Sandy Point Beach House restaurant in West Olive has been defined as the “gem of the lakeshore.” This fine but casual dining experience is crafted to offer a fresh take on classic seafood and prime cuts that will take your tastebuds to new horizons. But who is the chef behind this beach house dining experience? Executive Chef, Sergio Garcia, has been the culinary leader of Sandy Point Beach House for over six years.
How did you become so passionate about cooking?
To be honest, I think it was instilled in me from a young age. Food was always such a big part of the Hispanic culture in our household. Growing up, especially with being a first-generation American, there was always such a wide variety of food on the dinner table. Every day, looking back, I truly appreciate my parents for making me finish my plate. My dad taught me how to clean and carve each kind of meat and my mom showed me how to make preserves, pies, and cakes from the fruits of my uncle’s farm. Now that I’ve just turned 30, I’m constantly finding new influences for my dishes – from social media to hanging out with friends and family.
Walk us through how you give customers a beach house experience with your food.
We want to bring the high-end dining experience you would find in any major city while having that laid-back beach house atmosphere. I mean, who doesn’t want to enjoy a delicious dry-aged prime steak or some of the freshest seafood in your flip-flops? Our location in West Olive is a big part of the experience. It’s in that sweet spot of people going to the beach, visiting a summer cottage, or getting back from a day of boating – I like to match my food with this fun, summer vibe. I do a lot of plays on the classic lakeshore dishes that I’ve seen over the years, experimenting with different seasonal combinations of flavors, colors, and textures that come alive on the plate and really embody the beach house atmosphere we’re going for.
Tell us about your favorite starter, entree, and dessert off the newest menu.
The Tuna Nachos are, by far, my favorite starter on the menu. A lot of sourcing goes into it, from flying in grade-A tuna from Fortune Fish to searching through the local oriental store for a handful of fresh ingredients for the dish. But when the dish comes together, the flavors combine so well, it’s worth all the logistics.
Our Cornflake-crusted Whitefish is one of the best dishes on the menu. What’s more Michigan than Whitefish? It’s a local favorite and I thought I’d amp up that factor by adding a cornflake crust and throwing in some exotic, purple potatoes, sweet corn, and some beautifully rendered pancetta. I finish the dish with guajillo pepper and lime crema – an homage to childhood flavors I hold dearly.
The Chocolate Torte has always been a favorite dessert of mine, with my mom making it for a restaurant in my youth. As soon as I could run my own kitchen, I wanted to make a chocolate torte with the sole intent of making it even better than my own mother’s recipe. I started by switching from dull, generic chocolate to Valrhona Chocolate from one of the finest French chocolatiers in the market today. That alone elevated the entire dessert to a new level. Baking it was trial and error until one time, it came out perfect, and we’ve been making it the same ever since.
What’s next for SPBH?
We are always looking to bring the best-of-the-best into West Olive. We want to surprise our customers with an ocean of fresh flavors all year round. As we head into fall and winter, my team and I will be curating delicious dishes to pair with our signature wines and extensive whiskey/bourbon selection.
Chef Sergio Garcia is continually looking for new ways to bring fresh flavors and creative combinations to the SPBH experience. If you’re looking for somewhere to kick back, relax, and taste amazing seafood and the best prime cuts – Sandy Point Beach House is the place to be.