The Insiders' Guide to the Monterey Peninsula says this about Fresh Cream: "Since its opening in 1978, Fresh Cream continues to be recognized as one of the Top 100 restaurants in the nation. The stylish interior, dazzling Bay view, and impeccable epicurean reputation make this a distinctive favorite."
Our corner table gave us floor-to-ceiling windows to the bay and views all the way to Santa Cruz. The food was exceptional. Five-mushroom soup topped with an intricate lattice of creme fraiche and aged balsamic...mushroom velvet. Heirloom tomato caprese...classic. Lobster ravioli...perfect pasta stuffed with lobster mousse in lobster butter with caviar. Rack of lamb with fingerling potatoes. Grilled filet mignon with truffle madeira sauce. A local pinot. Grand Marnier souffle with hot rum sauce. All served perfectly by the lovely Emily, who acted as though we had all the time in the world even though most other patrons had left or were leaving when we arrived for our 8:00 reservation. This is an early-bird town.
The guide book gives Fresh Cream four dollar signs but the bill was less than we expected...and probably a good deal less than we would have paid at La Belle Vie. If you go, get good directions and avoid driving back and forth on Pacific and getting sucked into the Lighthouse Ave. tunnel.
Back at our hotel, we went to the bar for a nightcap. A jazz trio was playing. The bar, so dead for the previous three nights that they closed early, was full. Gerald Wilson was seated at the table in front of us.