Sea Grill Restaurant's new dinner and tapas menus

Sea Grill Restaurant's new dinner and tapas menus

by Ken Stewart
Stripes Guam

It seemed to take me a couple of months to finally make it to Sea Grill to “test dine” Executive Chef Rey Dasalla’s adventurous new menu creations, both for the restaurant’s dinner menu as well as the Surface Lounge Tenbou’s tapas menu selections. I could pinch myself for the time (and food eating) I’d missed!

For this dinner review I was joined by Zee and our good friend, Ms. Toshie Ito of Motiva Training. It’s important to point out that Zee is on a strictly vegetarian diet as part of a healthy lifestyle program she’s following with the SDA Wellness Center. This means she left the “heavy lifting” to me and Toshie! Fortunately, Chef Rey was able to accommodate her with some amazing vegetarian creations.

We were seated in the Surface Lounge which is on the 4th floor of the UnderWater World building and sits atop the Tail of the Whale Bar. Our seats afforded a dramatic view of busy San Vitores Road’s frenetic foot and vehicle traffic below. The lounge has an ethereal ambiance and dreamy atmosphere, and the elevated vantage point makes it seem as though you are on a cloud looking down. The booths have cushioned seats and pillows you can use to support yourself sitting up or laying down. It’s indulgent luxuriousness.

One of the first things that happens once seated is you’re greeted by your server and drinks are ordered. While waiting and perusing the menu, you can pick up crayons and start drawing or doodling, which is something that kept Toshie engaged throughout the dinner until she became too full! Chef Rey had made the selections for us which ended up being as much as we could possibly eat. His choices represented items from both the tapas and dinner menus.

One of the things Chef Rey showed me was the outdoor rooftop garden where they get their fresh herbs and some vegetables. The main dining room for Sea Grill has ample seating for large groups. There is a large full motion video screen streaming live action from the aquarium seascape! It’s mesmerizing viewing this while you eat!

As an initial sampler, we were delivered baba ghanoush crostini (roasted eggplant tapenade with toasted sliced French bread). This used local eggplant and was delicious. It’s not priced on the menu but can be made on request.

Next to come was the tapas menu sampler – $29 (any three tapas), which featured ahi tuna “katsu,” flash-fried poke and Chamorro chicken empanadas. This has a marvelous and colorful presentation, and each element has a story. Chef Rey’s chicken empanada had chicken kelaguen with a titiyas crust, draped by a lovely coconut dinanche sauce. It’s a tasty pika! The poke is flash fried and blended with sesame, onions, soy sauce, and highlighted with boonie peppers.

The ahi tuna is prepared katsu-style (panko crusted, deep fried and served on a bed of sliced local cucumbers and glazed with a miso sesame vinaigrette and wasabi aioli. Everything on this dish was eaten and it definitely tasted as good as it looked.

While we were engaged in eating this first sampler, we were brought out a stunning presentation that drew excited murmurs from around our table. This was the Sweet Romance Sampler For Two ($35) which features Chef Rey’s stuffed jumbo shrimp lumpia, barbecued pork ribs, crispy calamari, Spicy Tuna Poke Sushi Dynamite. This was a truly memorable tasting sampler (all that’s left was a photo), with original creations like the shrimp lumpia that explodes in your mouth with hot shrimp blanketed by a fried lumpia wrapper that’s drizzled with a delightful fresh pineapple-grapefruit marmalade and a light sweet and sour sauce! Yummy!

Yes, the calamari was good, fried up Japanese-style and served with a sweet chili sauce. The Spicy Tuna Poke Sushi had “tobiko” (flying fish roe) piled on top in a small mound with a wasabi aioli drizzle and tempura-crusted nori. The final element was the hoisin honey barbecue pork ribs, which are so amazingly meaty (St. Louis cut) and tender that you just start eating them and you end up with a little bone where there was once a lot of meat!

We were then brought our salads. I had the Tuna Salad Nicoise ($12.50), which had seared medium rare tuna, string beans, boiled egg, olives, tomatoes, potatoes, local cucumbers and anchovies drizzled with balsamic honey mustard vinaigrette. Toshie’s salad was the Seared Sesame Crusted Tuna Salad with miso sesame vinaigrette (from the chef’s ‘premier’ dinner course, not individually priced).

These were full of flavor and refreshing on the palate. Chef Rey then brought out a unique item we’d not seen anywhere else. It was a bottle of Ellie’s and Emi’s Island Finadene Sauce, which Sea Grill has labeled and is selling for $6.50 per bottle. It’s a bona fide made-in-Guam product.

Now it was time for the main course! We were pacing ourselves for this! My selection was the Mixed Sea Grill Platter ($39.95). This huge plate had a Grilled lobster tail, catch of the day (onaga snapper), prawns, scallops, mussels, citrus buerre blanc, cilantro oil, spicy tomato jam served with garlic mashed potatoes and sauteed fresh vegetables.

The fresh mussels grilled up nicely and the scallops were big, juicy and savory, and had been drizzled with that delicious ever-present citrus buerre blanc sauce! The lobster tail was just right and the Onaga grilled to an ideal doneness leaving the meat flaky and tasty. This was an extremely abundant plate that made me comfortable is calling Sea Grill a bona fide “seafood” restaurant. The spicy tomato jam was a pleasant surprise – really a fun, flavorful enhancement.

Toshie had the Catch of the Day ($28.50), which was the pan-fried onaga with mango salsa. We had a few bites and she opted to take the bulk of it home! Those garlic mashed potatoes are so good and so filling! For Zee’s main course Chef Rey created an off-the menu surprise – a zesty Zucchini Noodle Pasta with toasted sliced French bread. Bravo Chef Rey!

So we had just saved enough room (don’t ask how) for dessert, which Toshie and I tried to share. The first was the banana coconut bread pudding French toast ($8), which is topped with fresh berries, caramelized bananas and bourbon creme anglaise. Oh, my! This was a dream dish! The Bourbon creme formed a pond within the well of the plate, and we dipped spoonful after spoonful over our toast pieces – the bananas (did I say caramelized?); you get the flavor picture, right? Fresh mint on whipped cream! I have to rest with a two thumbs up high!

Our second dessert was a creme brulee of the day, and though I don’t remember the orange-red base mix, I did have a piece of the baked sesame wafer and the chocolate dipped strawberry. Beautiful presentation and nicely combined fruit toppings.

The Sea Grill’s dinner and lunch menus have many other items from land and the sea, including grilled New Zealand lamb chop and grilled porterhouse steak, along with live Maine lobster, king crab legs, and Local Reef Fish. The Tapas menu has beer-battered fish tacos, gravlax, jumbo; marinated prawns, and Mediterranean grilled baby octopus! Sea Grill boasts an impressive and enticing selection of food creations, made fresh, with passion, and designed to tantalize your palate!

Bon Appetit!
Ken the Guam Food Guy

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