Treasure Island is going through a transitional phase so massive that its eponymous music festival had to take a hiatus. (It will emerge at a different location, while keeping its name.) Currently, developers are adding thousands of housing units to the human-made island in the middle of the Bay, which still lacks basic amenities like a full-service grocery store. But while the nuts and bolts of daily living get sorted out, Treasure Island has become home to a sizable food culture of its own, with Woods Island Club opening its “beer beach” in the summer of 2016. Flat and full of decommissioned military structures, Treasure Island not unlike nearby Alameda Point, the western tip of that island city that’s become home to breweries and vintners.
That military past is on display at Mersea, a bar-and-restaurant open on the Great Lawn as of Friday, Jan. 12. Constructed from recycling shipping containers and a “Field Food Service System (FFSS),” it sounds like it could feed a regiment hungry Marines at a forward-operating base in Kandahar. But instead of cranking out MREs, Mersea is all about coconut chia pudding and brioche french toast in the morning, and roasted black mussels, chicken & ricotta tortellini, and glazed lamb riblets by afternoon and evening. Check out the full menu here, which includes a full bar.
A project by Executive Chef Parke Ulrich (EPIC Steak, Waterbar) and MeeSun Boice, Mersea combines American comfort food with global influences, and partnerships the Treasure Island Homeless Development Initiative (TIHDI) and with job-training nonprofits Toolworks and Bakeworks mean it won’t turn its back on the island’s existing residents. In addition to the 13 shipping containers, there’s a private dining space called the “Board Room,” a bocce court and putting green, plus a nod to the long-gone Treasure Island Bowling Alley: communal tables built from former bowling lanes.
Mersea, 699 Avenue of the Palms, Treasure Island, 714-350-3889 or mersea.restaurant