Dining at Mullins Bar and Grill was not what I expected. Well, ambiance-wise, maybe it was. Affiliated with the Half Moon Bay Golf Links and a short “drive” (or a very long putt) from the Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay, Mullins definitely has the vibe and decor of an upscale sports bar, complete with big TVs and boisterous post-round golfers. The noise almost borders on too loud for conversation, but that could easily have been our timing during Happy Hour and the table we picked right next to a group of eight happy drinkers.
No problem. We were all game for that. But while we waited to order, the setting sun cast a warm glow over the room and the mood shifted a bit, setting the stage for an experience beyond the typical bar scene. And the food surpassed typical bar fare. Every dish we ordered was fresh, scrumptious and memorable. And the menu included several inspired options, along with the usual burgers and fries.
My cohort and I started by splitting the beet and burrata cheese salad. I have to admit, I’m a salad snob. I usually find my homemade concoctions to be yummier and more interesting than almost anything I can get in a restaurant. But not this time. With its tangy dressing, perfectly cooked beets, sweet oranges, crisp arugula and creamy burrata, I savored every morsel and was sorry that we’d shared. I could have scarfed a full order and more.
Our companion praised his fish and chips as delicate, fresh, flavorful and perfectly fried. And my co-reviewer finished every bite of her roasted half chicken, which was Old Bay-rubbed and buttermilk-brined with a roasted garlic, sun-dried tomato pesto and chef ’s mix herbs, sauté of sweet white corn and purple potatoes.
I can’t rave enough about my dish, the pan-seared local halibut with a creative mix of Grana Padano butter, fava beans and English peas, baby arugula and a mint pesto sauce. (I’m salivating as I write.) I love when I order something in a restaurant that I’m not capable of duplicating at home. It makes eating out much more fun!
But the piece de résistance of the evening was something none of us ordered. Wednesday is Pasta Night at Mullins. Walk in the door and you’ll smell the aroma of roasted garlic and see the chef making fresh pasta dishes to order, with a variety of toppings including fresh shrimp, sausage, seasonal vegetables, garlic, cheese, tomatoes and more. I ran into a couple of friends who come often after golf. They gave it high ratings as a wonderful meal and a great bargain — salad and pasta for $17.99. It’s a pretty amazing deal so close to the Ritz!
The caramel crunch cake we shared for dessert was decadent and delicious, but a bit too dense for my taste. I’ll try another one next time.
And there will be a next time — soon. Maybe to try their breakfast, lunch, Taco Tuesday, Happy Hour or a repeat of the same salad and fish. Mullins is definitely going to become one of my local favorites. I might even take up golf.
Review restaurant articles are done by two local residents who enjoy sampling Coastside restaurants. They choose to remain anonymous so that they get the same treatment as you would get in these places. Use their insights to help guide you, but by all means check out these eateries yourself.