After an extensive renovation, Castaway has reopened with an updated sense of style and menu. Those fantastic, expansive views remain the biggest draw, but the new Castaway works hard to draw diners and bar-goers.
Long maligned for their dated menu and lack of service in years past, the new Castaway aims much higher and does well.
The new menu is not huge, but offers a good selection of appetizers, sides and entrées. We’ve really enjoyed the King Salmon with black rice and Chinese broccoli in a ginger-miso emulsion, the heirloom tomato salad, the ceviche and Dungenness crab cake.
Each meal starts out with a complimentary board of warm sun-dried tomato bread and basil pesto butter. It’s delicious and different.
In the steak department, Castaway offers quite a selection of cuts. We found both the filet of Cape Grim Beef and the American Waygu hanger steak tasty and well-prepared. The sides of mashed potato and broccolini are solid.
While I’m not over the moon about their mushroom pappardelle pasta – it seemed a bit bland and heavy, others in our group enjoyed it.
The big hit for me was the whole roasted Branzino fish. Presented on a wooden plank with roasted tomatoes, the fish is actually filleted and cooked and then reassembled, and the interior stuffed with pomme fourchette (mashed potatoes.) Although the fish was a bit overdone, it was still delicious. The tomatoes and pomme fourchette were excellent complements.
We also really enjoyed the cocktails we’ve tried, in particular the Wilson! and The Huntington. Castaway also has a strong wine list and selection of beer.
We’ve been to Castaway a few times. The first time, the service and food were impeccable.
The next time was unfortunately chaotic, as the hosts dithered about whether to seat us, as requested on the patio, which had many open tables, or to put us inside. After much insistence on my part, and nearly 30 minutes after our arrival and reservation, we were seated on the patio.
I’m not sure why there was a problem with the patio. There were three 8-seat tables open, and several 4-tops, and we had a party of 6. In fact, those other two 8-seat table remained open, one the entire two hours we were there, and another was seated an hour after we were.
Although we were brought water once seated, it then took over 30 minutes for our drinks to arrive, after a roaming host inquired if things were okay. Our waiter ignored us during that time. Luckily, I guess, it took about 45 minutes from placing our dinner order for it to be served, so the food didn’t arrive until after our first round of drinks did.
Once settled on the patio, we enjoyed our meal and the view quite a lot.
I’m going to give Castaway the benefit of the doubt… they are trying to do better and the confusion during our second visit there seems to be part of working out the kinks. Staff were incredibly nice and worked hard to make us happy, although it took some time to come up with solutions.
There were a few other missteps that same evening. The valet couldn’t find our car when it was time to leave and we waited for over 20 minutes for that to be sorted. Our windshield was cracked by an errant golf ball while driving up to the restaurant. One waiter accosted our waiter next to our table to tell him that we were supposed to be his table. It almost seemed a comedy of errors.
When we visit restaurants such as Yamashiro, which deal with immense crowds of people and cars, everything runs so smoothly from valet to seating to service to quality of food and drink. Staff are pleasant and have immediate solutions, even if there is a wait or a problem. I have faith Castaway can get to that level of well-oiled machine with a little time and practice.
Castaway earns an On The Marquee for a delicious menu of food and drinks, stylish decor, good service and those amazing views.
Tops In Town (Outstanding)
On The Marquee (Really Good)
Could Use A Rewrite (Average or Slightly Below)
Don’t Quit Your Day Job (Poor)