top of page

Wait, there's epic fine dining in Oceanside, California?!

Updated: May 6, 2023

Matsu is San Diego's hottest new restaurant in North County. The concept comes from Chef William Eick, who does a 10-course modern Japanese style tasting menu that I found to be absolutely superb.

This is fine dining, without the stuffiness. The service was impeccable: they synchronistically set the plate down in front of you and tell you the name of each dish and then let you taste. But you aren't entirely sure what everything is (This is my favorite way to eat! A true food adventure!). At the end of the course, the wait staff would come around and talk about the dish in more detail, if you liked, and you come to realize how amazing it is that this Chef focuses on 2-3 ingredients per dish and really utilizes them in completely different ways to make something that is surprising, varied in texture and is perhaps something you've never eaten or experienced before.

For instance, this dish pictured below, which on the menu was listed as:

Cabbage | Cabbage Dashi | Caviar

Technically, accurate. But how I would describe it was like this stewed down savory and slightly sweet cabbage (although when eating it, I didn't realize that the stewed filling was cabbage), wrapped in piece of charred cabbage, and then placed in bowl surrounded by cabbage dashi, with a side of caviar. This was delicious and hearty and not what you would ever have thought of when you think of the traditional cabbage flavors.

This next course was a delicious piece of shrimp (ebi) topped with tenkasu flakes, placed in a tentsuyu broth that you wanted to slurp with a straw, and just a hint of dynamite sauce for a little creamy-richness. So light and good, we could have easily eaten like 5 more of these.

While we were on the fish portion of the meal, we also got served a piece of Black Cod that literally melted in your mouth, it was so delicate, served with pan-fried pieces of curry imo mochi that were absolute perfection -- a soft chewiness to compliment the lightness of the fish, all surrounded by Matsuyaki sauce that was so rich and just slightly tart and savory. My kiddo literally picked up the bowl and drank the liquid straight from it. Which in a fine dining terms is typically a no-no, but again, this place wasn't fussy and that liquid was too good to keep-up our table etiquette.

The richer, meatier, more substantial dishes came next and included a piece of pork jowl with rose hips and a decadent pork fat caramel. I don't even know how one makes a pork fat caramel, but it should be the caramel on all things moving forward.

And last, came a piece of Kohi duck with steamed and grilled carrots, sitting on top of a carrot dashi and a bit of fresh wasabi. Again, this was another example of the Chef taking one ingredients and presenting it in a few different ways, and it perfectly balanced the duck breast to make an incredible dish.

Final courses were desserts, which, if you know me, is my favorite part of the meal. And this was definitely one of my favorite dishes served at Matsu. This was the most unique dessert I've had in recent years: a little mochi waffle, which was firm and soft at the same time, with a great chewy texture sitting on a pool of kokuto syrup and matcha powder. And then, the whole thing was topped with a pine needle sorbet. That's what I said, PINE! And it tasted like that. It wasn't too sweet, yet super refreshing and clean on your palate. It was the best sorbet I've had in a long, long while. Who knew?!

For a meal that will easily impress, this is a good option. We don't do fine dining often, especially in North County San Diego, but if you have the opportunity to explore Matsu, I would highly recommend it. Every dish was beautifully plated, the service was phenomenal and every bite, sauce and morsel was utterly delicious.

Contact info:

626 S Tremont St, Oceanside, CA 92054


bottom of page