Perfect Pairing at El Surf Club

Kathleen Horner

El Surf is a laid-back marvel of a beach club: La Lancha surf break attracts surfer and surf-watchers all day long. Pelicans skim the surface of the bay. Sunsets slowly dip behind Las Marietas Islands. And now Villa Torél and Fauna, two of Latin America’s top 50 restaurants, have paired up for a limited engagement until March 18: Vines & Surf.

You’ll want to make your rezzies now. Here’s why. Just like El Surf Club, Vines and Surf has a casual kind of menu—offerings for every taste and a
list of 40 wines (with daily features), cocktails (try the Naked and Famous) and mocktails. Shellfish, snacks and salads, and mains play equally well to a lazy afternoon at the beach and a candle-lit dinner with friends.

The grilled Gratinated Oysters are melty good and the gorgonzola doesn’t overpower the delicate taste of the oysters. Broccoli Guacamole is an inventive dip, more the consistency of a pesto sauce. The Smoked Marlin Paté is generously-portioned, well-balanced with spicy chilis, and sits perfectly on accompanying Ritz crackers.

Crab Salad is a deconstructed affair, not a blend. Chunks of crab and potato top a bed of kale lightly dressed with citrus so good that those who avoid the often-bitter ruffled green will surprise themselves by cleaning the bowl. Light pear and grapefruit flavors of a Pinot Grigio from Tenuta Del Morer complement this dish nicely. Roasted Beet Salad has a citrus cream and onion jus that is as vibrant as it is unexpected.

Monte Xanic, Valle de Guadalupe, is a Merlot with restrained berry and plum flavors and soft edges. Try a glass with the Lamb Quesadillas. These lightly-fried pastries are plump with shredded lamb and Ramonetti cheese (crafted in Baja’s wine country). Choose from three sauces for dipping: the red one is quite exciting!

Sure, there’s a 600-gram ribeye on the menu, which is no doubt perfectly grilled. But do try the Wagyu Hamburger—because Vines & Surf clearly understands the craving. Served with whole- cut French fries, the burger is juicy and tender, the Cheddar softened just right, and the bun is a cloud of Brioche. A little cup of burger sauce with pickles in it is so luscious it qualifies as a side dish on its own. Cut in quarters and share with friends, or find a quiet spot to enjoy this indulgence on your own because you’ll make nom-nom noises.

Vines & Surf is a gift to Punta Mita’s beach club scene, offering a varied and inspired menu and attentive service. It’s also a limited-time-offer. Reservations are available on Open Table. You may want to make more than one. Come a menudo y bien!