A diverse menu with options for everyone, including vegetarian and gluten-free choices, is the credo of Alex Castillo, new executive chef of Twenty88, a modern martini lounge and contemporary bistro in Camarillo.
"It gives me the opportunity to express the creative side of me," he says.
Castillo, who grew up in Ventura County and has extensive restaurant experience, received a bachelor's degree in business from California State University, Northridge in 2012. Since he began helming the kitchen of Twenty88 in February, he's prioritized using locally grown fruits and vegetables for the restaurant's menu, along with organic produce and sustainable seafood whenever possible.
"I love to put together fresh and innovative dishes using the freshest ingredients available," says the chef.
Summer specialties include the 805 Berry Salad with Herb Champagne Vinaigrette – featuring Camarillo greens, farmers' market berries, candied walnuts and gorgonzola crumbles – along with a gluten-free Creole crispy calamari with sliced jalapeños and lemon garlic aioli, and prime filet mignon with goat cheese, raspberry demi-glace, leek au gratin potatoes and root vegetables with asparagus.
There's also a delectable entrée of Alaskan halibut, topped with blue crab and spinach and served with a whole-grain mustard sauce, jasmine rice and local summer vegetables.
For dessert, Castillo recommends the peach cobbler with sliced fresh peaches, a crisp crumb topping and French vanilla ice cream.