Best Thing I Ate This Week: Salade Nicoise

A lot has changed at the St. Regis Monarch Beach lately.

For starters, it’s now just the Monarch Beach Resort, with a brand new, very beachy look throughout. The restaurant formerly known as Motif is now called Aveo, and that’s where I recently enjoyed one of the finest Nicoise salads I can recall.

Nicoise salads thrive on simplicity and purity. Fresh green beans, lightly steamed. Tender potatoes – in this case, a mix of tiny white peewees and beautiful little purple ones. Tomatoes and olives of various shades. A few small leaves of lettuce.

One of those trendy soft-boiled eggs but with a twist – it’s been dipped in panko breadcrumbs and deep-fried. Plus, the requisite tuna, which is absolutely beautiful, seared ever-so-lightly to seal its crust with a thin layer of herbs and spice.

The dressing is a white balsamic vinaigrette, applied so sparingly that you could actually eat this salad with your fingers if you wanted to, which I found myself doing before I realized what was happening, sitting next to the window on a languid, sunny afternoon.

Aveo Table + Bar
Where: 1 Monarch Beach Resort, Dana Point
When: Served Mondays-Saturdays at lunch. It’s slightly different for Sunday brunch.
Cost: $23
Phone: 949-234-3915

This article originally appeared in the Orange County Register. To view more of my work for the Register, check out the archives. For more dining and travel inspiration, I invite you to follow me and join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

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