“Top Chef” contestant & James Beard-nominated Chef John Tesar plans West Coast spin on artful dishes at Outer Reef, opening in late April.

Chef John Tesar, a four-time, James Beard-nominated chef and two-time contestant on Bravo’s “Top Chef,” will open his new seafood restaurant, Outer Reef, April 29 in Dana Point.

Opening of the eatery, at Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa, was delayed since 2020 due to COVID fallout.

Known for his “Knife” steakhouse concept in Texas, Tesar now is focusing on Outer Reef’s sophisticated offerings that feature fresh California produce and West Coast seafood sourced from Baja to Alaska.

“I think our guests will be pleasantly surprised by the unique perspective we’ve put on classically prepared recipes,” Tesar said. “All of the fish is indigenous to this ocean, so in that sense it will be familiar, but we’ve done things differently with a scrupulous attention to detail.”

The Outer Reef menu pulls from the food-preparation philosophy of “mostly raw,” “barely touched” and “lightly cooked,” according to Tesar, who also operated the former Spoon Bar & Kitchen, a highly regarded seafood restaurant in Dallas.

Outer Reef also will serve caviar, shellfish, pastas, salads and select meat offerings from the 44 Farms dry-aged steak program, launched by Tesar, author of “Knife: Texas Steakhouse Meals At Home” cookbook.

A New York native, Tesar garnered a somewhat temperamental reputation in kitchens in his early years, but was dubbed “the single most talented cook I ever worked with” by celebrity chef and world traver, the late Anthony Bourdain. In Bourdain’s bestselling memoir “Kitchen Confidential” and in “Medium Raw,” Tesar is featured under the pseudonym “Jimmy Sears.”

Tesar’s newest venture, Outer Reef, will offer dinner to start, with breakfast and lunch coming later, and a separate menu available in the bar and lounge. With an “elegant but casual” dress code, the restaurant will be open Thursdays through Sundays 5 p.m. – 10 p.m. with reservations via OpenTable.

Outer Reef is located at the Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa, 25135 Park Lantern, Dana Point.