Hawaii Mom Blog: Visit Mendocino County: Harbor House Inn Restaurant




October 27, 2023

Visit Mendocino County: Harbor House Inn Restaurant

Harbor House Inn focuses on sea vegetables and farmed ingredients from the immediate area, without the use of imported luxury ingredients - a concept very similar to Na`au, so we were excited to dine there.

We arrived a little early to tour the grounds a bit.  You could walk down to the beach, but I decided to stay up near the gardens and admire the most stunning ocean view.
Savory Infusion of Sea Vegetables

We started off with one of the tastiest cups of broths I've ever had in my life.  The Savory Infusion of Sea Vegetables was very reminiscent of miso soup!

Cured Rockfish, Hyssop

The Red Sea Urchin sat atop a chawanmushi-like custard.  The urchin was buttery soft.
Red Sea Urchin
It was accompanied by my favorite bite of the night - the Tiny Sea Corn.  Sprinkled with dried seaweed, this reminded me of hurricane popcorn!  It was so addicting - I wish I could've eaten a dozen more!
Tiny Sea Corn, Fried Corn Silk

The Abalone was first presented tableside in an ash dough crust and opened, before being taken back to finish for plating.  
Abalone Steamed in Ash Dough, Offal Sauce

Next came another memorable course featuring mushrooms.

Mushroom Broth

Maitake Mushroom, Fried and Infused

The tempura Maitake Mushroom was amazing - perfectly fried and light in texture.  The accompanying broth was amazing as well.  

It was neat to try the lichen for the first time!  
Laced Lichen

Black Cod Smoked Over Bay Laurel, Sunflower, Shishito

The black cod was tender and cooked perfectly, and the sunflower sauce was as bold in taste as it was in color.

HH Ranch Chicken, Potato, Pickled and Charred Cucumber

Seaweed Sourdough, Cultured Butter, Cranberry Bean Miso

I absolutely loved the bread, which had seaweed intermixed for a nice taste of umami.  The Cranberry Bean Miso was so good - I swiped the dish clean.  There was something so familiar about the flavor combination - it reminded me of a dressing that is popular in Hawai`i.  
Lamb, King Trumped Mushrooms, Blackberry Jus

Lemon Cucumber and Melon Sorbet, Amazake Yogurt

The Sorbet and Ice Cream were two refreshing sweets that were very delightful.  
Marigold Ice Cream, Peaches, Honeycomb Candy
Infusion of Douglas Fir, Grilled Honey, Sweet Herbs, Various Fruits

There were many elements of surprise and whimsy throughout the dinner, and the ending to the experience was the most memorable ever, as we were presented with an array of fruits, as well as Douglas Fir Tea. We had a clever floral honey dipper, which was used to sweeten the tea if we so chose to.

I loved that I got to try so many ingredients for the first time, like lichen, Douglas fir, rock cod, and marigold.  

Service was exceptional, and the Harbor House Inn Restaurant tasting seriously ranks up there in my top 3 experiences of all time.

Chef Matt took the time to speak with us after the dinner, discussing sea vegetables, a term which he tries to push due to “seaweed” having a negative connotation.

I highly recommend experiencing the Harbor House Inn tasting menu - it is unforgettable!

Harbor House Inn
5600 South Highway 1,
Elk, CA 95432
(707) 877-3203

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