THE MORE THE MERRIER
Aveo, Monarch Beach Resort, 1 Monarch Beach Resort N, Dana Point, CA 92629
t is an appropriate choice of sobriquet for the Monarch Beach Resort’s premier dining concept to be named after a feeling of extreme happiness. But “Aveo” as a word means more than joy, or elation, the etymology of the word also refers to desire, indeed, even hunger. Such a clever choice of appellation presents a sophisticated irony, for there is very little chance of leaving hungry after a visit to Aveo’s truly spectacular brunch experience. A principal piece of advice? Bring your companions, because a feast of this magnitude is best enjoyed with others!
It is immediately clear that Executive Chef Collin Thornton is interested in only one thing: making Aveo the superlative brunch choice for the discriminating epicurean. Immediately upon entering the expansive space, you are greeted by bright and smiling faces from proud hosts who very obviously take a great deal of pride in being a part of something so extraordinary. The warmth of the staff are consistently top-of-class and reflect enthusiasm and genuine care for the quality of experience enjoyed by each guest.
Seeking to impress at once, a veritable tower of gourmet pastries, tarts, macaroons and pot de crèmes reminds you to save room for desert! Two stately chocolate fountains stand prominently among a host of fresh fruits and treats to create your own chocolate covered indulgences. Classic breakfast selections, including Eggs Benedict, and an outstanding Red Bliss Potato & Chorizo Hash adorn a King’s table across from the bar. The bar is transformed into a breakfast bakery and features the free-flowing Miraval Juice & Smoothie bar where fresh-pressed juices nourish the body in between trips to the custom Bloody Mary Bar and can be used ad infinitum in The Mimosa Package (an absolute must have!).
Stationed before the breathtaking scenery provided by one of California’s most exclusive coastal resorts were three friendly chefs each ready to help you create your own custom pancakes, Belgian waffles and cooked-to-perfection omelets. As Chef Thornton proudly declared, “The custom pancake bar is one of my favorite stations, especially now that the weather is warmer. The berries have become so sweet!” And sweet they were, bringing freshness and life to our plates.
Seated upon the gorgeously appointed terrace with the cool breeze and soft spring sunshine, we bathed in the true opulence of the moment, reveling in the attention to every little detail. Soon, our curiosity persisted, and lead us to the phenomenal Carvery, and Little Italy station at the periphery of the terrace. The Carvery featured the freshest and most tender prime rib sliced to order and served with traditional accouterments like zesty horseradish and savory red wine jus. Not to be outdone, the enormous salt-crusted Red Snapper was an impressive sight to behold and was brilliantly paired with a semi-sweet roasted red pepper and paprika chutney. For those with a penchant for old-world cured meats, a giant prosciutto di parma sat upon a hand-crank slicer ready to serve up the crudo at your desired thickness! The Carvery was truly over the top!
As if all of that were not enough, skilled chefs stood at eager attention to create custom risotto, ravioli and fettuccine featuring made-from-scratch sauces. The Sushi Bar and Seafood bars both impressed with only the highest grade sashimi and raw oysters (yes, served at the properly chilled temperature that gave even the most discriminating connoisseur a satisfying sense of confidence when enjoying them), and the nearby charcuterie and fromagerie featured flavors of smooth, savory and powerful varieties.
In all, the entire offering can hardly be truly enjoyed by a single person, no matter the prodigiousness of one’s appetite. Chef Thornton wanted this brunch to be special not simply because of its magnitude or luxuriance, but because of the culinary adventure one may share with their loved ones in a place that is as close to paradise as Orange County can offer.
Brunch at AVEO Table + Bar is offered every Sunday from 11:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. and is priced at $78 per guest, $39 for children ages 5-12, and free for children under 5. AVEO Table + Bar is located at One Monarch Beach Drive, Dana Point, Calif. For more information, visit www.monarchbeachresort.com or Facebook.com/MonarchBeachResort. Follow @MonarchBResort on Twitter and Instagram.