Seafood in the desert is something that a few people just won’t do, rationalizing that, since we are not near a coast, everything is frozen or just plain bad.
This group of people is going to be missing out on a fantastic respite from our ocean-barren geography. The Yacht Club in Arcadia has a menu sure to please the seafood lovers in our metro area. Even better, you can bring along your scared friends and ease them back into accepting the fact that, just because we don’t cling to an ocean, doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the fruits of it.
If they still won’t budge, there are plenty of other non-seafood options to choose from in this voyage to the sea.
Replacing La Fontella off of Indian and 44th Street, the Yacht Club still has a temporary sign post on the street, but I was greatly impressed with what they did on the inside. The crew is dressed in a somewhat nautical theme but nothing Disneyesque or over the top — think a modern Hamptons yacht club instead.
The décor is mostly white with sparks of gold and silver. In fact, on the beautiful cool rainy day I visited Yacht Club, the windows were wide open and with the breeze coming in, you could easily forget you were in the desert.
It wasn’t packed when I arrived, but I think once word of mouth gets around, this place will be packed. The service was punctual and friendly and they knew the menu. Asking for recommendations will give you many options. We had a hard time deciding what to order but we started with their crab dip.
The dip has nicely-sized chunks of crab and a flavorful but not overly fishy sauce covered with bread crumbs and browned. Accompanied by crostini, the dip is a perfect starting point. In fact, when we ran out of the crostini, we wished we had more for dipping but it was so good I’m embarrassed to say we finished it off with our forks!
Next up, I enjoyed a lobster pasta while my dining partner took on the halibut. While we both agreed my dish took the first prize, it could have easily been reversed based on your craving for the evening. The pasta had huge lobster pieces, which was a pleasant surprise as sometimes you end up with small, questionable pieces in such a dish. The sauce was decadent and the dish incorporated thick pancetta pieces, fettuccini noodles and lemon bread crumbs. If you are looking for a rich dish, this is your obvious choice.
The other option we chose, the halibut, was a perfect light fare for summer — pan-seared perfectly and covered with fresh herbs and fennels while sitting in a shellfish broth. The halibut was a large piece and left you feeling full but not like you over did it. We shared a side of au gratin cauliflower, which was very mild in flavor but the texture was fantastic. It ended up being a perfect side to both our dishes.
Lastly, we went for it and ordered key lime pie for dessert. As a child growing up in Miami (and spending many summers in the Keys), I can be a bit pretentious on key lime pies. I was highly impressed, not only by the presentation, but that it appeared and tasted authentic.
The server assured me it was made with true key limes and, so far, she had not gone wrong on anything else. It arrived in an oddly-shaped mason jar — short and wide but narrow at the top. It made it fun to try to get into every corner or grove of the jar. The color, the tartness, and the smell all felt real to me. It definitely brought back childhood memories.
To date, this is the best key lime pie I have had in the Valley. I’d go back just for this dessert alone. Of course, they also have a pecan and chocolate pie as well.
I just might have to go back twice.