When I first heard that Richard Blais was opening up a restaurant in my humble little hometown of San Diego, I was fucking PSYCHED. I watched his season of Top Chef back in the day, and all I really remember was this general sense of “Uh oh, Richard’s getting the liquid nitrogen out again!” While this might have gotten boring to the sophisticated urbanites of the Top Chef judging panel, I would looooove to have a weird-for-weird’s-sake restaurant in town. San Diego does a few things really well (like Mexican food and burgers), but experimental food is not one of them. It’s something San Diego does not do AT ALL, in fact. Thus, psyched.
Jason and I went for a date night last Friday, wherein we partook of…
In The Ivy: Orange Blossom Vodka / Pressed Lemon/ Blueberry-Riesling Emulsion
This was an excellent cocktail, well blended and with obviously lovely presentation. Not too sweet or too sour.
From the Raw Menu
Lamb Tartare: Harissa Ketchup / other ingredients unremembered
The ingredient list is my first food-blogger blunder. I didn't take a picture of this portion of the menu and the restaurant doesn't put daily menus up online. Oops. Well, it had little potato chunks and all kinds of weird greenery and flowers on top.
It took some convincing to get Jason to try this. He always cooks his meat about 3 times over before eating it, so he’s not so into the raw thing. He was into it though (atoadaso)!
It came together tasting like a fancy deconstructed burger and fries combo. It was perfect when trying all the different tastes together, and for that reason I thought it could use just a few more potato chunks to form complete bites. The greenery on top was a little too perfumey-tasting for my liking. Overall it was my least favorite, but only when grading on a curve of how much I liked everything else.
Squash Blossom Relleno: White Cheddar / Poblano / Tomatillo
This was incredible. It smelled so good when the waiter put it down that I desecrated it with my fork before remembering to take a picture (second food blogger blunder!). The coating was light and crispy and the sauce was full of flavor. I was nice and cheesy without filling me up before the…
Wild Mushroom Pasta: Fusilli / Bloomsdale Spinach / Parsley Gremolata
Favorite thing. So many mushrooms. Perfect amounts of everything. Heaven on a plate. Just filling enough that we had no room for dessert.
- The man himself, Msr. Le Blais, helms the kitchen and mingles with guests. I would have asked for a picture if I wasn’t petrified of looking like I give any fucks.
- The valet is reasonably priced ($5), friendly, efficient, and super handy given the neighborhood (Little Italy).
-The staff is ON IT. Our waiter gave great recommendations, and had enough faith in his own knowledge to tell me he’d suggest a red wine over a white to go with my entrée. Sometimes you just want a culinary manhandling.
-They're reservable via Opentable.
- It’s loud in there. Like, straining to hear the waiter loud. Get off my lawn.
- The unisex bathroom situation is wack. Confusing. Ever since accidentally using a men’s bathroom with a bunch of Czech truckers on the autobahn, I’ve been very squeamish about bathroom gender displacement. Men and women share a sink in the middle and it’s ladies to the left, men to the right, but there are only abstract pictures to explain this. Too cool for school.
Juniper and Ivy
2228 Kettner Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92101