A Toast to the CoastNov 01, 2021 ● By Lisa Ferguson
My memories of growing up in Southern California during the 1980s are mostly fond ones, awash in the decade’s popular pastel hues. During Sunday brunches on the patios at beachside eateries, palm fronds and other tropical plants swayed gently in the cool breezes. The slightly salty ocean air, coupled with an ever-present laid-back vibe, always made meals seem somehow chic and exotic.
A recent dinner on the patio at the SoCal-inspired Suburban Yacht Club (SYC), which opened in September at The Boardwalk at Granite Park in Plano, successfully transported me back to those sun-soaked days – and what a fantastic trip it was.
On a warm, early fall weeknight, a friend and I approached the host stand and were led to an orange-topped table flanked on one side by a set of chairs with woven-rope seats, and cushioned bench seating backed by a foliage-filled planter on the other. (It may also have been fun to sit at one of the long picnic tables situated beneath a pair of oversized outdoor umbrellas).
Our server, Alex, arrived and poured A Toast to the Coast, a complimentary sampling of hibiscus-infused agua fresca, into short glasses. We sipped the slightly sweet, bright pink water while perusing the beverage menu, glancing up occasionally to observe what our fellow patio diners – also seated beneath large hanging television screens showing scenes of white sand beaches and aquamarine seas on an endless loop – were enjoying.
SYC’s signature cocktails are pure fun. The Basic Beach, featuring watermelon and basil-infused vodka, is served in a small, inflatable, pink-flamingo pool floatie. The table next to us ordered a 20-ounce Scorpion Bowl (poured for two people) called Weekend At Bernie’s. It’s made with tequila, orange liqueur, orgeat syrup, bitters, passion fruit and pineapple. This attention getter arrives in a pelican-shaped container (oversized beak and all) and spewing flames courtesy of a small sparkler. Good luck finding a standard swizzle stick here, folks.
Taking advantage of the happy hour specials, I ordered an on-the-rocks House Margarita, which packed a puckery lemon-lime punch, and the Flamin’ Hot Elote as an appetizer. My friend opted for the SoCal Ceviche.
The elote (Mexican street corn), also found on SYC’s “Drinking Snacks” menu, arrives in a cup filled with kernels swimming in a zesty sauce that are to be scooped up with crunchy tortilla chips and duros (wagon wheel-shaped, fried wheat crisps). Sprinkled liberally with crumbled queso fresco and neon red Cheetos dust, the first few bites hit the back of my throat in a delightfully spicy burst. Meanwhile, the substantial serving of ceviche, which also stars on the “Light Fare” menu, was tasty and oh-so refreshing with its chunks of citrus-cured seafood, avocado and mango.
Before ordering our entrees, I peered into the dining room, which successfully retains a sense of al fresco dining courtesy of floor-to-ceiling glass walls. Its ample booths are
separated by rounded-edge dividers boasting ‘70s chic-style rattan, making them feel more private. Verdant green potted plants are tucked into corners while others drape down from high shelves above. Marbled globe pendant lights softly illuminate the curved bar that is as inviting a spot as any you’d find at a luxury beach resort.
I queried Alex about which of the protein bowls on SYC’s menu she preferred. Her pick was the Baja Protein Bowl, featuring a bed of rice topped by black beans, pepitas (pumpkin seeds), chopped cucumbers, avocado, corn, diced tomatoes, red onion and pineapple and a drizzle of salsa verde. A selection from the “Streetside Protein” menu – pork carnitas, short ribs, shrimp and fresh fish, among others – can be added to the bowl. I went with the Baja Barbecue Chicken. It made for a filling meal.
In the mood for seafood, my friend ordered the Grilled Fresh Catch Sandwich, which happened to be swordfish that evening. The substantial filet was super fresh and perfectly grilled, providing a pleasantly crunchy char. Featuring a garlicky “chef’s sauce,” it is served on a pillowy toasted Kaiser bun with lettuce, tomato and pickles on the side, as well as a mound of crispy French fries and a scoop of tart, crunchy purple summer slaw that tasted as close to homemade as it gets.
Service throughout the meal was prompt and exceptionally friendly. Alex took time to answer all of our questions about the restaurant and the menu. She stopped by to ask whether we were enjoying our meal, and other staffers did a fine job of delivering and clearing our plates.
As the sun set and the temperature remained pleasant, SYC’s patio – by this time mostly filled with diners ranging from date-nighters to families with young children – felt all the more relaxing, so we decided to extend our visit a bit and splurge on dessert. The Pineapple Upside-Down Cake sounded just right.
Don’t be misled: This ain’t the classic cake your mama used to make – and that is a very good thing. Almost as large as the plate upon which it is served, the rich, buttery yellow cake is covered with a super-sweet, caramelly sauce coating chunks (no old-school canned rings in this version) of pineapple. It is accented with red amarena cherries and ropes of fluffy, piped whipped cream that also boasts a buttery note. Simply put, this cake is delectable.
It has been a long time (too long, in fact) since I’ve enjoyed a meal at a table overlooking the glimmering Pacific Ocean. Nearly 1,500 miles separate The Boardwalk at Granite Park in Plano from the Paradise Cove Beach pier in Malibu. However, Suburban Yacht Club’s interesting, flavorful food and drinks, inspired décor and spot-on service certainly made this California girl – at least for a little while – feel like she was a whole lot closer to home.
Frisco STYLE Magazine dining reviews are not scheduled with or paid for by the featured restaurant. All reviews are completed for the purpose of helping readers learn about and enjoy local dining options. Is there an area restaurant that you’d like us to review? Email us at [email protected].
Lisa Ferguson is managing editor of Frisco STYLE.