Beware the $15 abalone

“Well, I thought lunch sucked.”

That completely wraps up Gail’s review of Basil Seasonal Dining, a chic place in Carmel that bills itself as providing “Area-sourced seasonal Californian dishes are served in a casual setting with a dog-friendly patio.”

We chose the place because there was abalone on the menu, an appetizer portion for only $15.  That should have been a warning–abalone is never that cheap.  You gets what you pays for.


Farmed abalone/vermouth/parsnip puree/English peas/asparagus-potato hash

An abalone shell filled with a lot of vegetables and darned little overcooked abalone just didn’t cut it.

Worse, in Gail’s opinion, was the Castroville Artichoke Salad, a depressing mishmosh of “wild arugula/ East of Edom Schoch Farm cheese/Quail & Olive Ambrosia vinaigrette”.  Menus use brand names to make things sound more important, but who really knows one brand of vinaigrette from another?  Is “Quail & Olive Ambrosia” one of the big names in gourmet salad dressings?  I’ve never heard of them, have you?

If I gave you a slice of raw artichoke, you wouldn’t know what it was and you wouldn’t like it.  It is a hard, fibrous, tasteless little wood chip; you need to steam it with garlic to make it palatable.  The raw artichoke in Gail’s salad were not improved by the fancy vinaigrette, or the improbably named cheese.

To be fair, I had the English Pea Ravioli, and enjoyed it.


Spinach pasta filled with Peas, surrounded by peas, asparagus and shallots.

My meal was fine, I enjoyed all of it.

Cousin Mary was with us, and she had the English Pea risotto–all the same things as the ravioli, but in a risotto.  Her portion was huge; she tried hard but couldn’t finish it.

My glass of iced tea was garnished with a basil leaf, which was interesting and creative.  They don’t offer any sweetener other than Stevia, because they believe that they know best and want to protect me from myself.  Gee thanks, mom.

The location is beautiful, the service was decent, but all was lost with the abalone and then dragged out to sea and drowned by the artichoke salad.  There are lots of interesting places to eat in Carmel, we’ll find a different one next time.


Basil Seasonal Dining Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato



4 thoughts on “Beware the $15 abalone

  1. looks good actually! we are down that way fairly often especially in Jan. They are so right about the Stevia! But I assume you are bringing your own artificial sweetener with you now?

  2. One of the best artichokes Mavis or I have ever had is here in New Mexico at the Ojo Caliente Springs & Resort, North of Santa Fe. $15 though so you can’t get too excited or eat too many…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: