A Chef’s Dream Villa in Costa Rica
LOS PARGOS, Costa Rica — Impassable in spots throughout a lot of the wet season, the dust highway to this village on the northern Pacific Coast of Costa Rica is a rutted, dust-spewing monster in the course of the dry months. It is, as a buddy as soon as stated, a “bone-jarring skunk of a highway.”
Until not too long ago, guests prepared to make the journey have been principally surfers attracted by the world-class left-hand surf break on the close by Playa Negra seashore. These days, devoted diners swerve and bump their manner towards a discreet white signal for Villa Deevena.
Guests trek to the restaurant from San José, 5 hours away by automotive, in addition to from New York, Los Angeles and Paris.CreditSean Davis for The New York Times
Through a door in a featureless whitewashed wall is a special world: high quality china and crystal, a minimalist open-air eating room and an open kitchen. Cooks mince ginger and recent basil, sear recent fillets of snapper in aromatic olive oil and create little towers of goat cheese and roasted beet slices. Opposite the kitchen, a shaded courtyard with six svelte resort rooms surrounds an extended pool.
The setup is harking back to the traditional auberges of southern France, small inns deep within the countryside which are value visiting for an incredible dinner and an in a single day keep. Here in rural Costa Rica, there are howler monkeys within the bushes, and visitors can stroll down a dust path to the ocean and log on. It all seems like a sort of fever dream.
Tasia Jamon, with allure and puckish humor, makes visitors really feel like she’s welcoming them dwelling.CreditSean Davis for The New York Times
Villa Deevena opened in 2009, and it’s the very actual dream of the chef Patrick Jamon and his spouse, Tasia. The restaurant and grounds have been designed by Ms. Jamon, and constructed underneath her supervision.
Atypically for this space, the cooking — traditional French with flavors from throughout Asia — emphasizes native, tropical components grown, caught or gathered close to the restaurant. Sautéed grouper fillets are bathed in a coconut curry and served with a carrot-ginger mousseline; chanterelles are stuffed into ravioli with sage; lobster is served with ponzu sauce and a crown of avocado; orange duck is made with mandarins, from a tree exterior the restaurant, and a little bit of ginger.
The chef Patrick Jamon brings many years of expertise in French cooking to bear on native components.CreditSean Davis for The New York Times
Mr. Jamon, initially from town of Valence in southern France, began working at age 14 at Restaurant Pic, now renamed Anne-Sophie Pic, for its chef. He went on to culinary college in Paris, returned dwelling, married Ms. Jamon and began a household.
In 1981, with solely $500 and no data of English, he moved to Los Angeles to work at Les Anges. That started a profession of high-end chef positions, together with cooking for dignitaries and presidents on the Regency Club, in Westwood.
Mr. Jamon and his household began coming to Costa Rica within the ’90s to surf, and located Playa Negra. In 2008, Ms. Jamon instructed a sudden life change: “Are we going to get previous in L.A.,” she requested, “or are we going to go do what we take pleasure in doing essentially the most?”
Definitely not France: One of the Costa Rica’s premier surf breaks is only a quick stroll from Villa Deevena.CreditSean Davis for The New York Times
He was prepared. As occurs with many profitable cooks, Mr. Jamon was spending extra time managing than cooking, his chef’s whites virtually extra costume than uniform. “I used to be lacking my individuals, lacking the complications,” he stated. “So we moved right here, and I acquired loads of complications.”
Today the complications are just about over. Ms. Jamon, the couple’s son Dean and his spouse, Joya, all work on the restaurant and stay down the road. Guests routinely trek to the restaurant from San José, 5 hours away by automotive, in addition to from New York, Los Angeles and Paris.
Ms. Jamon, along with her allure and puckish humor, makes the restaurant really feel like a house. For Christmas in 2009, after their transfer from Los Angeles, there was a totally embellished tree hanging the other way up from the ceiling. “Everything on the earth appears the other way up,” she stated, “so I made a decision to match it.”
“I really feel like I’m residing 50 years in the past, the best way I used to stay in my village in southern France,” Mr. Jamon stated. He picks fruit from the bushes, gathers porcini and chanterelle mushrooms within the woods, grows root greens and raises goats to make his personal cheese on his farm up within the hills. A buddy grows natural microgreens for him in a plot behind the restaurant.
Dean Jamon goes out fishing each day; his catch will seem on the menu that evening.CreditSean Davis for The New York TimesNearly every little thing served within the restaurant is grown, raised or gathered inside a couple of miles.CreditSean Davis for The New York Times
“Fish, lobster, octopus, all of that’s proper down the highway to the seashore,” he stated. Most days, Dean goes out fishing and calls about his catch; it goes on that evening’s menu.
Mr. Jamon’s dedication to native meals seemingly by no means ends. He not too long ago purchased a small piece of land just because it consists of two mature mango bushes. “Growing a mango tree takes time,” he stated, “and I can’t wait 20 years to get my first one.” His latest thought? Persuading native fishermen to reap the plentiful sea urchins for him.
He has no regrets about his determination to relocate right here. “When I come out to the eating room,” Mr. Jamon stated, “and visitors take a look at me with large eyes and say, ‘The worst journey on the earth turned out to be value it.’ Nothing can beat that.”
Recipe: Grouper Fillets With Ginger and Coconut Curry
Villa Deevena, Los Pargos, Guancaste, Costa Rica; closed September and October; 506-2653-2328; villadeevena.com.
CookingGrouper Fillets With Ginger and Coconut CurryFeb. 19, 2019Tiny Costa Rica Has a Green New Deal, Too. It Matters for the Whole Planet.March 12, 2019
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