[Photos: Chris Rov Costa] Your first chance to taste what Executive Chef Camron Woods is bringing to La Jolla is tonight, when Amaya opens its doors on Prospect Street. Woods transferred to La Jolla from his exec chef residence at the existing Amaya in The Grand Del Mar, where he leaves his Chef de Cuisine, Matthew Sramek, in charge.
Woods told Eater that he's excited to be at the helm of this free-standing restaurant, where he has more license to infuse the food with his own culinary roots that extend from Charleston, South Carolina. Though the decor here, visioned by Warren Sheets Design (see the space, pre-transformation, in our Plywood Report), is similar to its Del Mar counterpart, the dishes are unique to this location, though some menu holdovers do remain, including an expertly prepared lightly-smoked King salmon with parsnip puree and apple chutney. New to La Jolla are nightly Southern specials, classics that include shrimp and grits and Carolina gumbo. In cooler months Woods will introduce his grandmother's chicken and dumpling recipe; the chef's current favorite starter is a buttermilk-fried quail with smoked mac and cheese.
In the rear of the building in a sound-proofed space is Club M, a 66-seat bar and lounge with live music and craft beer, wine and cocktails. The bar will be open until 11:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 12:30 p.m. on weekends and offer a short, basic menu (pizza, burger, fried calamari, hummus). Food service for both Amaya and Club M will end at 10 p.m.