Located on 498 Broadway, in fun North Beach, Horizon Restaurant & Lounge is an upscale, ultra modern dining space ideally suited for the fast-paced neighborhood it’s in. Surrounded by several night clubs, adult entertainment venues, and a few late-night pizza joints, Horizon stands out from its neighbors with its external décor. The restaurant’s façade is so upscale and simple looking it almost seems out of place on the street, but this works to its advantage; it draws much deserved attention because of it.
Their dining space is mostly colored in shades of black, with silver accents and orange and blue lighting that adds a sense of seductiveness to the atmosphere. As you are being seated, you will quickly notice that the bar demands attention in the midst of the bustling dining area. It tastefully stands out with mild white lighting, and creates an effective yet elegant centerpiece for the space.
As I said before, the décor of Horizon feels ultra modern, like Google’s homepage. There’s nothing hanging from the ceiling. There aren’t tons of plants everywhere that get in diners’ way. There is only simple décor that seems to put all the focus on exactly what it is you’re there for: the food, the drinks, and the people. The restaurant sets the scene in sophisticated fashion, and leaves everything else up to the guest.
When it comes to the food, Executive Chef Christopher Lee does an excellent job of creating a menu of California cuisine that is short and sweet. With only seven appetizers and nine entrees on the menu, the whole selection process is quite easy. Despite the short menu, his selection of dishes is still quite broad and encompasses items like Wild Mushroom Risotto, Kobe Beef Burgers, and Duck Leg Confit Salad.
To start, we ordered the Pear, Pomegranate and Prosciutto Salad and the Crab Cakes. Covered with lively and rich colors, the Pear, Pomegranate and Prosciutto Salad was very light on the palate and the texture was crisp and fruity. In Addition to the ingredients mentioned in the dish’s title, blood oranges, pears, and grapes added a pleasant tartness and freshness to the mix. The prosciutto had a light saltiness and just the right amount of oil. To top it all off, a creamy blood orange vinaigrette offered a richness that pulled everything together.
As for the crab cakes, the plating alone was enough to catch my attention. The dish featured the golden brown cakes on top of spring mix greens and cherry tomatoes, with a drizzling of Caesar-like dressing. Once again, there were fabulous colors and the taste was just as enjoyable. The crab cakes had a dense crunch that accented the lighter elements of the dish. They were substantial in texture, and allowed the amazing crab flavor to waft out from the inside on every bite.
For our main entrees, we order the Wild Thing (a Colorado lamb burger) and the Baby Back Ribs. There are plenty of reasons to visit Horizon Restaurant, but the Wild Thing alone is reason enough to warrant a return trip. The menu described the dish as a “Colorado Lamb Burger with Bleu Cheese and Oyster Mushrooms on a Brioche Bun accompanied by Parmesan Truffled Cheese Skinny Fries.” All together, it was so much more than that. The bun added sweetness and a nice soft texture. The onions contributed a sweet crunch. Finally, the juiciness and smokiness of the meat, positioned beside the light saltiness and pungently delicious aroma of the bleu cheese, was irresistible. The Wild Thing was just big enough to look imposing; however, once I went in for the attack, it folded nicely in delicious submission. The Parmesan Truffled Cheese Skinny Fries were great as well. The subtle aroma of truffles created a really complex flavor when paired with Parmesan and a hint of garlic. On top of that, these fries were light, crispy, and combined deliciously with the burger. There was an amazing house-made ketchup on the side too.
The first thing I noticed about the Baby Back Ribs was that I did not need a knife to eat them. The meat was so tender that the only utensils I really needed were a fork and my mouth. I took the former to slide off a piece, and then used the latter to enjoy it. It was that simple. Moreover, coating the ribs with a rich brown color was a tangy Asian-influenced barbeque sauce that excited the taste buds and added just enough flavor without distracting from the meaty satisfaction that comes from well cooked ribs. To complement the ribs, the dish came with sweet potato fries and coleslaw. The sweet potato fries had a rich orange color that excited my eyes, and they tasted delicious as well. After experiencing the first crunch of the coleslaw, I appreciated the amount of carrots in the mix.
After all that, of course we had to try one of Horizon’s desserts and decided on the Triple Chocolate Mousse. Once the mousse arrived, I noticed the simple sophistication of its plating. It was served on a simply shaped white dish that was just the right size for the serving portion. On one side of the plate was the tri-colored chocolate mousse, with eye-catching dark chocolate sauce painted over the other. It looked simply superb. Their choice of plating once again kept my focus on the beautiful task at hand: eating. All of the plates were presented in this exquisite fashion, but the artfulness stood out the most when I saw this dessert.
Needless to say, I could not wait to get a taste. It had great of flavors and a light, airy, melt-in-your-mouth texture. Each layer had a different density and was as much a delight to the fork and mouth as it was to the eyes. To throw it over the top just like most great desserts do, combining the dark chocolate sauce with the mousse coated my mouth with the kind of love only chocolate can bring. This is the kind of dessert that will bring anyone to his or her knees. And just to make sure the plate was balanced, they added a crispy white and dark chocolate chip on top for an unobtrusive textural complement.
I have to believe it is difficult to pull off Horizon’s theme of unobtrusiveness. If you’re going to keep peoples’ focus on one thing, that one thing has to be very special. And the food at Horizon does not fall short. Executive Chef Christopher Lee’s menu of fresh California cuisine is irresistible; and for that reason and many others, an evening at Horizon will surely be a great time with minimal distractions.