Sure, your restaurant promises fresh local produce, but does the chef really know where it comes from? At mar’sel, the fine dining restaurant at Terranea, the answer is yes – it comes from right outside the door.
Mar’sel has collaborated in a unique partnership with Home Grown Edible Landscapes, a sustainable garden and landscaping company run by local master gardener Geri Miller. Working closely with Miller on seasonal gardening, mar’sel Chef Michael Fiorelli is able to take the freshest herbs and greens of the season and bring them just ten steps into the kitchen before they arrive on your plate.
Recently we had the opportunity to attend an on-site gardening class and luncheon at mar’sel – learning about the art of growing edibles at home, and then tasting some of Chef Fiorelli’s freshest creations.
Miller’s central philosophy is keeping gardens natural, sustainable, and local; and Fiorelli is completely on board with that mantra. “I source based on relationships rather than organics,” said Fiorelli. “An organic peach that came from Peru in February – that doesn’t really make sense.”
After participating in the seasonal spring planting (vegetables, herbs, and flowers) out front, our group reconvened on the oceanfront patio to savor a colorful salad of little gem lettuce, watermelon radish, ruby grapefruit, California olive oil, and sea salt. Next we enjoyed a stack of fresh-pressed panini with Italian meats, aged provolone, and pickled vegetables.
“Did you bake the bread yourself?” one guest called out to Fiorelli. “Of course – always!” he answered, and then deadpanned, “Wait – you can buy bread?”
Following lunch we took a tour of the kitchen and watched the staff prep for a busy Saturday night ahead. Fiorelli noted that the restaurant’s name – mar, Spanish for sea; and sel, French for salt – turns out to be a perfect fit for the restaurant’s setting and dining aesthetic.
Of course it’s a given that the panoramic ocean view at mar’sel is a major draw, but watching the moon rise over the ocean is an especially spectacular sight. Don’t miss mar’sel’s special moon-themed menu, offered once a month on the night of a full moon. The restaurant keeps its own full moon calendar here.
mar’sel, 100 Terranea Way, Rancho Palos Verdes. Open 5:30 to 10:00 PM, Wednesday through Sunday. Reservations: 310-265-2836