Off the Menu: New Menus at Bluewater Grill and The Winery

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Bluewater Grill halibut
Bluewater Grill halibut

By Christopher Trela & Catherine Del Casale | NB Indy

Bluewater Grill Takes the ‘Inside Passage’

Bluewater Grill always seems to have the inside scoop on seafood, and now they have the “Inside Passage” thanks to their new menu that debuts in May.

For those unfamiliar with the Pacific Northwest, Bluewater Grill’s cheat sheet notes that “the Inside Passage is a coastal route for ocean-going vessels that weaves through the islands on the pacific coast of North America from Alaska through British Columbia to Washington state…known for its cold, pure waters and bountiful seafood.”

Bluewater Grill in Newport Beach held a special tasting last Tuesday to offer the public a sneak peek at the May menu (they’ll hold one more tasting in May).

The Inside Passage menu is timed to coincide with the opening of wild halibut and wild salmon fishing seasons.

We attended the Tuesday tasting, where Executive Chef Jason Mazur served his signature pan seared Alaskan halibutbluewater 2 with parmesan polenta cake, oyster mushrooms, spinach and oven-roasted tomato vinaigrette, accompanied by a smoked salmon cake and all paired with a choice of viognier-marsanne from Australia and pinot noir from Monterey.

The halibut was firm yet moist, perfectly prepared, as was the smoked salmon. Both dishes went well with the wines (we preferred the viognier—it was the more interesting of the two wines).

Of course we had to order dessert—the key lime pie and the chocolate lava cake, both excellent.

On May 10, the next Inside Passage tasting features Washington cedar plank salmon topped with shaved fennel, caramelized cauliflower and root vegetable gratin, and paired with an Acrobat pinot gris from Washington. The cost is $29.95 per person.

“We host an annual Lobster and Clambake, and very popular oyster and salmon celebrations, but this is the first time we’ve combined regional delicacies from Pacific Northwest, Canada and Alaska all on the same seasonal menu,” explained Bluewater Grill co-owner Jimmy Ulcickas. “It’s the ultimate celebration for the seafood connoisseur.”

In addition to the halibut and salmon, the Inside Passage menu will also feature oysters on the half shell from Washington and British Columbia.

For more information, visit

winery brunchWinery Adds Sunday Brunch

Christopher has taken his mother to The Winery for special Sunday brunch celebrations (Easter, Mother’s Day), so he was happy to learn that The Winery is adding a permanent Sunday brunch starting this weekend.

Executive Chef Yvon Goetz will offer a variety of brunch items prepared with his personal flair beginning April 17 and served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

According to information from The Winery, the menu will change weekly and consist of dishes such as zinfandel braised beef shortrib hash and fried eggs with duck fat-roasted fingerling potatoes and roasted cauliflower (which Christopher enjoyed at the Winery’s Easter brunch several weeks ago), almond croissant crème brulee French toast with fresh berries and applewood smoked bacon, and such fresh line-caught fish as opah and mahi mahi (flown in from Hawaii).

“Since opening our second location on the waterfront in Newport Beach, we have created quite a stir by successfully pairing contemporary California regional cuisine, with a hip, vibrant, sophisticated setting,” said JC Clow, founding partner of The Winery Restaurant & Wine Bar. “Now, we take things on step further by introducing a relaxing Sunday Brunch with exquisite service, an incredible wine program, and a warm and passionate brunch menu.”

Relaxing is an apt description of dining at The Winery. Located on the water overlooking Newport’s picturesque harbor, we can’t think of a better spot for brunch.

For more information, call (949) 999-6622 or visit


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