Best of 2003: Best "Signature" Lobster Bisque

Marine Room
2000 Spindrift Road, La Jolla

Chef Bernard Guillas's bisque proves to be a signature indeed, a unique version of the omnipresent soup. Exciting and unexpectedly complex, it starts with a good, intense lobster stock, lightly smoothed with cream and garnished by enoki mushroom shreds afloat in the liquid. At the last minute, Guillas tarts it up just a little with a touch of yuzu juice (from a Japanese citrus fruit similar to grapefruit) -- and instead of the customary cognac or sherry, he finishes it off with a surprise flash of fruitiness from a dash of peach schnapps. This masterpiece-in-a-bowl is rich, but not too excessive; it's fruity, but not sweet -- and alongside, you get a crunchy, twisted cracker rich with pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds).

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