Hotel California checks in with beach-themed menu at Boca Park

Get ready to be transported out of Las Vegas and down to Baja California, without stepping outside of the Summerlin area.

The entry to Hotel California Restaurant and Cantina at Boca Park, 1050 S. Rampart Blvd., features a beachy walk-up ramp lined with water features and greenery. Instead of the usual stucco-dominant outdoor dining spot, the ramp opens to a lush, mist-filled patio dining area.

“It’s like a swim-up bar without the water,” said owner and chef Jimmy Maddin.

The inside further resembles a casual beach resort spot, leaning toward earthy colors. Mottled golden walls are matched with solid color panels, and twisted wood accents top the pony wall between the kitchen and the dining room. The twisted wood feature is carried over throughout and adds to the laid-back atmosphere.

One wall is covered with paint-flecked oil barrel lids that carry logos from pre-merger days —- Amaco, Esso, Gulf Oil, Pennex.

Hotel California has two bar areas, one with a water feature above it and the other with a half circle to set it apart. That bar includes dual TV screens for sports lovers and features a line of 17 signature Mezcal liquors.

A library ladder gives access to the two-story wine cooler. A “man cave” cigar lounge is in a separate room.

The 8,818-square-foot space accommodates 268 people seated and 600 cocktail-style.

Laura Rehberger ate there and said she wouldn’t hesitate going again. In fact, she was planning to introduce friends to it. She called it a fun place with great decor.

“You walk in and feel like you’re some place else, Southern California, Malibu, the beach somewhere,” she said.

The menu is changing as the eatery gets settled — it opened the first week of May — but expect lots of fish dishes, including scallops, shrimp, mussels, squid and calamari. Sure to stay on the menu is grilled octopus, a recipe from Maddin’s grandmother and near and dear to his heart.

“It’s the first dish I ever learned to make,” he said. “Five ingredients, that’s all she used.”

He and executive chef Martin San Roman, who called it a “fresh approach to food,” turn up the heat in the kitchen with dinner dishes such as Milanesa c alamari, a lightly breaded calamari steak ; pollo al mole Rosarito Beach, a grilled chicken breast marinated in achiote ; and arrachera marinada, a marinated beef steak.

Lime squeezers are at each table, and guests will receive fresh limes when they’re seated.

Lunch brings lighter food, including pizza with that Baja touch. Jimmy’s favorite has refried beans, carne asada, carne pastor with Chihuahua cheese and jalapenos. The Rosarita type has a garlic cream sauce, spinach, crab meat, mesquite bacon and wild mushrooms topped with mozzarella.

No Baja lunch menu is complete without tacos. The tacos al pastor is marinated pork with pineapple, the vegetarian ones use seasonal vegetables, and the tacos de carne asada use meat marinated in beer.

“For families with children, we created a special kid’s menu with healthy options,” Maddin said. “While parents look over the menu, we bring out fresh fruit for the kids. We offer great food at a great price point. The outdoor patio will serve Baja-style small plates under eight bucks. We wanted to create an environment that the whole family could enjoy without breaking the bank.”

Children’s menu highlights include Baja Taco Doggie (two corn tortilla tacos, a beef hot dog and diced tomatoes served with soup or rice), ham and cheese quesadillas, chicken tacos and macaroni and cheese omelette with fresh fruit and vegetables.

A portion of the children’s menu benefits Create A Change Now, a non profit group the Maddins founded to fight childhood obesity.

Hotel California Restaurant & Cantina is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily . For more information, call 463-5200 or visit hotelcaliforniarestaurant.com.

Contact Summerlin and Summerlin South View reporter Jan Hogan at jhogan@viewnews.com or 387-2949.

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