Located between picturesque rolling hills and the glittering Lake San Marcos is Decoy Dockside Dining, the Lakehouse Hotel and Resort’s new eatery from the well-respected Eat.Sleep.Drink. group (also Tower23 and JRDN). This expansive enclave of lakeside luxe is filled with thoughtful surprises, taking inspiration from the great outdoors in both menu and design.
Upon entry, a crackling fire fills the bar and lounge with aromas of sultry smoke and burning wood, conjuring a sense of warmth and coziness. Before dinner, pull a seat up to the illuminated onyx bar and order a Negroni adorned with a singed slice of orange donning a glistening carapace of torched sugar. Or try “Heid” The Sour, a balanced mix of whiskey, lemon and lime beneath a cap of frothy egg white.
The menu at Decoy features cold and hot starters, alongside larger, shareable plates, which all have touches of wilderness and game throughout. You’ll want to start your meal with something fresh and bright like the hamachi crudo, which is topped with Fresno chile, compressed seasonal fruit, ginger vinaigrette and a smoked aioli. The bison tartare, flecked with caper salsa verde and cornichon emulsion, is tender and sweet. Its accompaniments provide sharp contrast in flavor, while the housemade black pepper flatbread lends some satisfying crunch.
On the warm front, Decoy’s spiced pork belly is a pure triumph. Glazed in a sweet maple and mustard seed sauce, this sizable hunk of meat has layers of tender pork, melting fat and crunchy, golden crust. You will devour every bite of this dish. The bowl of steamed mussels is equally impressive with a combination of supple Carlsbad mussels, Baja clams and shrimp—all piled high in an aromatic corn chowder broth. Don’t neglect the grilled slices of garlic-rubbed bread provided on the side, as they’re perfect for sopping up all of the tasty morsels at the bottom of the bowl.