I’m not sure whether Phil Collins has ever eaten at Studio, the luxurious seasonal restaurant at Montage Laguna Beach, but as he says in the song “Sussudio,” “I’ve got to get closer but I don’t know how.” Actually, Phil, it’s pretty simple; just take Pacific Coast Highway south and make a reservation. Those fairly basic instructions will lead you to a cliff-top restaurant featuring the cooking of seasoned executive chef Craig Strong, who grows seasonal ingredients on-site and sources the remainder from nearby farms and ranches to craft stunning dishes. Studio has an a la carte menu, but you might as well go all the way and order a tasting menu ($170) that beautifully captures the moment.
The fourth course in my recent six-course menu starred grilled Ibérico pork. This prized meat comes from famed black-footed pigs that feast on Spanish acorns. Strong cooks Ibérico pork sous vide to preserve the meat’s integrity. In this case, Chef Strong plates rosy, seared cylinders in a sticky reduction with grilled baby corn and tangy sour shiitake mushroom slices resting on silky potato-miso mousseline. A thatch of crispy fried potato strands, tiny edible flowers, and a dusting of shichimi togarashi, the famed Japanese seven-spice blend, complete the presentation. With dishes this good, by the end of dinner, you’ll no doubt be humming Collins tunes like “One More Night” instead of “Take Me Home.”
Dose of Vitamin P spotlights my favorite pork dish from the previous week.