The Embassy Suites restaurant has held a special spot in our hearts for almost two decades now.
It is there we have celebrated birthdays, anniversaries, met with out of town friends; and for our children growing up it was the place to take them to play in the sand on a clean beach after Sunday Brunch.
So it was only natural that I would want to try their Thanksgiving Brunch after hearing from the manager that they had brought in a new chef and revamped their menu.
The restaurant located inside the Mandalay Beach Hotel overlooks both the hotel pool and Pacific Beach. The building is a modern spin on Spanish colonial style and boasts high vaulted ceilings. The décor in dark hues of brown compliments the multiple arch domed windows and the light tan walls.
Arriving as a party of five we called ahead and made a reservation, as we did not know how busy it would be.
We arrived five minutes ahead of schedule and were greeted by the restaurant manager who showed us to the table promptly. Our table overlooking the ocean was in the center of the large dining room but still an adequate distance from other diners to give us enough privacy.
The festive champagne buffet with tables placed in a U shape offered a blend of traditional holiday dishes along with regular brunch dishes.
We started with the seafood station that displayed poached shrimp, Baja sea scallops, New Zealand mussels and smoked salmon. We passed by the make your salad station before heading on to the main attraction – the meat carving stations with turkey, lamb and beef.
There were other entrees served; like salmon in herb cream sauce and mushroom ravioli but in all honestly we came for our yearly turkey fix, and we got it.
As dark meat lovers, we enjoyed a helping of that first dark turkey meat, but it was hugely popular with our fellow diners, so the supply was soon depleted. Somewhat disappointed we turned to the white meat, and it was surprisingly delicious – moist and very well seasoned.
Of course we had to try all the traditional sides which included roasted yams with marshmallows, lemongrass coconut basmati rice, Parmesan mashed potatoes, green beans, and stuffing. My personal favorites were the yams though I admit it was the roasted marshmallows that I shamelessly filled my plate with, along with the moist and multi-textured stuffing which is a killer recipe I wouldn’t mind stealing!
The dessert table looked particularly inviting, so we all tried the assortment of pies and cakes they offered. As one that abhors pudding of all sorts, it wouldn’t have even occurred to me to try the bread pudding. Luckily my son who happens to like the dessert insisted I sample a piece. And I can I say that I’m sure glad I did! The bread pudding made with blueberries was fluffy and unlike others that are slightly tart. In fact, it was hands down the best part of my meal.
We would have liked to conclude our meal with a specialty coffee, but as it wasn’t included in the price of $51 per person, we opted for the house coffee that was somewhat bland and not as strong as I had hoped for.
Worth mentioning was the attentive staff that began with the restaurant manager at the beginning of the meal and continued to the end with Betsy our server, who continuously came around replenishing our drinks and clearing the empty plates.
We got a kick out of meeting the new chef who was overseeing the buffet and was extremely friendly and graciously answered my questions.
Autism Travel Tips
We were grateful that the restaurant was relatively quiet and though busy, never felt crowded.
The venue is a good place to take children to, as you can incorporate a fun and sensory walk on the beach when they get irritable.