The Newest Dana Point Restaurant, RAYA, Makes Its Oceanfront Debut At The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel

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Experience Laguna dining at its finest, in the form of Pan-Latin Coastal Cuisine by acclaimed Chef Richard Sandovol

I am always exploring the potential of Latin cuisine by preparing regional recipes with unexpected ingredients and inventive techniques from around the globe. My style is inspired by the vibrant ethnic communities across Latin America, where home cooks have created new culinary traditions by blending the cuisines of their native and adopted lands

RAYA, a restaurant concept by acclaimed Chef Richard Sandoval, opened at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel on Monday, May 24, 2010 with Chef de Cuisine Greg Howe at the helm. The Dana Point restaurant showcases Pan-Latin Coastal Cuisine prepared with sustainable seafood, local produce and Chef Richard Sandoval's signature Latin flavors.

The Menu
The Laguna dining concept is to showcase a menu made exclusively with fresh, local produce and sustainable seafood. Coconut Shrimp Ceviche and Hamachi Tiradito are amongst the signature appetizers. Latin-inspired entrees include Chile Ancho-Pistachio Crusted Tuna, Chipotle-Miso Glazed Black Cod and Achiote Barbecued Salmon. Dulche de Leche Pudding, Lemongrass Panna Cotta the Mexican Chocolate Tarte are just a few of the choices for dessert.

The Ambiance
From the moment guests enter the Dana Point restaurant, they are drawn to the restaurant's ocean front location and stunning Pacific Ocean views. RAYA's design brings the mixed use of hardwood flooring on the upper level and patterned carpet on the lower level that is reminiscent of reflections on water. The rich color palette of amethyst, platinum and celadon provides a unique character within the restaurant, while other luxurious materials including leather and velvet provide a tactile quality and create distinction for the dining space. A dramatic kelp forest sculpture, created by artist Brad Oldham highlights the ocean views.

About Richard Sandoval
"I am always exploring the potential of Latin cuisine by preparing regional recipes with unexpected ingredients and inventive techniques from around the globe. My style is inspired by the vibrant ethnic communities across Latin America, where home cooks have created new culinary traditions by blending the cuisines of their native and adopted lands," says Chef Sandoval.

Chef Sandoval's accolades include Mexico's Toque d'Oro (Chef of the Year) and Bon Appétit Magazine's 2006 Restaurateur of the Year, amongst others. As founder and CEO of Richard Sandoval Restaurants, Chef Sandoval maintains the stellar reputation of his restaurants while identifying opportunities to bring Latin American flavors to larger and increasingly diverse audiences. His restaurants include Maya in NY and Dubai; Tamayo in Denver; Pampano in NY, Mexico City and Qatar; Zengo in New York, Denver and Washington, DC; Isla in Las Vegas; La Sandia in Virginia and two locations in Denver; TNT in Las Vegas; Ketsi at the Four Seasons in Punta Mita; La Hacienda at the Fairmont in Scottsdale; and Masa 14 in Washington, DC.

About Greg Howe
Chef de Cuisine Greg Howe has spent more than 15 years in various kitchens across the country honing his culinary skills. His greatest passion is for colorful, fresh and organic products that he can masterfully turn into delicious culinary creations for his guests. Throughout his career, Chef Howe has worked with culinary icons David Bouley and Charlie Trotter. Other notable experiences include working with Jimmy Schmidt at the Rattlesnake Grill in Detroit and Denver and his stint as the Chef de Cuisine at four-star restaurant, Pinon Grill in Scottsdale, Arizona. His training background features French and Japanese influences, as well as the cuisine of South Florida. Chef Howe served as Executive Sous Chef at Vernona Restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota before joining Raya at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel.

When asked what he loves most about his job, Chef Howe is quick to respond that he's constantly inspired by the variety and quality of the local produce and seafood found in Southern California and Laguna dining. This passion and enthusiasm shows through on the beautiful, colorful plates he creates.

About Richard Sandoval Restaurants
Richard Sandoval Restaurants is a leading international restaurant group with outlets across the United States, Mexico and the Middle East. Owned by legendary Chef Richard Sandoval, the group includes Maya in New York City and Dubai; Pampano in New York City, Mexico City and Qatar; Zengo in New York, Washington DC and Denver; Tamayo in Denver; La Sandia in Washington DC metro area and two locations in Denver; Masa 14 in Washington DC and Isla at Treasure Island in Las Vegas. In addition, Chef Sandoval has developed custom menus for TNT at the Luxor in Las Vegas, Ketsi at the Four Seasons in Punta Mita, La Hacienda at the Fairmont in Scottsdale and Raya at the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel. For more information visit http://www.richardsandoval.com .

About The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel
Consistently ranked among the best resorts in the world, The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel is located halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego and sits on a 150-foot bluff with panoramic white-water views of the Pacific Ocean and two-miles of sandy beach. For more information or reservations call 800-241-3333, the hotel directly at 949-240-2000, a travel professional or visit The Ritz-Carlton Web site at http://www.ritzcarlton.com .

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